Parasyte (Kiseijuu Seu No Kakuritsu) (2014): Someone’s Head Got Eaten In the First Episode and I Thought It Was Awesome

Note: Parasyte has some pretty intense scenes, so if you’re not comfortable seeing gruesome images, then you probably shouldn’t read on.)

Not gonna lie, I wasn’t all that keen on watching it, but my brother finally convinced me to watch the first episode.

I was so excited. I thought this was going to be so cool.My mouth literally dropped open.

In Parasyte (directed by Kenichi Shimizu), Shinichi Izumi (voiced by Nobunaga Shimazaki) is a quiet high-schooler that seems pretty normal. He has parents, he goes to school, life is normal.

It looks cool, doesn’t it?

One night, Shinichi sees this worm-like creature crawl into his hand, and up his arm. Obviously the right thing to do was to stop the flow of blood in his arm with a pair of headphones, so that is exactly what our quiet protagonist did.

As it turns out, the thing that crawled into Shinichi’s arm was a new type of “parasite” that takes over a human’s brain, then goes around eating people. The one in Shinichi’s body failed to take over the brain, only controlling his right hand, earning the name “Migi” (voiced by Aya Hirano), which I believe is the Japanese for “right.” (I have basically zero knowledge of Japanese, so correct me if I am wrong).

Look at how weird and cool this is.

The premise of Parasyte is extremely interesting–parasites that take over humans and then eat humans. I was highly intrigued by the plot in the first twelve episodes, however, after that, it stopped being so amazingly cool. I’m not even sure exactly what happened, but it just lost the original charm it had.

Not that it wasn’t good. It just wasn’t as good.

The characters themselves were also not as interesting. Yes, there was development, but it didn’t feel very deep. It was hard to get attached to them. It almost felt like the characters weren’t really important. For many of them, if I switched them around, it would’ve have made much of a difference. They just felt kind of…bland.

What I enjoyed the most however was the motif of humanity. Because Shinichi has been “infected” or “possessed” or however you want to phrase it by this other, inhuman creature, he is no longer one hundred percent human. Shinichi often deals with morality issues, while Migi makes decisions based on the likelihood of survival.

What makes humans human? This is one of the important questions that Parasyte tackles. While it doesn’t really give a definitive answer to the audience, the theme of it that lies in almost every episode is what interested me.

Obviously, this is not human.

What really pulled me in was the animation. This is obviously very uncensored, with episodes and episodes of bloody, gory images of people getting eaten and ripped apart and and their faces splitting open to unsheathe knives attached to limbs. All in high quality.

The first episode where someone’s head got eaten really did catch my attention. Other than the interesting, original way of killing someone, it even involved an uncomfortable topic like cannibalism (kind of). I was curious to see where it would lead.

I have not read the manga, but you get my point about the gruesome images.

But towards the end, it backfired. The last few episodes were really just a bloodbath, and the plot just felt slow and sluggish; honestly, it was like the animators just wanted an excuse to draw lots of decapitated and otherwise dead people.

Conclusion: Thoroughly enjoyable with interesting plot, animation, and even a hint of deep, meaningful life philosophies, Parasyte is an anime worth watching, even though there are some lacking aspects and the conclusion felt a little weak. Bonus points for cool and gruesome parts. And for the first episode where someone’s head got eaten. 7/10.


Jurassic World (2015): My Inner Eight-Year-Old Almost Died of Excitement

I went through a dinosaur phase when I was in elementary school and Jurassic Park (directed by Steven Spielberg) is one of my favorite childhood movies. Needless to say, I was thoroughly excited when the trailer was released.

And this time, it’s not just dinosaurs eating people.

As opposed to the preview-tour-gone-awry in Jurassic ParkJurassic World (directed by Colin Trevorrow) takes it up a notch. The amusement park has been open for several years and it is one of the hottest attractions in the world. And, like many amusement parks, Jurassic World is preparing a new exhibit, the Indominus Rex, which leads to the inevitable: it escapes.

It was awesome.

Awesome, as in tons of dinosaur action, a dramatic soundtrack (composed by Michael Giacchino), and things getting destroyed. Jurassic World is the perfect movie for a fun, exciting two hours. I watched it in IMAX 3D, which was an excellent idea, because what beats high-definition dinosaurs on a giant screen?

If there was a real Jurassic World, I would 100% go. I would probably die, but I would go.

There’s not much to say about this movie. It’s not thoughtful, or deep. It’s simply fun and exciting, especially for Jurassic Park fans. Yes, I can give my normal schpiel on how great the effects were, how the soundtrack fits into the movie with the haunting theme of the original Jurassic Park. I could go on, but it would amount to almost every other movie review I’ve written on an action or superhero movie.

But there was just something else about it. I would watch Jurassic World again with a second’s hesitation. Give me a little more time and I would probably watch it a third time. And I hardly rewatch movies.

I suppose it’s the lack of concentration required for the plot. It’s obviously not a carbon copy of its prequel, but the plot is so similar that I was surprised I still really liked this movie. I mean, dinosaur gets out, chaos, people get eaten, giant dinosaur fight, ending. (I am so sorry if you felt like I spoiled this movie, but trust me, if you like dinosaurs, you’ll probably still enjoy the movie.)

Look at how unbelievably AWESOME this is. I want to go.

The thing with Jurassic World is that the plot really isn’t the focus. I mean, yeah, it plays a major role, but no one is going to go see Jurassic World for a deep, meaningful, and complex plot.

But who cares about plot when there’s awesome dinosaur action? I certainly didn’t.

And now with a new movie out, maybe next time I visit Universal Studios there’ll be a new Jurassic World ride that I can ride on three times in a row. Or wait in a line for two hours just to go on once.

Conclusion: Jurassic World was absolutely fantastic and I don’t really care what anyone else says, I thought it was amazing. But for real now: Jurassic World impresses the audience with high-end computer technology that brings many dinosaurs to life on the screen, and while the plot is somewhat lacking in ingenuity, Jurassic World ends up being a fun, exciting movie that is able to fully entertain the audience for its whole two hours. 9.5/10.

Mr. Lee vs Mr. Lee (2007): Wow, This Is Kind of Boring and…Oh

My mom recommended this 2007 Korean movie (directed by Kwang-jin Shim) to me.

And by “recommended,” I mean that she made me watch it.

You may think this is a heartwarming comedy, but it’s not. In fact, it’s the opposite.

Mr. Lee (Lee Dae-Geun) is an old, old man who is trying to reunite his family to hold a memorial service for his wife, who had passed away three or four years earlier. However, it seems that he had had a falling out with his two sons and daughter, but he seemed to be trying to make amends by bring them all together for the first time in seemingly several years. However, his third son is missing and there seemed to be no way to get in contact with him.

So at the memorial service, his daughter and older son show up with their spouses and they wait for the third son; a man called Agent Koo is currently searching around in an attempt to find him.

I’m not gonna lie. I thought it was really, really boring for the first hour or so. I almost gave up about forty minutes in, but I told my mom I would watch it, so I kept going.

Basically, the first hour consists of the family talking to each other, with the occasional angry outburst, some of which involve conflicts with Mr. Lee’s daughter, who is a devout Christian and refuses to bow in the traditional manner for her mother’s memorial service. Later, it gravitates towards the missing third son’s apparent failure in his business that his siblings and his father had given him lots of money for, which ultimately led to not enough money for the treatment of the mother.

This is Mr. Lee and his family. In order from left to right: Mr. Lee, his Christian daughter, his daughter-in-law, the husband of the Christian daughter and the attempt (and failure) at comic relief, and Mr. Lee’s oldest son.

I may have had a different take on this first half of the movie because I was under the impression that this was supposed to be a comedy, and this wasn’t funny at all, despite a few attempts at comic relief by the daughter’s husband, who often says the wrong things at the wrong time.

I was bored.

And then they had That Scene.

I want people to watch this, so I will not tell you what That Scene is. Besides, you’ll know when it comes up if you watch the movie.

That Scene completely changed the mood of the movie. And the plot too. I was really bored and then after That Scene, I was just really, really sad.

With just this scene that lasted less than a minute, I was suddenly struck by a wave of sadness. The movie just all of a sudden became really sad. Not the tear-jerker sad, but a pitiful, sympathetic, helpless sadness that slowly got worse and worse as more is revealed.

Not many movies have such strong turning points like That Scene. While watching it, while you are staring at the screen for those few minutes, it doesn’t seem like much. In fact, it was just a couple of very simple phrases, some bows, and that was it.

But then, it hits you, and suddenly, the entire movie just became the saddest thing ever.

Conclusion: Mr. Lee vs. Mr. Lee starts out almost unbearably boring, especially if it is mistaken for a happy comedy about a family as the cover suggests, but That Scene will make the entire movie worth it. 6.5/10

Laputa, Castle in the Sky (1986): Where It Makes You Go “Awwww”

Considering I watched this right after Grave of the Fireflies, this was a nice change and made me smile in its cuteness. From the characters, to the slightly cliche plot, and of course, the floating city in the sky, it was a very adorable movie.

You know, the cliched “she literally fell into his life” thing. But it’s cute.

Laputa, Castle in the Sky (directed by Hayao Miyazaki) tells the story of Sheeta and Pazu and their journey to find Laputa, the city in the sky. Sheeta is on the run from Muska while trying to hide her special amulet from all the villains.

Very cartoon-like, almost naive, in a way, Castle in the Sky needs just that to be the adorable and fun movie that it is. Although there are some surprisingly morbid moments, they are dismissed as they always are in cartoons.

The relationship between Pazu and Sheeta is almost borderline romantic, but most of all, they are friends. The romance part is a little bit awkward, depending on their ages, which is very debatable. They look like they could be eleven or sixteen. And then the part where all the flying pirates try to impress Sheeta when she works not their ship is also a little bit weird, depending on the age you see her as.

Like many Studio Ghibli characters, their age is completely open to debate.

The music was also fantastic, like all Miyazaki movie scores. It was actually one that I had already heard, but never figured out which movie it was from, so I jumped up with excitement when it played for the first time.

The overall plot was a little bit cliche, the motivations, even the characters, but somehow, none of it felt cliche. It felt almost natural. It’s only thinking back and phrasing it with my own words that make it sound cliche, but Miyazaki manages to convey this story without sort of awkward lumbering as thoughts of “Oh, this is so predictable” crosses, even if it was a little predictable.

Castle in the Sky is a fun, easy movie to watch. It’s not particularly meaningful, it’s not particularly philosophical. It’s just one of those movies where you watch it for the fun and the happy ending and the cliche moments where everything ends out perfect.

Here’s Laputa.

The scenery in Castle int he Sky was just breathtaking. I mean, just look at Laputa. And really everything else. There’s just that sense of Miyazaki magic in each scene. The colors, the clouds, the everything is just wonderfully beautiful.

The art and cinematography just adds to the fun sense of Castle in the Sky. Paired with the fantastic music, a simple, fun story about a lost princess and her friend and the pirates they meet and befriend along the way is turned from simply a story, to something that actually moved me.

One of the best parts about Castle in the Sky is its simplicity. There’s the good guys, there’s the bad guys. There’s what the right thing to do is, there’s what the wrong thing to do is. This movie doesn’t tackle the grey areas of life; it is a break from all of that, immersing the audience in a simple, black and white story about how good triumphs over evil, as it should.

Conclusion: Happy, cute, fun, and simple, Castle in the Sky makes for a wonderful movie to spend a happy weekend night and hopefully many more weekend nights as the story of Sheeta and Pazu takes the audience for a breathtaking ride along the skies of Miyazaki, adventuring alongside all of the fun characters, cheering as they win and as justice defeats the bad guys. 8/10.

Grave of the Fireflies (1988): Even the Title Makes Me Really Sad

I knew it was about war orphans, and I knew it was going to be sad, but that didn’t stop me from tearing up at the end. And being sad the whole way through.

Even this movie poster makes me sad. Everything about this is so sad.

Grave of the Fireflies (directed by Isao Takahata) without any doubt is a beautiful movie. The animation, the scenery, the music, the everything–it was all amazingly, hauntingly beautiful.

The movie begins with the ending, a dirty and malnourished boy lying in the subway station, weak and helpless. He dies, among the many others in that station alone, and his spirit, surrounded by a red hue, begins to narrate a flashback to when he was alive. Grave of the Fireflies takes place during the air raids in Japan during World War II, revealing the tragic story of Seita (voiced by Tsutomu Tatsumi) and his younger sister, Setsuko (voiced by Ayano Shiraishi), and their struggle for survival after they lose their mother in an air raid.

The story is tragic and moving. One of the most important aspects of the movie I think may be how sad the happy scenes were. We are shown many shots of Seita and Setsuko being happy as they play with fireflies and eat fruit candy drops.

The animation is stunningly beautiful. Everything is stunningly beautiful. Everything about this is stunning.

These scenes are supposed to show happiness, but I only felt sadness. I felt sad that this happiness was only temporary. I felt sad that their lives would never work out the way it should for children. I was sad that they had to go through the horrors of war. I was sad for them.

This is one of the few movies where I really, really felt for the characters. When Seita had to steal from others for his sick sister, when Setsuko made “rice balls” out of mud to give to Seita, I almost felt the sadness physically.

And one of the most powerful motifs was the fruit candy drops. This candy was what gave Setsuko temporary happiness. To me, it symbolized hope. As long as there was a sweetness in life, things could get better. When they had fruit drops, things got a little better already. And if that can get better, then the bigger things can get better. But we all know that it doesn’t happen.

One of my favorite aspects was Seita and Setsuko’s spirits watching the flashback. They are shown as illuminated in a red light.

Throughout the movie, they watch the flashback silently. The animation is just so amazing and I’m already getting sad again.

The spirits simply watch. Seita gives very brief narrations, but most of the time, he watches, holding Setsuko’s hand. To be honest, I’m not sure what exactly about this was so moving to me, but it quickly became my favorite part. It just added so much more to the movie.

I was glad that it was animation. It was realistic, but at the same time, if it were too realistic, say, as a live-action film, I think the impact wouldn’t have been as huge. Watching it animation, you didn’t need to focus on special effects, make-up, facial acting. With animation, you only needed to focus on the plot, the characters, the story of these characters and their lives.

Conclusion: A powerful, moving movie about two World War II orphans struggling to survive on their own, Takahata tugs at the audience with beautiful animation detailing the tragic story of Seita and Setsuko, leaving a powerful impression. Bonus points because it made me so much more sad than almost anything else I’ve watched. And more bonus points for becoming my favorite Studio Ghibli film. 9.8/10.

Avengers, Age of Ultron (2015): Kinda Cliche Plot and Some Corny Scenes But Also an Insanely Cool Movie

Not gonna lie, I am a pretty big Marvel movie fan. No, I’m not a comic book person, but hopefully I’ll read some this summer.

It’s a busy poster, but after all, it’s a busy movie. I have to admit, it’s a bit hard on the eyes though.

I watched this in IMAX, which was one of the best ideas ever (also, I found out when Jurassic World was coming out, so that was pretty exciting).

Avengers: Age of Ultron (directed by Joss Whedon) continues the adventures of the beloved Avengers. The movie starts out with impressive fighting and explosions and the Avengers completely overwhelming dozens after dozens of nameless and faceless soldiers. Later, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) somehow manages to integrate and wake this artificial intelligence into a robot called Ultron (James Spader), that is supposed to help defend the planet.

Naturally, defending the planet is not exactly on Ultron’s agenda. And so, the impressive and very expensive special effects ensue.

Plus the introduction of two new characters, the Maximoff twins, Pietro (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen).

Hard to believe Pietro was once that guy from “Kick-Ass.”

I know nothing about them, except for what was revealed in the movie, since I am very not familiar with the Marvel universe of the comic books. As characters, I have to admit, I wasn’t all that…captured by them. Sure, I liked them, but that was more because they had cool powers and they did something other than punching people in the face, which was basically 80% of the Avengers.

But I didn’t see much character. The only defining thing about them was their superpower abilities, but that’s hardly a character trait. And there really wasn’t much to their relationship, other than close siblings.

In all, there was hardly anything special about them. Other than the superhuman speed and telekinesis and mind-manipulating. But those don’t count.

And I liked Quicksilver from Days of Future Past more. But that’s more of a personal preference thing.

However, this did not take much from the movie overall. Because, overall, Age of Ultron was still fun, exciting, and likable.

Huge explosions in IMAX are always fun.

I really liked Age of Ultron. Sure, the overall plot was a bit cliche, some of the Natasha-Bruce (played by Scarlet Johansson and Mark Ruffalo respectively) scenes were a bit on the corny side, but it never took much from the movie. From snarky remarks from the Avengers to impressive action scenes and explosions, Age of Ultron managed to impress and leave me with things to talk about, even if it isn’t the most impressive movie Marvel came out with.

The thing was, Age of Ultron just felt like it was trying too hard. Most of what happened felt shallow, very surface-level stuff. Like, sure, there were amazing and expensive explosions and action scenes, and a plot existed, but other than that, almost nothing. I just wasn’t that captivated by the characters.

And I know that Marvel can have good characters. I mean, Captain America: The Winter Soldier was pretty fantastic, with much more character development than Age of Ultron.

Conclusion: Although not Marvel’s greatest masterpiece, Age of Ultron is fun, interesting, and worth watching as the Avengers return with more villains and action, paving the way for another Avengers movie that is sure to come out and hopefully be just as impressive. 7/10.

The Hobbit, The Battle of the Five Armies (2014): The Amount of Dragon Action Was Disappointing But You Know

I’ve watched the other two Hobbit movies. I just don’t remember them at all.

So when I started watching this one, I was just slightly confused as to the context. Meaning I had no clue what was going on.

See? The poster tricks you into thinking there’s intense dragon action when THERE’S NOT.

It starts out with this huge dragon attacking what looks like the MiddleEarth version of Venice and the Bard guy being all fatherly and trying to get his kids to safety, but of course, the oldest doesn’t listen and wants to help his dad, that whole trope business.

But I caught on pretty quick, so that wasn’t a big issue.

The issue was the lack of dragon action.

I haven’t read the book, so maybe I’ve just been overestimating the amount of dragon that was supposed to be in it, but it doesn’t change the fact that the dragon was killed off in the first fifteen minutes. It’s so early that I don’t even count it as a spoiler. (That being said, I’m sorry if I actually ruined anything for you if you were planning to watch this.)

I was expecting, like, a whole half of the movie to be like this and I was disappointed.

Now that I’m past the lack of dragon, I’ll get to the actual movie.

Thinking back, I’m not even entirely sure of the plot, just that Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and his dwarf friends and Gandalf (Ian McKellen) are still on this big adventure and these mean and arrogant elves come in at some point and Orlando Bloom shows up. And then they all get attacked by Orcs.

While this movie is not very strong plot-wise, it was still relatively enjoyable. What’s not enjoyable about pretty Middle Earth scenery and really intense fight scenes?

I have to admit though, the fights took so long. I appreciate the choreography, the stunts, the everything, but after an hour of it, I was starting to get a little bored.

Sure, Legolas did have his cool moments, but still.

What I’m trying to get at that I was unimpressed.

Appreciative, but unimpressed. Like Martin Freeman was fantastic as usual, as well as Ian McKellen and Lee Pace, but there really wasn’t much for them to express. Lee Pace is angry, but too cool to show it and Gandalf is just worried or defensive about Bilbo. Bilbo did have a great performance though, courtesy of the very talented Martin Freeman.

And the scenery was very pretty, the make-up, the computer animation, the everything was totally top-notch.

But it just didn’t ring with me. There was just nothing…particularly special about it. Obviously a lot of hard work and money was put into it, but it just wasn’t impressive on a personal level.

It was just a movie.

Enjoyable, but after two weeks, I will have forgotten most of it. Except for maybe the dragon–oh wait, IT WAS NEVER THERE.

Conclusion: Although a well-made and fun movie (lacking in plot somewhat and very lacking in dragon scenes), it failed to impress its audience members who are not Lord of the Rings buffs, and the pretty scenery and cinematography just wasn’t enough to make up for its too-lengthy fight scenes and very slow plot. 6/10.

Gone Girl (2014): Amy Dunne Is My New Favorite Character To Hate

I heard about the book first. I had planned on reading it before watching the movie, but things didn’t turn out that way.

Intriguing poster. It almost looks like a book cover.

I usually try to read the book first just because of personal preference and I feel like that my perception of the book would be skewed if I watched the movie. And also because the book came out first.

Either way, I don’t regret watching the movie because I really liked it.

Of course I had heard good things about it, but all I got out of it was that this guy was looking for his wife, thrilling mystery, etc., etc.

I mean, they weren’t wrong.

He was looking for his wife, and it is a thrilling mystery.

But it was also so much more.

In Gone Girl (directed by David Fincher), Nick Dunne is struggling with his marriage, but everything takes a turn for the worse when he comes home and finds his wife, Amy, missing. And so the tale of this twisted couple begins and I don’t want to say too much because not knowing about anything made the movie really interesting.

Most intriguing was its development. Twist-endings are a favorite among audiences, right? The twist in Gone Girl was revealed in the middle. It starts out all normal, your typical “thrilling mystery.” But then, about an hour into the movie, it completely changes directions.

Now, I’ll have to admit, it didn’t shock me, but it was a nice twist and definitely caught my interest even more than it already did.

Second most intriguing: Amy Dunne.

Look at her. I hate her. She’s such an amazing character.

Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike) is basically a coldhearted bitch, so put it lightly and simply.

But an extremely well-developed and fascinating coldhearted bitch. Amy Dunne is a character that I can’t exactly wrap my mind around because what kind of person does this kind of stuff?

But I get it. I understand her motives, I understand her reasoning, I even understand why she had those motives. Therein lies the beauty of her character (and of the screenplay and acting, of course).

Amy Dunne is not a good person, no doubt about that. But I don’t care.

Morally, I disagree with her. But as a character, I felt like I understood her completely. With spectacular acting on Pike’s part and the well-done voiceover narration (unlike Horns), I knew what Amy Dunne was thinking when she did those morally wrong acts.

Although I was blown away by Pike, Ben Affleck had his share of contribution too.

There he is. Although not quite as fascinating, still an interesting character.

Nick Dunne didn’t quite hit me as much as Amy did, but I still appreciate his developed and three-dimensional character. He didn’t quite have that same spark, but Ben Affleck still convinced me that Nick Dunne was a real character, a real person.

Because the plot and characters were so intriguing, I really didn’t focus much on anything else. Normally I try to pay attention to the music, cinematography, or whatever else that movies usually have.

When watching Gone Girl, I simply forgot.

I was so busy thinking about Amy Dunne that I completely forgot to pay attention to anything else. I also forgot that I was supposed to be thinking what I needed to write for this review. It is one of the few movies that have dragged me in so deep that I didn’t pay attention to anything else.

That being said, I’m sure that everything else was great, although maybe not spectacular or unique enough to catch my attention.

Conclusion: Powered by a gripping plot and fascinating characters, Gone Girl captivates the audience as Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck reveal the story of a twisted couple. I am going to read the book at the next chance I get. 8.5/10.

Initial D (2005): Jay Chou Pulls Off Looking Cool All The Time and Looking a Lot Older Than 18

I read the a little bit of the manga when I was in seventh grade and that was about the extent of my exposure to Initial D, other than the fact that I knew that my dad liked it.

I was a little more familiar with Jay Chou. I’ve seen a couple of his movies and I’m pretty sure we have the majority of his discography somewhere around the house.

Although he manages to portray youth through mostly overlarge T-shirts and sweatpants, he still looks a lot older than 18, the age he was supposed to be.

Initial D (directed by Andrew Lau and Alan Mak) tells the beginning of the story of Takumi Fajiwara, a tofu delivery boy who drives up Mt. Akina every morning, resulting in amazing racing skills, as he has to drive fast and not destroy any of the tofu he has in his trunk. Although relatively unnoticed, Takumi begins to catch the attention of others as he beats a GTR (I guess that’s a really good car–I don’t know anything about cars) with his AE86 (which I guess is a not-so-good car), which was shocking to the racing community.

Netflix only had the dubbed version, which kind of got on my nerves, but other than that, I was surprised that I wasn’t absolutely repelled by it.

I mean, I kind of, almost, liked it.

I just didn’t think I would.

Okay, I did like what I read of the manga when I read it, but most Taiwanese movies don’t make really impress me and I was definitely less than impressed when I watched many of Jay Chou’s movies (although he does write good songs–I’ll have to give him that).

However, the plot, as intriguing as it is, was just too caught up in the corny acting and very anime-ish flair that just didn’t fit a live-action movie.

It looks like a comic book literally came to life. And look at how old Jay Chou is.

There was just nothing remarkable about this movie.

Other than Jay Chou looking old, there wasn’t much to stand out. Honestly, I can hardly remember any specifics of this movie other than the basic plot line. It was just…flat.

Honestly, it wasn’t a bad movie, not really. It just wasn’t very good.

Although the there was diversity in characters and they were all different to a certain extent, many of it felt based off of common stereotypes. The cool, supposedly-awesome main character, his annoying best friend, and the love interest is this angelic girl who’s at the mercy of life. And also the mean rival gang member with a weird fashion taste.

They just weren’t interesting.

Nothing stood out as particularly bad, but nothing caught my attention either (other than Jay Chou being old, but that was forgivable–many movies cast much older actors for roles).

Maybe I’ll read this next.

This review is also only at 500 words right now, which almost never happens. I’ve always had to go back and cut some parts because it got too long. Not ramble to make it my usual length.

I think this says something about the movie as well.

Conclusion: Although not a bad movie overall, Initial D still was unimpressive as its characters seem to only embody tropes with the anime flair that seemed awkward and misplaced, especially with the not-so-spectacular acting, but its downfall was ultimately the fact that it fails to interest the audience. 4.5/10.

Horns (2013): At Least It Started Out Promising

I was looking forward to watching this movie (directed by Alexandre Aja). I mean, it had an intriguing trailer and Daniel Radcliffe. Of course I wanted to watch it.

I know this isn’t the most popular poster, but I don’t like snakes and the popular poster has a snake around his neck.

Ig Perish has been accused of murdering his beloved girlfriend and one morning, he grows horns. After that, people begin to confess their deepest thoughts to him, which are usually a little disturbing. Although at first highly disturbed by this new ability, he soon begins to take advantage of this power to find out who really killed his girlfriend.

Promising, right?

The first two-thirds still seemed promising. Although Daniel Radcliffe’s American accent took me a couple of minutes to get over, Horns was showing potential. The voiceover narration was a bit corny and slightly over-the-top, but it was bearable and it was only a couple of lines.

Don’t get me wrong. Other than the corny voiceover narration, Daniel Radcliffe really impressed me. Having watched the Harry Potter movies growing up, I fully expected to only be able to see him as Harry Potter, because that’s what happened with The Woman in Black (directed by James Watkins).

I really felt like I was just watching Harry Potter being scared by flimsy jump scares.

And everyone else was good too, like Juno Temple as the girlfriend, even if she did seem a little too angelic and fictional to be real. Maybe that was just the filtered lens they used for filming with that pretty halo-ish hue around her all the time.

But towards the end of the movie, everything just kind of went downhill, plot-wise at least.

Because it’s the end and this is a spoiler-free review, I’ll have to be somewhat vague about all of this, but I’m sure you’ll get the gist of it anyways.

The thing was, the ending just wasn’t very good.

Actually, the kind-of ending was okay–not phenomenal, not even good, but bearable. It was really okay.

Then they got to the more “fantasy” part. (This is where I have to be vague because despite this slightly negative review, maybe some of you will still want to watch it).

It just didn’t resonate with me. There was this whole Lucifer-and-Hell business that I didn’t really see the point of, and I also hold Iggy’s relationship with some contempt, because I don’t really find this super-happy-and-in-love-since-childhood relationship that realistic and also I’m a little contemptuous of love anyways (being an adolescent who reads lots of books and watches a lot of movies and has never been on a date, I feel like a slightly cynical attitude towards love isn’t that weird).

Point was, I wasn’t impressed.

And they brought back even more of the corny voiceover narration thing that just really didn’t sit well with me. Especially since that voiceover narration tried to be really philosophical and all talking about heaven without actually saying it out loud.

Come on. Who really lies down like this? It just looks like it’s a pain in the neck. Literally.

Also, this movie is really long. I don’t remember how long it is, but I remember the feeling of wanting it to end already because I was tired. And also because the plot was really just kind of slow.

At least the very end gave me some closure. It was definitely a resolved ending, but the resolution just wasn’t…impressive.

Conclusion; Horns began with a promising cast and plot, and although the cast did not disappoint, the plot definitely did as it relied on too much corny voiceover narration (not that much, but it bothered me anyways) and an ending that failed to impress the audience as it began to drag on towards the end of the movie. 3.5/10.

Note to anyone who might want to watch it: I don’t know if you’re aware, but towards the end (I’m not sure exactly about the time), there is a pretty graphic rape scene, so if you’re sensitive to that kind of content, I would steer clear.