Posted in review

Murder On The Orient Express Review

__596e9005f13c1.jpgOne victim, ten suspects and one train.

Based on the novel of the same name by the one and only Agatha Christie, while on route to solve a case, another one unfolds on the very train Hercule Poirot is travelling on.

One of his fellow travellers is brutally murdered, and as luck would have it the train has been derailed by an avalanche. While waiting to be rescued, Hercule must find the killer before another passenger is killed.

Before I continue this review, I must admit that I am a bit bias towards Murder On The Orient Express. I love true crime and crime fiction.

On top of that, I am a fan of Agatha Christie’s work. Needless to say, if you are looking for an objective review of this film, you are on the wrong blog.

Now that I have cleared the air, on with the review.

Hercule is one hell of a main character, and while rather faithful to the source material there is a subtle difference. In the movie, Hercule seems to be autistic.

9780007527502_1.jpgNow, this might just be me reading too much into it, but he does have several autistic traits, such as bluntness, a keen eye for detail and obsession with symmetry. In one scene in the film, he says “I can only see the world as it should be, when it is not, the imperfection stands out.”

I have read several of the Poirot novels and I never got the impression before. Admittedly I haven’t read Murder On The Orient Express so I couldn’t say if the line quoted above is in the book or not.

I’m autistic myself, so I hope he is autistic in this adaptation, but again it could just be me seeing what I want to see.

With this being a murder mystery I can’t talk about the supporting cast without running the risk of spoiling the film. All I will say is they all did an amazing job and gave their all.

The pacing of this film is great. They give you just enough time to come up with your opinion of whodunnit only to throw more clues at you. It keeps you guessing until the reveal, and even then what happens after keeps you on your toes. As much as I love fast-paced action films, I thought the slow pace worked to the benefit of the film.

9780062073501_p0_v2_s550x406.jpgI have heard that some people don’t like the use of CGI in Murder On The Orient Express and I can see why, but I liked it. The way it was used made the shots of the train and the snowy landscape look like a painting, which added to the classic feel of the movie.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that this is one of the most stylish movies I have seen in a while. From the costume design to the music, it all screamed elegance.

I loved this film, It was tense, heartbreaking and had a few laughs. I’m glad I haven’t read the book yet, as the reveal of the killer was a surprise to me. That being said, while it is a must-see for fellow Christie fans, newcomers don’t need to worry about getting lost on this journey.

With a timeless feel and an all-star cast, Murder On The Orient Express is one hell of a ride. I highly recommend this film if like me you adore murder mysteries, if not then this isn’t the film for you.

Have a safe journey!

Posted in review

Dad Of Light Review

img_0687 (1)I had high expectations for Dad Of Light. As a fan of Final Fantasy XIV, non-fiction and stories about family connections, I thought this Jdrama would be right up my alley.

Even with those lofty expectations, Dad Of Light was even better than I hoped it would be!

The story of is simple. Aiko Inaba and his workaholic father Hirotaro have not seen eye to eye in years. Aiko can’t even remember the last time they had a real conversation.

One day Hirotaro quits his job out of the blue. In an attempt to find out why and to try to rebuild their relationship Aiko buys his father a PS4 and a copy of Final Fantasy XIV.

“Dad of Light Project! This is my project to invite my father into the Final Fantasy XIV world, a place I adore, and go one spectacular adventures with him while concealing my true identity. It’s my way of showing my father that I care for him!”

Aiko Inaba, Dad Of Light

Aiko has to be my favourite character. He is well meaning, hard working and patient. But he is insecure and doesn’t like to draw attention to himself. Hirotaro is very traditional and keeps himself to himself but he does have a sense of humour we see through his avatar.

The more we watch, the more we learn about the father and son duo.

Akio.pngThere is a subplot revolving around the office Aiko works at. However, if I go into more detail about this element of the show I will give away some spoilers.

I have to say, the animation, while really cute, is a bit odd. The timing in some of these scenes is off, also there is something about the facial expressions that are a little weird.

I understand that they were trying to keep the feel of the game in these scenes, but a bit more polish would have been nice.

I knew going into this from the trailers that there was going to be some comedic moments, but again this show surpassed my expectations. While not a laugh riot, there are a lot of funny antics in Dad Of Light which left me giggling like a loon.

Dad Of Light is a rather short series. There are only eight episodes and each episode is around 25 minutes long. However, since this is only season one chances are we will get more episodes soon…ish…. I hope.

I love Dad Of Light to pieces. It has a lot of heart and quite a few laughs. It is a very sincere story that leaves you feeling good after watching it. I highly recommend you check it out!

Dad Of Light is available on Netflix

Posted in review

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice Review

SenHeads up, this might be the harshest review I have ever written. Please keep in mind that all of this is just my humble opinion.

Also, don’t worry if you haven’t played Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, this is a spoiler free review.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is the latest action adventure game from Ninja Theory. We follow the Celtic warrior Senua as she journeys through Hel to save her fallen lover.

There was a lot of hype surrounding this game for a bit, which has seemed to die down but I got caught up in the excitement and grabbed a copy.

Did Hellblade meet my high expectations? Short answer, no. Long answer, well keep reading.

Senua herself is a good protagonist and was, for me at least, the best element of the game. During the game, we see visions of her past and see the world through her eyes. The player also learns about her condition and how it affected her life and loved ones.

sourceOn that note, I have to give credit where credit is due, I did enjoy how they approached the topic of psychosis. Ninja Theory did a lot of research on the issue and worked with experts on the condition.

Here is where Hellblade lost me, the gameplay. You see, there is no tutorial and you don’t get told how things work in this world very often. Most of the time you learn through trial and error.

Normally, that would be fine but in Hellblade every time you die this infection called rot grows. It starts in Senua’s hand and continues to climb up if you continue to die. Not so bad right? Wrong. If the rot reaches her head, not only is it game over, but your save is deleted.

It wasn’t an issue during the first half of the game, which I did love. However, around the half way mark, my deaths were stacking up. From this moment forward, for me at least, the thrill of combat was replaced with irritation.

SenuaThe more enemies I faced, the more my blood boiled. By the time I reached the second to last boss, the rot was on her chest, mere inches away from her chin. This made the experience almost too stressful for me to handle.

I understand that some people enjoy this kind of experience when it comes to games, but it is not for me.

Speaking of combat, it wasn’t until I faced the first boss I learned that the focus ability helps in fights. Would have been nice to have known that!

When I finally finished the game, I was glad it was finally over. So much so I burst into tears of joy.

While I can’t say in all honesty that I regret playing Hellblade as it does have spectacular voice acting, innovative storytelling and a truly unique atmosphere, I can’t say I recommend it. At least, if you are anything like me.

If you are looking for an intense game with a fair amount of challenging puzzles and unnerving atmosphere, then chances are you will have a better experience with Hellblade that I did.

You are in for a Hel of a ride.

Posted in review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Review

GotG_Vol2_poster.jpgWith the success of its 2014 predecessor, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 had a tough act to follow. Did they do enough to reach the stars, or did it get swallowed up in a black hole?

In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 tensions are high as the Guardians begin to unravel the mystery of Peter’s parental past with friends and foes both old and new.

While they do somewhat recap the last film in bits here and there, to get the best experience you need to have seen the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie.  The only reason I’m mentioning this is because I went with my family and my dad kept asking me to explain stuff during the film.

While there is a lot of fast-paced action scenes, the focus of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is on the characters. In particular, Yondu and Nebula who are second tier characters in the first film get their time to shine here. We learn more about the Guardians and their backgrounds and see a more vulnerable side to Rocket and Gamora.

3o7budMRwZvNGJ3pyEWe are also introduced to Mantis, a character that I hope sticks around. I could rant about how much I adore her but that would give away major spoilers, so I will, regrettably, move on with the review instead.

There are a lot of emotional moments and I am not going to lie, I cried. I cried more times than I care to admit. That being said, I cry easily so that might just be me being a softie.

For a Disney film, there is a surprising about of sex jokes in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. I’m not complaining, as most of them got a laugh out of me, I just didn’t expect it. On that note, while comedy is subjective I found this film when it wasn’t making me cry, side-splittingly funny.

Personally, I loved this film and I can’t wait to see it again. If you liked the first film, you are going to love Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. As always stick around for the after credits clip, because there isn’t just one extra scene this time.


Posted in review

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return Review


Before we start, I think I should admit something. I never really watched Mystery Science Theater 3000.

In fact, before this reboot of the series, I had only seen one episode called Devil Fish on YouTube a few years back. That was it. I liked it but it didn’t make any real impact on me so I forgot about it.

When I heard about Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return I remembered the Devil Fish episode and thought to myself “Oh yeah, that was funny. I’ll check out the new one when it comes out”.

So while a collection of the original series is available on Netflix, at the time of writing I have only seen this version, but I might watch it later on.

For that reason, I’m going to judge Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return solely on its own merits and not compare it to its predecessor. On top of that, as someone who had only seen one of the old episodes, consider this an outsiders opinion and review.

mst3k-netflix-e1-openingOk, now that’s out of the way, why the hell did I not watch this series sooner?

Pop culture references? Check. Meta humour? Check. Likeable if not lovable robots and human host? Check.

If I had to sum this show up in one word, it would be charming. Everyone in this show, even the so-called villains are oddly charming in their own way, which makes the show a joy to watch.

While comedy is subjective, I personally enjoy Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return‘s sense of humour. If you enjoy sarcasm and fourth wall jokes, then you are going do have a good time with this show.

I thought that the show was simply going to be Johan and the bots mocking cheesy films, but there is something of a running plot line near the end of the season. I won’t spoil it for you, but I didn’t see it coming.

tumblr_ona5naR1PL1v1zngbo1_540To be honest, there is one thing about this show that I dislike, the ad breaks. This season was made for Netflix, so I don’t understand why there are so many ad breaks. It ruins the flow of the show for me. The only reason I can see for this is that it is a reference to the original. However, this is a personal issue, don’t hold it against Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return.

In conclusion, if you are looking for a silly but fun show to binge then might I suggest Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return. Oozing with charm and wit, it’s 90 minutes of good old fashioned laughs. I highly recommend it.


Posted in review

Oxenfree Review (PS4)

Oxenfree-posterYes, I know that I am late to the party (AGAIN) but hush!

Until the 22nd of this month, the Playstation Store is having a sale called ‘totally digital’ with several games being reduced in price up to 60%. Oxenfree is one of the games included in the sale. I had been interested in this title for a while, but, as I have stated before, my laptop can barely run any game that isn’t 8-bit. So I was chuffed when I saw this game going for £5.79.

Oxenfree is a supernatural thriller about a group of teens who’s island party takes a disturbing turn. You play as Alex as she tries to navigate through this nightmare. Your only tool is a radio, and time is running out.

Maybe I’m just a cynic, but with most thriller games I often see the twists and turns coming a mile away. That is not the case with Oxenfree, though. The game keeps most of the details vague until late in the game, you get hints here and there Oxenfree doesn’t show its full hand imminently.

oxenfreeposter3In terms of gameplay, Oxenfree is a very linear game with a lot of dialogue options, watch what you say, as your way with words will decide which ending you will get. This gives the game a decent replayability factor.

Without giving anything away, I was pleasantly surprised by Oxenfree. The tricky thing about thrillers is that you need to give the audience, or in this case the player, enough information to know what is going on but not enough to spoil any upcoming twists. Oxenfree pulls off this balancing act perfectly.

I don’t normally talk about music when I review games, but I’ll make an exception for Oxenfree. The music is haunting with its use of synths and melodies. It sounds like it doesn’t come from this world, which ties in expertly with the story of the game. SCNTFC, you are a genius! Even if you don’t play this game, at the very least listen to the soundtrack.

Overall, Oxenfree was an otherworldly experience that I am glad I played. It is a suspenseful thriller with elements of supernatural horror. That said, it has a lot of heart and there are a few funny moments here and there. If you are looking for a unique game with an engaging story then I recommend tuning into Oxenfree.

Posted in review

A Silent Voice Review

shgdAs part of this year’s Glasgow Film Festival, A Silent Voice had a screening at the GFT and the film’s Director, Naoko Yamada ( K-On!, Tamako Market), held a Q&A after the film.

A Silent Voice follows Shoya Ishida, who used to bully the deaf Shoko Nishimiya mercilessly as a young child. Years later, he tries to redeem himself and make amends for the pain he inflicted on her. Will he be able to heal the damage he has done, or make the suffering worse?

Going into this film, I was worried that Shoya would be an unlikeable character, and to an extent he was. As a child, you hate him for the nasty things he does to the new girl but quickly learn that the older Shoya is a different person entirely. You see him suffer for his actions and believe his intentions are genuine when he tries to make amends. He is hardly perfect, but that is what makes him relatable.

80136.jpgI can’t really say much about Shoko and the other characters in this film without giving away spoilers. Considering that the focus of this film is the characters and the emotional experiences they go through, it is best to know as little as possible going into this film. What I will say is that Tomohiro Nagatsuka is my favourite character as well as the one I personally relate to the most.

This has to be one of the most emotional films I have seen in a while and seeing it with a large audience really added to the experience. The room was filled with laughter at some scenes and you could hear people choking back tears in others. The tension near the end of the film was palpable.

As I mentioned, there was a small Q&A session with Yamada. I was lucky and got to ask her my question. I asked her if there was a scene from the film that made her cry during the film’s development and thanked her for making such an amazing film. She thanked me and said that moments with Shoya’s mum made her tear up. I can’t say  I blame her.

I loved A Silent Voice. It was an emotional rollercoaster that I won’t forget in a hurry. It doesn’t sugarcoat bullying nor the damage it does. In fact, it shows not only what happens to the victim, but how it can come around and hurt the bully as well as the others involved in the situation. With well written characters with a story that will move anyone, I highly recommend A Silent Voice.