Tag Archives: film review

Black Butler: Book of The Atlantic | Film Review [#OTAKU LIFE]

The latest animated rendition of the Black Butler [黒執事; Kuroshitsuji] manga by Yana Toboso grabs the story of the sixth arc, Luxury Liner, and gives us an action-packed film rendition of an already amazing manga series. ‘Kuroshitsuji: Book of the Atlantic’ is brought to us by A-1 Pictures, directed by Noriyuki Abe and written by Hiroyuki Yoshino. The film follows our ever-so-dark yet cute main boy Ciel Phantomhive and his butler Sebastian Michaelis as they embark on a luxury cruise full of nobles to hunt down the source of a rumour revolving around human experimentation.

If you’ve been following the manga, GREAT. If you’ve watched the anime versions (sans the latter part of the second season which is hypothetical) and managed to watch up to the ‘Book of Murder’ movie/2 long episode special, then some characters may seem familiar (one in particular who makes an appearance in the ‘Book of Circus’ series/arc). If not, THEN YOU MUST! I won’t spoil any of this film, apart from the plot which I’ve mentioned and I guess you don’t necessarily HAVE to watch the preceding seasons/films because, like most anime, when a character appears, the main character, usually in a shocked state, reveals their whole name. That being said, a lot of the story would make MORE sense if you watched the series or read the manga before this arc (The film covers volumes 12, 13 and 14 of the manga if that’s useful information) and characters you once knew from the stuff before this film might help to add shock value to some of the revelations in this film.

The film retains the Black Butler series’ dark and sombre aura, with that hint of comedy, flying cutlery ass-kickery and the characterization ranging from the composed cool main cast to the over-flamboyant and narcissistic characters that our main men Ciel and Sebastian seem to always ‘coincidentally’ run into. The art and character design is the same between the manga and seasons before this film, music is grand and dramatic and the story is plot-twist GALORE.

As a long-time fan of the series, I highly recommend the film – the reasons why though, I can’t give because spoilers level: MAX. SO WATCH IT PLEASE! If you’re looking for a ‘if the Titanic was the meeting ground for a secret society of nobles and the passengers included a revengeful earl and his demon butler’ kind of story (and it’s not even a joke at the fact that it’s a luxury liner, THE SHIP LITERALLY FACES (almost) THE SAME DEMISE)  then give the film a try. Like I said before, even if you’ve read the manga, seen the animations before this one or haven’t seen it at all, give it a try because “You see, its one hell of a movie.”

Take a look at screenings here in New Zealand for the film which premiered yesterday at EVENTS Cinema and goes on until next Wednesday (21st of June) and you can also catch it today at 4:30pm and at 12pm noon on Saturday and Sunday at Academy Cinemas.

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‘A Silent Voice’ Film Review | Bullying is NEVER OK!

Directed by Naoko Yamada, ‘A Silent Voice’ (Japanese: 聲の形 ‘Koe no Katachi’; lit. ‘The Shape of Voice’) is a coming-of-age story about second chances, social stigma and overall, a heart drenching tale of reconstruction and redemption.

A film adaption of Yoshitoki Oima’s manga series of the same name, the story’s protangonist is Shoya Ishida and follows his life as a high schooler on the brink of suicide. He becomes ostracized from his peers and everyone around him after he takes bullying Shoko Nishimiya, a deaf female student, too far in elementary school and rather than admit his mistakes, pushes blame amongst his friends. In doing so, he destroys his social connections and ends up with no friends.

From start to finish, the film provides a realistic view to the plot; no fantasy, no sugar-coating. Shoya’s struggles are all painted out and placed in plain sight. The film does rewind time to when Shoya was in Elementary school to provide context, and does it effectively without dragging on too long and away from the present-day of the film.

The art is colourful, beautiful and intricately detailed and this shows especially in the variety of locations and characters shown in the film. In terms of music, the film provides instrumental BGM to accompany appropriate scenes, but other than that, nothing really stood out in terms of music, which could be a good thing, as to not draw from the story and the focus wouldn’t drift away listening to the music. Although the theme song for the movie “Koi wo Shita no wa” by J-Pop artist aiko (which plays in the credits) is an acoustic song that really suits the mood of the film, sombre yet light and fleeting.

Anyone who is familiar with Japanese Anime or Manga will know the typical cliches; wide variety of eccentric characters, self-narrated inner thoughts, comedic flair and emotion you can’t seem to capture enough in real life. That being said, the plot, the characters and the aforementioned emotions are all put on display in a way that is realistic and engaging, making it easier for people to enjoy, relate to and overall, genuinely feel the emotions surrounding the characters.

For that very reason this film is defintely a must-see! I loved it, and there was points in the film where I wanted to scream, cry and at one point I held my breath and almost turned purple (but I ain’t spoiling that moment so you can all experience that suffering too😅)

Whether you’re accustomed to Japanese Anime, be it series or movie, or not, this film has a plethora of relativity for almost anyone, and with illustrious aesthetics and an even more beautiful story, it would be an absolute crime to pass off. (So says me, the Anime Police!😂)

AND WITH THAT BEING SAID, HERE IS THE TRAILER AND SOME HONOURABLE MENTIONS~ [and a well placed SPOILER ALERT right here]


Honourable Mentions

  • The film never properly shows her but Shoya has a sister who has a daughter with a man of African descent (I assume) who all live in a small flat above his mother’s hair salon. Which makes a total of 5 people living together in the small flat and adds to the diverse collection of characters in the film😄
  • One of Shoya’s friends after a significant event (that would be waaaaay too much of spoiler) says to Shoko “You have to love yourself, even the bad parts” – I thought that was nicely placed in the film.
  • This wouldn’t be obvious to western viewers, but the characters are often feeding Koi fish (Carps), a significant kind of fish in Japan. Koi fish in Japan are a symbollic icon of overcoming adversity, so the fact the characters are always seen jumping into the river and feeding Koi fish is a symbolism of the main characters overcoming their short-comings and working on reconstructing their lives. Koi fish also can signify love *wink wink* They’re also spiritually significant, think Pudge the fish in Lilo and Stich.
  • There is a scene where Shoya and his friend visit a place called “Meow Meow Club” and unfortunately for them it wasn’t the kind of “meWOW” they were hoping for – it was a literal Cat Cafe, which is common in Japan and self explainatory – a cafe where you sit and play with cats😅

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children | Film Review

Please note the following review does not contain spoilers. 

“It’s time for you to learn what you can do.”

Another exciting film to hit the screens this year by none other than director Tim Burton. A great mixture of boy meets girl, wry humour, spooky elements, and most importantly the theme of self discovery – because in today’s society, who are you and how do you fit in, if you don’t know yourself.

The clash of fantasy and reality makes the journey of this film mesh so well with the self discovery and hero element. It also has a good blend of dark and light elements, that won’t scare the kids too much. The film is 127 minutes long, but time flies as you are absorbed into the storyline.

The visuals and effects will amaze, however the only downside I felt the film had was the unexplored history of Abe. It’s something the adults will pick up on but kids will wash over. I feel like it would give more of an impact and make the film far more well rounded in its story telling. Also majority of the characters are touched upon, and it makes you question what really is the point of having all of them.

However… Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a great all rounder film, for all to see. Escape the ordinary and check out the trailer below. Oh and stay peculiar people, life is much more fun that way… you’ll see.

X-Men: Apocalypse | Film Review

Please note the following review does not contain spoilers. 

Forget everything you think you know.

X-Men: Apocalypse is the next film within the X-Men franchise. It delves deeper into the mutants histories, predominantly focusing on what is believed to be the first mutant – Apocalypse. The film also allows us to take a deeper look into Eric / Magneto’s past and start to, once again, see how his future self has been shaped.

It is filled with epic fight scenes, and some humorous moments – mainly from Quicksilver (Evan Peters). Sophie Turner as the new Jean Grey really is a remarkable individual and really makes the film, alongside Tye Sheridan as Cyclops. These two are the characters that make you connect most to the film.

A downside to the film is that a lot of the characters we are introduced to are skimmed over, just due to the shear number of how many come in. However, I must say that all the actors are incredible in this instalment. All in all, I would have to say that it is the actors more than the storyline that make the film. X-Men: Apocalypse definitely doesn’t feel like an end, as the closing scenes leaves it very open with the prospect of more to come.

Check out the trailer below, and see it in NZ theatres from Thursday 19th May to make up your own opinions.

Eddie the Eagle | Film Review

Please note the following review does not contain spoilers. 

It’s a world that doesn’t want to know you!” “So, what’s new?”

Eddie the Eagle is a feel good film, inspired from true events. It is brilliantly brought to life, firstly by director Dexter Fletcher, and by the exceptionally talented Taron Egerton, and Hugh Jackman. The film is based on the true story of Michael “Eddie” Edwards, England’s own ski jumper competing in the 1988 Winter Olympics.

The film centres around the ideology of never giving up and pushing yourself to believe, even when everyone else doesn’t think you stand a chance. From a young age Eddie dreamt of being an Olympian, he just had to find the right sport. That sport, Ski Jumping. Eddie fights against his fathers constant disapproval, “Eddie, you are not an athlete!” He strives forwards to find his glorious moment. We follow his journey of sheer determination and an unstoppable amount of will power, to see Eddie push past the British Olympic Association’s attempts at stopping him to make it to the Calgary Winter Olympics.

Taron Egerton does an amazing job of lighting up the screen as Eddie, his spirit and determination is heartwarming, even in the darkest of moments. Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of coach Bronson Peary, allows for a slight love / hate relationship. You just want him to help Eddie from the get go and have to persevere along with Eddie for it to come about. The characters journey together, allows for many laughter moments throughout the film. The throwback 80s music along with the amazing cinematography make this film an absolute must see in my opinion. Along with that, I love the little throwback to the Jamaican national bobsleigh team and Cool Runnings in the film, so keep an ear out for that.

Filled with humorous and inspirational moments, it is a absolute delight to watch and I would definitely recommend it as an all rounder, and family film. So have a look at the trailer below and preorder your tickets as it hits NZ cinemas on 28th April.

“Fly. You’re Eddie the Eagle.”

DEADPOOL | FILM REVIEW

Please note the following review does not contain spoilers. 

“WAIT! You may be wondering why the red suit. Well, that’s so bad guys don’t see me bleed.”

Deadpool is a hilariously great [violent] romantic comedy. Filled with one too many disturbing laugh out loud moments. The film centres around a quest for Wade Wilson a.k.a Deadpool to win back his love. The film is littered with many digs, and references of other films, actors, and characters that you will be familiar with which induces many laughs.

I thoroughly enjoyed the gore, one liners, soundtrack, and cinematography. It probably isn’t the best film to watch if you don’t appreciate crass language, or violence / gore. But if you aren’t shy of either of these, then step right up for some comic gold. It will give your abs a workout!

All I can say is Deadpool is definitely worth the two hours that it is, and without adding any spoilers please go see it yourself. You will understand and appreciate that I didn’t drop anything about it here. Check the NSFW* trailer now as it is disturbingly brilliant…

*Not Safe for Work for those not in the “know”.

The Revenant | Film Review

Please note the following review contains spoilers throughout. 

“As long as you can still grab a breath, you fight. You breathe. Keep breathing.”

The Revenant centres around the tale of Hugh Glass, a frontiersman exploring the uncharted wilderness of 1823. It is both, a film about survival, and endurance. A tale that truly begins with Glass’ hunting team leaving him for dead after sustaining horrific injuries from a bear attack. Glass must fight for not just his life, but also for the justice of his son. Utilising his survival skills, and being fueled by vengeance, Glass sets out on a mission to track down his former hunting pal, John Fitzgerald, the individual responsible for leaving him for dead and the murder of his son.

The Revenant is quiet a gritty film. If you can look past the storyline of the film, the scenery is mesmerising in all its rugged glory. Leonardo DiCaprio is absolutely fantastic in his portrayal of Glass. After watching this, if you hadn’t realised what an amazing actor Leonardo is, then you will now. The character is completely believable in all his anguish, making this film a rather powerful survival story.

The film is quite long, and rather intense. At times it has you captivated and others wondering what time it is. All in all the actors and scenery make this movie remarkable. The Revenant is playing in theatres now. Have a look at the trailer below and keep your fingers crossed for that Oscar / Academy Award for Leo! Let it be “God giveth. God [not] taketh away [Leo’s Oscar]”.