Many of us have grown up watching the Samurai X/Kenshin cartoons (anime) on TV. Or read the classic manga. Kenshin is without doubt one of the best known Japanese fictional characters in the Western world, so it was a bit of a surprise that it took until 2012 for there to finally be a movie adaptation. A live-action movie that, when announced, both rejoiced fans and left them skeptical of the venture.
That skepticism turned out to be entirely unnecessary, as Rurouni Kenshin has become, without a doubt, one of the best anime/manga adaptations into a live-action movie ever made.
Continue reading “Rurouni Kenshin”
Airlords of Airia is a crowdfunded short film coming out of Germany, just over twelve minutes long. The little gem is meant to be a teaser to an upcoming feature-length movie, set in the same universe. How far the plans and planning concerning the feature film are, I cannot say, but I certainly hope the plans will eventually bear fruit.
The story of Airlords of Airia is rather simple: A transformed version of Earth, some 3,000 years after an apocalyptic event brought about by technology. Mankind has recovered and taken to the sky once more, in massive airships this time.
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If you expect a high explosives, action-packed, gunfire and combat scenes everywhere kind of movie — the likes of which Hollywood puts out every week — then you’ll be sorely disappointed with this. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is as far from the bog-standard, no-thoughts action film as it can be.
It’s a movie that takes its time for things to evolve, the plot to unfold and characters to develop. For the best, because this is one of the strongest espionage movies, possibly the strongest, I have seen in years.
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The year is 689 of the Tang Dynasty and Wu Zetian is, despite of a good amount of opposition, about to be crowned China’s first empress. When an official bursts into flames on the construction site of her celebratory giant Buddha statue, the conspiracy theories start flying about and the need for a very special detective to not only solve this case but also prevent the untimely demise of the endangered royal arise.
Enter Di Renjie (Detective Dee), a man imprisoned after leading a failed rebellion some years ago, who must now solve this case with the aid of the empress’ right-hand woman, Shangguan Jing’er, and penal system officer, Pei Donglai.
Facing a sorcerer, assassins left and right and a plot to bring down the empress to boot, they must try to solve this particular enigma.
Continue reading “Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame”
The first steampunk-themed web series I came across, and I guess the first one in general, was Riese. Since then, a fair number of such productions have been attempted, with varying budgets and even more varying rates of success. The strangest one I came across was a story completely told through the medium of dance. I cannot remember the name and I found it extremely odd. It was on YouTube, should somebody desire to go looking for it.
Really good productions are comparatively rare, but there are some jewels and about one such jewel I want to talk today.
Continue reading “Dirigible Days: Steampunk and Cthulhu in One Web Series”
On the planet Aradius, the human interlopers have suppressed the indigenous Arid for years because of their link to the planet itself, called the Wei, and their fear thereof. This resulted in a near genocide of the Arid race and all kinds of unpleasant side-effects that both remaining Arid people and humans alike suffer from.
Centuries later, the planet is a wasteland and humanity is led by the tyrant Griffin, who uses his deacons to hunt down the Arid and their rebel leader, Moss.
Enter our reluctant hero, Hirokin, who crosses paths with the despot and ends up with the choice between standing up for the Arid and leading their rebellion so they can once again be free — or avenging his family.
Continue reading “Hirokin: The Last Samurai”
It was a long time in the making, but now it is finally out: Iron Sky. It was released in Germany on April 5 and this was the day I went to see it.
The whole movie is just as absurd as the story promises: Space Nazis who escaped to the Moon in 1945 now want to come back to conquer the Earth.
The scouting mission of the Fourth Reich gets an unexpected ally who leads them to an even more unexpected ally. Both allies are rather temporary, obviously, but what they achieve and who picks up on and uses their slogans…
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First of all, allow me to admit I have not yet read the original book A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs on which this movie is based. What I do know from reading on the subject and talking to people who read it is that Disney has — as is to be expected with these things — taken some liberties with the story.
Visually, this movie is fantastic. The costumes, effects and characters are beautifully done. The airships, well, I could rave on for quite a while on how fabulous these Davincian flyers look. This entire movie is aesthetically pleasing and has quite a few steampunk elements to it.
Continue reading “John Carter”
My Week with Marilyn was released a while ago, but we didn’t have a chance to see it here in the Low Countries until a couple of weeks ago.
The film is a wonderful and nostalgic adventure for the likes of us who would rather the Golden Age of Hollywood never ended.
Michelle Williams is spectacular in the role of Monroe. The looks, costumes and makeup are fabulous. The entire “feel” of Marilyn is that of an escape from the visual effects extravaganzas of modern-day film making in favor of character and drama.
In this sense, it’s almost on par with The King’s Speech, although the plot is secondary here to experience. Story-wise, My Week With Marilyn is pretty predictable, but it’s touching all the same.
Continue reading “Two Hours With Marilyn”
J. Edgar, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, was released in the United States late last year, but we didn’t have a chance to see it here in Europe until last week.
The biopic about the former FBI director, directed by Clint Eastwood, is a great history piece but ultimately disappoints because there isn’t much of a storyline.
DiCaprio absolute submerges himself in the role and excels as “the most powerful man in America.” The costumes, the décor, the lighting all enforce a sense of nostalgia that should appeal to dieselpunk enthusiasts. The movie shows a lot of history, from the anarchist hysteria of the early twentieth century to the 1930s war on Crime to fears of communist subversion in the 1950s and 60s.
Continue reading “J. Edgar Falls Short”