Zatoichi Season 1

Think of this series as very much like the movies. Though they are condensed into about 50 minutes running time they are just as entertaining and have the same production quality feel of the movies.

Equally powerful and at times devastating are the stories they tell. (major spoilers follow)

In episode 3 for example. At the start of the episode Zatoichi is giving a shoulder massage to an old woman and telling her about his mother whom he never knew when he was younger. We see the face of the old woman who’s eyes open wide as if in recognition that Zatoichi is her son. Seconds later though her home is attacked by gangsters and she is killed with Zatoichi never knowing who she might have been. In the same episode Zatoichi also befriends a gangster (one of the same gangsters that attacked the old lady’s home at the start of the episode) whose life Zatoichi spares as he wants no more bloodshed. At the end of the episode he plans to meet his new friend at a bridge but along the way his friend decides to try fight him once more, unknown to Zatoichi, since he is blind, he reluctantly kills the man and then goes to the bridge to wait for the man he just killed. After a while when his friend doesn’t arrive he slowly realizes what has happened and moves on. This is all just in one episode!

While not all episodes are as jam packed as the one above there are some cracking ones. By the end of the first season Zatoichi returns to his hometown and there is a chance it seems that Zatoichi will be able to live life free from violence, but between his reputation and his own sense of justice and revenge things go back to how they’ve always been for him.I wouldn’t have expected anything less for the character.

The series is episodic so don’t expect any arcs or reoccurring villains. After 26 episodes you might feel a bit tired of each episode having similar scenes, themes and action but if you’ve watched the Zatoichi movies and enjoyed them then you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t watch this series.

Favorite Quote: “When i’m sleeping, if the wind blows hard against the door and makes a noise i’m already holding my sword in my hands.” – Zatoichi

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Last Jedi outrage

After the massively popular reviews following the premiere of the Last Jedi the film was released in most countries on the 15th of December and since then the fan furor has started to increase. Fortunately I had been oblivious to it until after I had seen the film. As I walked out of the cinema silently with my friend

“what did you think?”

“not bad, and you?”

“Not bad. Do you want to see it again?”

“No, you?”


It took about 20 minutes to get home by which time I was ready to let loose my thoughts which can be seen in my review. I hadn’t imagined that the fan reaction would be the same until I went online and saw the fan reaction. I checked the reviews on Monday on IMDB and saw this…..

The online reviews are very very negative

At the time the film was standing at 7.9 which I and others found rather hard to believe but it fell to 7.8 the next day and stands at 7.7 now.

The number of one stars for the film is extremely high. Compare that to justice league which stands at 7.1 with far fewer 1 star votes.
Granted people feel more passionately about Star Wars which is partly why they are voting so low. It’s not just a vote against the quality of the film but on the direction the franchise has taken with the latest movie.,c_limit/Screen%20Shot%202017-12-17%20at%204.25.52%20PM.png

Against this backlash there are fans (and media outlets) who are fighting back saying the negative fan reviews are just people making more accounts and it’s an conspiracy by people who hate the film. Lots of people were latching on to the news that some guy, yes, some guy! on facebook had manipulated the Rotten Tomatoes audience score to which Rotten Tomatoes released a statement to say that the score is authentic.

With a worldwide gross of $573,710,009 1 week later it seems unlikely that the film is going to suffer too badly but the momentum does seem to be slowing down. In America on Monday it earned $21,556,373. This puts it into the top 10 of the highest earning Mondays of all time. Great but that’s 20 million off ‘The Force Awakens’. It’s even behind Jurassic World. It’s likely the movie is going to lose quiet a penny on those repeat viewings. I’m sure Disney will be taking note of this.

So why the furor? There are quite a few things. There were a large amount of plot points that were discarded by Rian Johnson which have annoyed fans.
The main point that people are angry about is the handling of Luke Skywalker himself. Something Mark Hamill has been vocal about and clearly seems a bit hurt by when you listen to his interviews. so it’s not just a few fans making multiple accounts to down vote things.

At this stage it wouldn’t surprise me if there is some bad blood there between himself and disney and I’m curious if he’ll come back at all with the next movie.

Why did critics rate this so highly then? Because they are reviewing a movie not as fans but as critics. They reviewed the movie on it’s own merits while a lot of fans rated it on how a character like Luke was portrayed and how they have seemed to betray the nature of who he is.
As a movie I enjoyed Star Wars the Last Jedi. It is a tad too long though with some unnecessary scenes. As a Star Wars movie I enjoyed it too but there are quite a few things I dislike about the movie and the biggest thing is how they handled Luke.

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Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

Or, throwing the lightsaber out with the bathwater. In short, I’m really glad JJ Abrams will be back for the episode 9 after my initial reservation.

This Review will contain massive spoilers and rants.


Spoiler Rant list:

I remember walking out of ‘The Force Awakens’ with a ton of questions. The point that the film had ended on was such a cock tease of a moment but it set up an epic journey of heroes and villains.

So instead of giving us what the last film set us up for, the themes and plots are thrown away, literally! Luke takes his Father’s lightsaber, the one passed down to him by Obi Wan Kenobi and throws it over his shoulder. This is basically the symbolic moment of what this film does.

Rey’s parents: Nobodies. So much for making such a big deal about it in the last movie.

Snoke: Who is he? What happened to his face? What does he represent? What’s his deal? He’s killed without a single hint as to who, why or where he came from.

The Knights of Ren: As above.

Luke’s light saber gets snapped in half. – The lightsaber that was given the mythical quality of excalibur in ‘The Force Awakens’ is broken here. The destruction of legends or as Kevin Smith put it in his review of ‘The Last Jedi’ a “Fuck you JJ” moment. (at least Rey has the two parts at the end)

Fin: His first question is “where’s Rey?”. The girl he cared so much about in the previous movie. He doesn’t even speak to her in this film.

Fin: The movie actually doesn’t seem to know what to do with his character. After such a strong arc his story is overshadowed by developing a new and frankly unneeded character, Rose.

Kylo Ren’s Mask: Smash it, that stuff is for kids. You don’t want someone intimidating like Vader do you?

Luke: The frickin hero of the original Trilogy actually ignited his light saber over the head of his Nephew, the son of one of his closest friends and his sister. After facing down his father and taking the higher road he would actually have a moment where he would do that? The man who wouldn’t give up on Anakin Skywalker after all the shit he did?

Luke & Yoda: Yoda actually has to tell Luke that the jedi books aren’t important, that after 40 years the last jedi master who defeated Vader and the Emperor has to be told what is really important and what really matters?

I mean, take a look at Season 3 of ‘Star Wars Rebels’ where we actually get to meet Obi Wan in the desert between episodes 3 & 4. A man who taught Vader everything he knows. But when we see him in Rebels he is the wise, calm, Jedi from years of meditation and thinking time in the desert. Luke was the son of Vader, a potential adept of the Dark side, a bomb waiting to go off. Obi Wan didn’t ignite a lightsaber over Luke’s head. He never gave up believing in the one to really bring balance to the force. I don’t believe Luke would have done the same thing either, I don’t believe Luke would have closed himself to the force, not after everything.

Lightsabers battles: The first movie without a lightsaber battle.

Captain Phasma: So much for seeing more of your character developed…

Benicio Del Toro: Why were you in this movie?

No final shot of the main characters in the movie. This is a bit of a no no. Breaks tradition and again, this isn’t just any movie.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I liked the movie. I enjoyed it. There were emotional parts, beautiful scenes and it’s still interesting enough to make me write about it. But it has it’s problems. As real people, like us I can certainly accept these flaws but….

This is Star Wars. These are the archetypal heroes of a generation and more. They are elevated above us as heroes, they aren’t the kind of characters we see on Star Trek, or other SF movies. They are larger and greater in life. That is what JJ Abrams got, that is where he lead us to by the end of ‘The Force Awakens’. Here is Luke, the hero we need. Not the person that we meet in a bar on a sunny afternoon. We need someone above that, he won’t do that. Our childhood hero, who makes the right choice that people can’t always do. Clearly this is where JJ Abrams and Rian Johnson differ. JJ Abrams dresses Luke in white. Johnson has him change out of white robes and into dark ones.

What I liked, the open battle with the bombers. The ship going to light speed and crashing into other ships looked beautiful. Leia was just perfect in all the scenes she was in. A wonderful and sadly final performance by the wonderful Carrie Fisher. I loved R2 showing Leia’s video again. Luke and Leia’s moment together.

So Rey isn’t a Skywalker, nor was she the daughter of Han and Leia who had their minds force wiped by Luke to protect their daughter. I feel in a way that many people might. That a lot of time was spent thinking over nothing.

Favorite Quote:No one’s ever really gone.” – Leia

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Justice League and another one of those how to fix it pieces

So I went to see Justice League and it’s not so bad actually. I enjoyed it quite a bit. I was not annoyed with the final product, I didn’t leave shaking my head at how many people Batman had killed or what an asshole Superman was. It’s not Avengers but considering this was supposed to be a two part story I imagine what was to come would have been what people wanted with this movie.
Loved the scenes with Flash and Superman, Superman smiles and laughs now. Batman isn’t as arrogant. The film needed more character work, more Flash, more Aquaman (two of it’s stronger points)
But the film seems to be unsuccessful with an opening of 93 million…

So who is to blame? Everyone is pointing fingers, some blaming Joss Whedon, some Zack Synder’s vision, Ben Affleck is blaming himself etc.
The real fault in all this lies squarely with Warner Brothers. You dislike Zack Synder but who hired him? Even after Watchmen and Sucker Punch and the neck breaking in Man of Steel it was Warner Brothers who gave him the keys to the car with a bottle of root beer. You blame Joss Whedon? Warner hired him to re-shoot scenes. You dislike the running time? Warner Brothers. Everything lies at how they handled this.

So where to go now? everyone and your neighbor has an opinion as to where to go next. Here’s mine!

The Batman Universe.

Yes, I have had this mind for years now. Batman is and has always been the money maker Warner’s wanted.
So where can you go with one character? Everywhere!

Batman Beyond

For the Spider-man crowd and tech noir loving crowd, high school kid Terry Mcginnis stumbles into the Batcave and takes the futuristic Batman suit of the 21st century out for a ride and gets to keep it when he and Bruce discover they have more in common than they know.
Bruce is the man in Terry’s ear, the teacher and the father figure (much like Iron Man was in Spider-man Homecoming). Heck, get Michael Keaton to come back as the retired Bruce Wayne. Apparently Paul Dini wrote a treatment for this.


Ok, so they are actually making a Nightwing movie but i’m talking about the one we saw at the end of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. Joseph Gordon-Levitt. A parting gift left by Christopher Nolan.

Multi Verse Batman Justice League

Bring back all the actors who played Batman to take on a threat that will destroy all realities. You know you want this.

Batman Green Lantern

Instead of a Bat flying through a window giving Bruce Wayne the inspiration to dress up as a Bat a lantern ring flies through it instead. Batman with Lantern powers.

Batman Year One – Script by Frank Miller

This is quite different to the comic version, here is a very different origin to Batman. It was going to be Directed by Darren Aronofsky. Bruce Wayne is homeless, Alfred is a black car mechanic. Interesting, new take.

The Batman – Script by Tom Mankiewicz

The man who wrote Superman 1978 also wrote a script for Batman before Tim Burton came along. Burton’s movie would later have the dark tone that this script has. What interests me most about it is that it came from the same writer as the first Superman movie which still sets the gold standard.

There are a ton of great Batman characters and stories that have yet to be explored (in the movies). There is a goldmine of stuff in the comics to plunder. People love Batman, give em more Batman.

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Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049 is a very good movie. But it is a very long one. I can understand why it’s not popular with audiences but for me at least, and other people who love Cinema, this is a film I could just sit back and watch all day. The fact that we actually got a sequel to the original is a dream come true for a lot of fans. I won’t argue the necessity of such a sequel but I will say it’s a sequel that entirely respects the original while not trying to redo it like so many “soft reboot” films have done in the past few years. ‘Blade Runner 2049’ is it’s own thing but it is also showing us a continuation of a story that started over 30 years ago.

Visually stunning, it does not feel the need to pander to the audience, it doesn’t spoon feed us but allows us to think and digest for ourselves what we are seeing on screen. Thankfully it wasn’t turned into an action heavy movie. It’s doesn’t screw or distort the original story in the way a film like ‘Alien Covenant’ has done with that franchise and I think those were my biggest fears. ‘Blade Runner 2049’ has been on my list of most anticipated movies of the past few years, along with Star Wars Episode IIV. The night before I went to see ‘Blade Runner 2049’ I watched the original again and started to feel worried that nothing could possibly come close to capturing the feel of that movie, nothing since really has… I think I let out a sigh of relief about 10 minutes in when I realized that it actually was the delicately crafted piece of art I had hoped it would be.

I am also delighted that I remained completely spoiler free before seeing it. That’s a big thanks to the promotion of the film which doesn’t give away that K is a replicant, that his girlfriend is a hologram and that the plot of the film revolved around a child between a replicant and a human/replicant. The plot to me has shades of the new ‘Battlestar Galactica’, that might be just the natural evolution of such stories where Machines become more human than human.

So yeah, count me as one who really likes the movie but at the same time knows it’s not for everyone, much like the original wasn’t for everyone. In today’s world of fast and furious films, transformers and endless marvel movies it is difficult to even see a “normal” movie like this being made.

Is it better than the original? I still love the original most but what is important is that it is it’s own thing. I love it for what it is.

Favorite Quote: ” Her eyes were green.” – Rick Deckard

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Blade Runner 2049 run up

So Blade Runner 2049 is finally hitting cinemas next month. It seemed like a far off dream that was never going to happen but we’re finally here. Over the years I’ve practically ate anything that was Blade Runner related and in preparation for next month maybe you might want to do the same also.

Blade Runner

The movie is probably the best place to start since it’s what we are actually getting a sequel to. There are a few different cuts out there, two in particular that have radically different endings. The best thing to do is watch all cuts of the film.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

It’s really a fantastic novel and well worth reading whether you are a fan or the film or Philip K Dick. Obviously it’s very different to the movie with a different spin on the characters but there are similarities and if you’ve seen the film first this will have an effect how you view the characters. While watching the trailers for Blade Runner 2049 it seemed to me that some of the landscapes describe in the novel will be brought to life in the next film.

We Can Build You

This book is something of a prequel to ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’ Some characters in this seem to be related to his later novel.

Total Recall 2070

A prequel TV series to the 1990 movie ‘Total Recall’ this series is far closer to the paranoid world of ‘Blade Runner’ than it is ‘Total Recall’. Visually the city of ‘Total Recall 2070’ has all the aspects of the city of ‘Blade Runner’, the dark film noirish streets to the futuristic japanese advertisements.
Lasting only 1 season the series starts off well, hits of string of generic detective episodes and then hits back with an unfolding drama involving the main character David (who has got a look of Ryan Gosling about him). Well worth watching but be selective with the episodes. The episodes in the series arc involving the corporate espionage of Rekall are quite good. Self aware androids and people with Chips in their brain not knowing who they really are. How Philip K Dick can ya get?

Battlestar Galactica (2003)
Have to give this a mention. The series producers were also inspired by ‘Blade Runner’. Human Cylons are the replicants of the series. The weapons in the show were based on the design of the gun that Deckard uses and the Cylons are given the nickname ‘Skin jobs’ just as Replicants were.
You have to watch this show.

Soldier (1998)
An American sci-fi film with Kurt Russel that seems like a rip off of ‘Universal Solider’. It was written by David Peoples, who co-wrote ‘Blade Runner’s script. Peoples considered ‘Soldier’ to be a spin-off/side sequel to ‘Blade Runner’. You don’t need to watch this. It’s not good and you will find nothing thematically similar to ‘Blade Runner’.

You can’t actually watch this since it was never made. It was a proposed prequel web series to Blade Runner by Ridley Scott.

Natural City (2003)

Remake, yes, this is a South Korean remake of ‘Blade Runner’ set in the year 2080. The story is heavily changed to turn it into an action flick with hero and damsel in distress. Watch if you are curious but you won’t be satisfied.

Dead or Alive: Final

Set in the future of 2346 with androids but without a ‘Blade Runner’ budget. There are some very direct homages and inspirations taken from ‘Blade Runner’ in this crazy Japanese film by Takeshi Miike but it is not as good as his first two ‘Dead or Alive’ films. Only watch if you are really curious.

You do not need to watch this. Basically it’s a japanese pornographic film of ‘Blade Runner’.

Others: There are the sequel novels to ‘Blade Runner’ which I have not read. There is also the comic adaptation of the novel and a prequel comic called ‘Dust to Dust’. Recently some short films which serve as prequels to ‘Blade Runner 2049’ have been released. They are…

  • 2036: Nexus Dawn
  • 2048: Nowhere to Run
  • Blade Runner Black Out 2022
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Star Trek Discovery

I have to say I felt quite let down with the Pilot/first two episodes of the series. That’s not to say it’s bad and I do have hope that the rest of the series will be more promising. It seems the producers themselves might even have the same opinion and have mentioned in interviews that the third episode of the series will be like a “second pilot”. Here’s hoping they are talking about not only about the introduction of new characters and ships but the actual direction of the show too.

The problems I have with the first two episodes range from picky things to more problematic things.
The first thing I noticed is that it’s tech/star trek Jargon heavy. It’s check the sensors thingy and the thingy will go on fire in .32 seconds blah blah. It seems that the writers noticed how much this was missing in the recent movies and decided to throw a bunch of Trek Jargon in our faces with Discovery to remind us that this is fan’s Trek?
It doesn’t help that the actors who have to remember all this stuff are quite stiff in their delivery. There is a clear feeling that this is very, very new for them and they aren’t at all settled in their roles except for perhaps Doug Jones as Saru. Maybe the filming was rushed a little because of the series been delayed.

My other problem is with the talky talky Klingons who go on and on about uniting houses and Kahless religion stuff. I dislike the changes to them. They seem to be a bit too much ‘nail on head’ in regards to what they represent in today’s world. The music, design and religious war themes are unsettling as the scenes are like something out of a Hollywood movie featuring terrorists. Even the Klingon language spoken in this series has more of an Arabic sound to it which I felt really uncomfortable with.

The action here is not all too impressive. We get tons of new Starfleet and Klingon ships but the battle between both is very generic and rushed. There’s not much in regards to battle tactics with this pilot. It’s just things shooting at each other and what the hell is the point of a Cloak ship (may canon forgive us) ramming another ship when it could just as easily fire on it.

What I did like about this series is that there is a lot of potential there. I think they have a great cast and a good creative team. I’m really hopefully that much good will come from a series that has Nicholas Meyer involved in it. I like the design and the higher production values of the series and I am curious to see the USS Discovery.

How this episode stands against other Star Trek Pilots, i’d rank it about mid range. ‘Broken Bow’ is still the best in my opinion. Compared to the recent movies we have gotten I dare say I am leaning more towards the movies in preference to this and that’s mostly because I felt acting and action here wasn’t all that captivating.

Favorite Quote: My people were biologically determined for one purpose alone: to sense the coming of death. I sense it coming now.” – Saru

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