Attack on Titan Chapter 127, The Night of the End Review: Major Death Flags.

4 stars
After the extremely rushed Chapter 126, many Attack on Titan fans, including myself, were concerned about the direction Hajime Isayama was taking the manga’s ending.
Well, thankfully, Chapter 127, “The Night of the End” seems to have significantly lessened those fears.
The chapter is a return to form, with the much needed tension between the characters that was missing in “Pride” being put on full display.
This building tension is made readily apparent by the full page spread of the alliance of Scouts, Warriors, and Volunteers around a campfire in their own separate groups.
This lead to many fantastic moments, among them small confrontations between Mikasa and Annie, and Jean and Magath.
Magath was the real surprise confrontation this chapter because I thought he had come to accepted Eldians as his allies, for the most part.
However, with his attempts to justify the conflict between Paradis and Marley this chapter, Iayama has made it clearer than ever that he has a long way to go.
Still, he looks to be on the right path by the end of the scene, as he attempts to help Gabi, only to stop himself and consider his actions.
Speaking of Gabi, she stood out as a peacemaker at the end of the scene, with her protecting Reiner from Jean’s attack, and her and Falco begging the Scouts to help them stop the Rumbling.
Hange also played the role of peacemaker in “The Night of the End”, although to a much more hilarious degree, with her trying to maintain order by offering everybody soup.
Her direct opposite this chapter is Yelena, who Pieck reveals is actually a Marleyan who crafted a story about her being from a country that was conquered by Marley to make her seem more grand.
After this revelation, Yelena goes about stoking the flames of antagonism between the group, bringing up all of their crimes against one another.
She hits a particular nerve when she mentions Marco, which leads into Reiner and Annie explaining the truth about his death to Jean, telling him that Marco’s last words were “we still haven’t talked”, which is extremely relevant now.
We also get to learn some interesting facts about the aftermath of Marco’s demise, as Reiner reveals that, due to the split personality he had following the murder, Reiner killed the Titan out of guilt.
This is not enough to placate Jean though, who attacks Reiner, getting a few good punches in before Connie and Armin pull him away.
Gabi then shields Reiner, ending with her getting kicked in the face, before begging the scouts to help stop the Rumbling, as I mentioned before.
And to end this tense standoff, Isayama of course inserts some humor, with Levi waking up and telling the alliance that they are being “so noisy.”
Overall, this scene was fantastic and exactly what we needed after the complete lack of tension between the characters in Chapter 126.
The standout of the scene is definitively Jean, whose character growth is so great in this chapter that he has easily climbed up on my favourite characters list.
He is the main character of the chapter right from its opening moments, where he imagines what his life would be like if he just accepted the Rumbling and lived the good life.
He even imagines himself with a wife and children, the wife baring an uncanny resemblance to Mikasa.
By the end of the chapter, Jean has thrown this dream away to fight to stop the Rumbling as Marco would have wanted him to.
Unfortunately, all of this development for Jean is giving him some major death flags, especially with it looking like the alliance will face Floch in the next chapter.
Floch essentially represents what Jean could have become so it makes sense for the two to face off and I have a feeling it will result in both of their deaths.
Another character with death flags this chapter is Hange, who has a moment very reminiscent of when Erwin appeared to hallucinate his dead comrades in the Return to Shiganshina Arc.
Given that Erwin later died, the fact that Hange experiences this, along with Jean, is very concerning.
Death flags aside, this scene between Jean, Hange and Miaksa is very welcome because it explains one of the plot holes in Chapter 126 about how Jean and Mikasa met up with Hange.
Unfortunately, the chapter does not fix all the flaws of “Pride”, because we don’t get a flashback to Annie meeting with Armin or an explanation about how they met up with Hange and the others.
Still, at least some of the problems with the previous chapter have been fixed.
Back to the scene between Jean, Hange and Mikasa, there are two other things about this moment that I appreciated.
The first of these is Mikasa announcing that she believes they have to stop Eren.
It appears that she is finally taking Armin’s advice to think for herself and I hope to see this continue.
The second feature I appreciated was the small argument between Jean and Hange about what they would do if they stopped Eren to prevent the rest of the world from destroying Paradis.
While I did find it disappointing that Hange had no real plan, it is nice to see that Isayama knows that if Eren is defeated then the outside world would still not leave the island alone.
So, just defeating Eren is not going to be enough to keep the Eldians safe.
The final scene of the chapter sees the alliance heading to the harbor to take Kiyomi’s plane to stop Eren, as I predicted.
However, in a brilliant move, Floch has already realised their plan and moved the Yeagerists to guard the harbor and stop the alliance, holding Kiyomi hostage.
This looks like a job for Keith No-Longer-A-Bystander Chadis!
In all seriousness, it will be interesting to see what role Keith (if he was the man watching the alliance from the window) has to play in fighting the Yeagerists.
I also wonder what Kiyomi will do in this situation?
She can’t just be in the story to provide the plane so she must know something, right?
In any case, it looks like in the next couple chapters we will get Floch as the penultimate boss fight of the series.
Let’s just hope that Jean and Hange don’t bite the dust beating him.
As for any criticisms I have towards the chapter, one of the big ones is that I would have liked it if we had got a few more moments of tension and self reflection with the characters.
For example, we do not see Pieck and Magath’s reactions to Porco and Colt’s death, nor Reiner to Sasha’s, and Falco still does not seem to be all that bothered by the fact that he accidentally killed his brother.
Then there is Levi, who still has not called Annie out for killing his squad, but he was unconscious for almost the entire chapter so I can let that one slide.
All in all, “The Night of the End”  is a great improvement from Chapter 126.
It delivered on the much needed tension between the characters, gave fantastic character development for Jean, and set up both the coming fight with Floch and, most concerning of all, possible death flags for some characters.

My Hero Academia Season Four Episode Twenty, Gold Tips Imperial Review: So, Mineta is the Worst.

3 stars
“Gold Tips Imperial”, the 20th episode in My Hero Academia’s fourth season, started off well with a great joke centering around Eri and Miro (as seen above)… only to follow it up with the worst joke of the entire series.
Seriously, Mineta telling Eri he will probably like her when she is ten years older made me want to throw up.
Is having a character say they will only care about a traumatized little girl if they become attractive when they get older supposed to be endearing?
Because it’s not.
I wish they had removed the joke.
It wasn’t funny in the manga and it definitely isn’t funny in the anime.
As for the rest of “Gold Tips Imperial”, it is a decent episode that sets up more events in the Cultural Festival to come.
Although, will say that even though the Mineta joke at the beginning is terrible, a lot of the jokes that come afterwards make up for it.
For example, the moment when a serious looking, sun glasses wearing Mina tells Deku that he has been fired, only to immediately clarify that he has been transitioned into another job is quite funny.
The funniest part of the episode though is the gags about Class 1-B, with Monoma declaring their play is named Romeo, Juliet and the Prisoner of Azkaban: The Return of the Kings.
I’m so glad this joke did not get cut because of copyright because it gets a big laugh.
Another moment that gets a laugh is the recurring joke where Monoma gets whacked on the head by one of his fellow classmates after he gets carried away again.
This then leads into the reveal of the beauty pageant preparation where Nejire is going all out to try and win this year.
The episode goes full fan service with Nejire here, resulting in even Deku getting flustered.
Jokes aside, we got to see a lot of old characters again this episode, like Hatsume and even Shinsou, briefly.
Hatsume in particular had a big role, interrupting All Might training Deku where All Might reveals he once used support gear.
This leads into another funny moment when Uraraka is freaked out by Deku frantically searching for a video of All Might in support gear, calling himself a failure for not having seen it before.
However, this results in Deku accidentally watching Gentle and La Brava’s video, which will have a big impact in the next episode.
Speaking of Gentle and La Brava, once again they are the most entertaining parts of the episode, with our first look into their backstories, as La Brava is revealed to have hacked Gentle’s address to find him and wants to help carve his name into history.
The relationship between the two is genuinely sweet and quirky, and I cannot wait to see the rest of their backstory unfold.
They also get a lot of laughs, as Gentle struggles with basic technology and needs La Brava’s help.
Overall,  “Gold Tips Imperial” is a standard episode of My Hero Academia. 
It is mainly set up with probably the standout moments being the great gags and La Brava and Gentle’s scene.
Although, the Mineta joke certainly brought the episode down for me.

Castle in the Sky Review: The First Indicator of Studio Ghibli’s Greatness.

4 and a half stars
With many of Studio Ghibli’s films having come to Netflix, I figured that now was the perfect time to watch them for the first time.
And what better film to start with than the studio’s first film, Castle in the Sky?
Directed by the great Hayao Miyazaki, the 1986 film follows two children, Pazu (Mayumi Tanaka) and Sheeta (Keiko Yokozawa) on their journey to find Laputa, the legendary floating island.
With Sheeta being pursued by both the military and a family of pirates, Pazu vows to protect her, and thus begins an adventure that is a magical experience.
Despite being decades old, the animation of Castle in the Sky is still great, with the OP using an art style that is unique compared to the rest of the film and really stands out.

Op castle in the sky
Castle in the Sky has a lot of excellent animation moments, especially in the OP.

Other outstanding animation moments include the reveal of Laputa itself and a particular shootout during the film’s midpoint.
Along with the animation, the characters are also especially endearing.
Pazu and Sheeta are both relatable and you root for them the whole way through.
But my favourite character is definitely Dola (Kotoe Hatsui), the leader of the pirates pursuing Sheeta.
Originally, I thought she would turn out to be a one dimensional antagonist but this perception was quickly proven wrong when she took on an unexpected role in the story that made her all the more likeable.

Dola
Dola appeared to be a one note villain upon her introduction but quickly became the film’s most likeable character, for me.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the main villain, Muska (Minori Terada), who is as one dimensional as they come.
Thankfully, the other characters are nowhere near as bad, with even some of the side characters having stand out moments, like Pazu’s boss.
Overall, Castle in the Sky is a very enjoyable film with great animation for the time, an interesting plot and memorable characters.

Pazu and Sheeta
All in all, Castle in the Sky was a great film for Studio Ghibli to start off with, as it serves as an indication of the quality films to come.

I cannot wait to watch the rest of the Studio Ghibli films on Netflix, which you can expect to see my reviews of after I watch them.

 

Death Parade Review: Not a Very Cheerful Parade.

4 and a half stars
The anime club at my university recently started and, during our first meeting, we watched the first episodes of five anime, three of which we would choose to watch for the rest of the semester.
One of these anime was Death Parade, directed by Yuzuru Tachikawa, and of all the anime we watched that night it was by far my favourite.

episode 1 second attempt
The first episode, “Death Seven Darts” does a great job setting up the theme of the series, along with its characters and structure.

Imagine my disappointment then when Death Parade was not one of the anime that was selected.
Although, I suppose this did turn out in my favor because it gave me the opportunity to binge the 12 episode series over three days.
And, let me tell you, despite what the fantastic OP would have you believe, this anime is anything but a cheerful parade.
Death Parade is mostly set in Quindecim, a bar where many people turn up with no memory of what happened, only to meet the mysterious bartender Decim (Tomoaki Maeno) and his new assistant (Asami Seto).
Decim reveals to his guests that they will have to play a game by roulette of which their very lives will be stake.

decim
Decim and his, at first, unnamed assistant have a great dynamic, especially when it comes to the morality of Decim’s job and how the assistant deals with that.

To say anything more would be to spoil the twists of the first episode, which, although expected, I don’t wish to ruin because of how good the anime is.
With Death Parade‘s episode structure, it would have been very easy for the show to become repetitive but it almost never does with its great leads in Decim and the unamed woman and plenty of memorable side characters.
This culminates in many fantastic episodes like “Death Counter”, which is incredibly engaging in its mysteries and twists, and the final episode “Suicide Tour”, which really gets the tears rolling with its emotional climax and fitting ending.

Sad Decim
Prepare for a whole lot of tear jerking moments in the final two episodes.

One criticism I do have with the anime, though, is how often it is brought up that a certain group of characters cannot feel emotions, only for them to be clearly displaying emotions, with one of these characters almost always being angry.
Granted, I do not speak Japanese so the meaning of emotions could be very different in the language context so I could just be misinterpreting this.
Still, Death Parade is a great anime with plenty of memorable characters and tragic scenes.
Just don’t mistake it for the happy looking show that the OP makes it out to be.

My Hero Academia, Season Four, Episode Nineteen, Prepping for the School Festival is the Funnest Part Review: So, Mineta is basically Deadpool.

3 and a half stars
“Because of my character design, my hands won’t reach!”
And, just like that, Mineta breaks the fourth wall in what is the best joke of “Prepping for the School Festival is the Funnest Part”, the nineteenth episode of My Hero Academia’s fourth season.
This Deadpool style gag is one of many comedic moments in the episode, which sees Class 1-A prepare for their school festival performance, with Jiro at the head of preparation.
She more than proves her worth here as well, both in organizing the performance and in her singing, which is incredible.
I’m not sure if Jiro’s voice actor, Kei Shindo, is actually singing here but, if she is, then she is absolutely fantastic and I cannot wait to hear her sing again many episodes from now.
As well as Jiro, we also got a good character moment from Bakugo, who surprisingly wants to do the performance for the other student as well, or as he puts it, “Let’s kill everyone in U.A with our sound!”
Of course by “kill” he means knock the socks off them but this is Bakugo we’re talking about so you can never really be sure.
Following the preparation for the performance by Class 1-A, we get the final few scenes of the episode where we see Deku begin to unlock more of One For All’s abilities with All Might’s help.
The new technique he develops will be of vital importance later in the arc and it will be interesting to see its use.
Then there is the final scene, which sees the adorable Eri arrive at U.A, with Mirio and Aizawa, to see the preparation for the festival.
Expect more cuteness from her in the following episodes.
As well as all of this build up for the festival, there is also the build up for YouTuber “villains” Gentle and La Brava.
I put “villains” in quotation marks because of how they are not exactly taken seriously by the public and their crimes consist of punishments for weird things.
Still, don’t take Gentle and La Brava lightly.
The interesting thing about them is that they could actually be major villains if they wanted with their skill set but have decided to punish ungentlemanly acts instead.
If they wanted, they could do some serious damage, which we will definitely see later.
On an entirely unrelated note, I have been wondering if we will get the Pro-Hero Arc this season because of the shots of it in the OP but, with how many episodes we have left and how many that Arc should take up, I don’t think we have enough time.
In all likelihood, the season will probably end at the end of the Cultural Festival Arc or a few chapters into the Pro-Hero Arc.
Overall though, “Prepping for the School Festival is the Funnest Part” is another solid episode of My Hero Academia that once again sets up future events for the festival and Gentle and La Brava’s oncoming attack.

A Late Top 10 Films of 2019 List.

2019 was an amazing year for film, delivering some of the decade’s best movies.
It is certainly a step up from 2018, where I only gave one film a five star rating, that being Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
As for 2019 itself, I gave eight films that came out then five stars, making it a much more successful year.
The only downside to how many amazing films there were is that not all of them could make the list.
Dr Sleep, John Wick Chapter 3: Parrabellum, Weathering With You, Toy Story 4, and many more almost made the list but, at the end of the day, I had to narrow it down to 10.
And, here they are.

10. Rocketman.

Rocketman Edgerton

Taron Edgerton should have got an Oscar nomination for his performance as Elton John in Rocketman.
He just absolutely transforms into the singer, lifting the film up to a higher standard.
Directed by Dexter Fletcher, the biopic follows the life of the singer from his highest highs to his lowest lows with a new spin on the genre.
This spin being that the whole film plays out like one big fantasy with musical numbers and theatrical moments that make it seem like we are watching a play rather than a film, and I obviously mean that as praise.
As well as Edgerton, the rest of the cast is great, especially Richard Madden in his sleazy portrayal of John Reid.
The musical numbers are also really good, helped greatly by Edgerton’s singing that provides a new take to the old Elton John songs that will get you singing along with the film.
All in all, Rocketman is a stellar biopic that provides a new take on the genre, separating it from the standard ones like the previous year’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

9. Uncut Gems.

Sandler

Uncut Gems was the last film from 2019 I watched before I started making the list.
I knew with all the praise it was getting that I had to watch it before I did it.
Another thing that peaked my interest was the Oscar buzz Adam Sandler was getting because he is generally the last person you would expect to get nominated for one.
However, after watching the movie, I can clearly say that, like Edgerton, Sandler also got snubbed.
Directed by the Safdie brothers, Uncut Gems tells the story of Sandler’s Howard Ratner, a jeweler and gambler, whose life spirals out of control when he buys a rare opal.
Howard is an engaging character in every sense of the word as I routed for him and simultaneously wanted to strangle him because of his decision making.
Only Sandler could make this unlikable character so likeable.
The film feels like an adrenaline rush and the realism of certain scenes grounds the story, making the intensity of the film stand out all the more.
Uncut Gems is a movie that makes you feel the same rush as its main character, putting you in his oh, so questionable decision making shoes.

8. Marriage Story.

adam and scarlett

Directed by Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story is the first film on this list that I gave five stars to.
The movie details the divorce of its two lead characters, Charlie, played by Adam Driver, and Nicole, played by Scarlett Johansson, and how this affects their young son.
Both Driver and Johansson are phenomenal in this film, playing equally flawed people, which makes you unsure of whose side you want to take as the movie goes on.
Adam Driver is the standout though, especially during a scene where he sings while out with some friends,
Along with him and Johansson, Laura Dern is another standout in the cast who deserved her win for Best Supporting Actress as the lawyer who inevitably makes things worse.
Another thing I can praise Marriage Story for is its cinematography and editing, which create some truly standout moments, along with the acting.
Baumbach crafted a fantastic film with Marriage Story that, even if you have never been divorced or been in a situation involving a divorce (which I haven’t), you can still relate to the story and characters.

7. Knives Out.

donuts inside of donuts inside of donuts inside of donuts inside of donuts inside of donuts inside of another donut

I will never look at a donut the same way again after watching Rian Johnson’s Knives Out. 
In all seriousness, while I do think I made a mistake in including Johnson’s highly flawed, yet still enjoyable, Star Wars: The Last Jedi on my Top 10 Films of 2017 list, I do not think I am making the same mistake here.
Knives Out is a fantastic throwback to the detective murder mysteries of old, with Daniel Craig being wittingly over the top as the eccentric Benoit Blanc.
Equally as good is Ana de Armas, whose character is surprisingly more of a main character than Blanc.
Then there is Chris Evans who goes against type playing a snobby rich boy, a role that he is clearly enjoying.
The rest of the cast is also stellar but that is not surprising considering the likes of Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, and many more are involved.
The cinematography and symbolism are great as well, with the final shot of the film being so purposefully on the nose that me and the audience I was watching the film with laughed.
Knives Out is a great, new take on the detective, murder mystery genre and, with a sequel announced, I cannot wait to see more adventures for Benoit Blanc.

6. Avengers: Endgame.

I am Ironman

“And I… am… Iron Man.”
Directed by the Russo Brother’s, Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame may not be as well cinematically crafted as Knives Out or Marriage Story but, in terms of enjoyment factor, it is a film I will be returning to for years.
This is despite the film’s three hour runtime, which it more than earns, unlike other movies that came out in 2019 (cough, cough, The Irishman, cough, cough).
Following the devastating event of Thanos’ snap in Avengers: Infinity War, the Avengers must come together once more in a desperate bid to undo the damage and put an end to Josh Brolin’s mad Titan once and for all.
The massive ensemble cast do a great job here, especially Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans who are most likely playing their characters for the last time with them getting amazing send offs.
The CGI is phenomenal, making the cataclysm of the third act’s final battle all the more thrilling.
What’s more, the film is also incredibly emotional, resulting in me tearing up more than once.
Even though the Marvel Cinematic Universe does not end with this, I can still say that Avengers: Endgame was the emotional end to a story that had been going on for more than ten years.

5. Jojo Rabbit.

Jojo Rabbitty

Taika Waititi had to walk on a thin tightrope when making Jojo Rabbit. 
This satire that declares war on hatred could have so easily become a film that was in bad taste what with its story but it didn’t.
In his first movie role, Roman Griffin Davis stars as Jojo Betzler, a boy living in World War Two Germany who is infatuated with Adolf Hitler to the point that the dictator is his imaginary friend, played by Waititi himself.
But, when Jojo discovers that his mother (Scarlett Johannsson) is harboring a Jewish girl named Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie), everything he thought about the Third Reich begins to change.
Jojo Rabbit is easily my favourite Taika Waititi film because it perfectly blurs the lines between being a drama and a comedy.
I was laughing one moment at the absurdity of the Nazis and horrified by their actions the next.
This culminates in probably the most shocking film scene of the year that had my jaw on the floor for a solid minute.
All of the cast do an amazing job and the slow switch from Jojo’s childlike perception of the Nazis to how horrible they were in real life is perfectly illustrated through the change in Waititi’s performance.
Funny, tragic, and heartwarming, Jojo Rabbit is a great film that only Taika Waitit could have pulled off.

4. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywoob

Quentin Tarintino is one of the greatest directors of all time and he created another hit with his film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt star as has-been actor Rick Dalton and his stuntman Clint Booth who live through the daily struggle of 1960s Hollywood.
Both actors are amazing in their roles, as is the rest of the cast in a film that shows a lot of love and respect for the film industry of this time.
Some of my favourite scenes are the ones where Rick is acting in a Western TV Show and when Sharon Tate (Margo Robbie) goes to watch one of her own movies.
However, while our main characters thrive or struggle in the Hollywood landscape, the Manson family looms as a deadly shadow, ready to strike.
This results in a dark, yet unexpectedly hilarious, final act that had me and the rest of the theater laughing out loud, which definitely made me question if we were all really messed up for a moment.
It was the perfect ending for the film, with a bittersweet final scene paying more respect to Sharon Tate’s memory that the awful and morally bankrupt The Haunting of Sharon Tate ever could.
Once Upon A Time in Hollywood is Quentin Tarantino’s love letter to the Hollywood of old and, as someone who loves movies, I can say it is one of my favourites of his.

3. Joker.

dance joker dance

Joker is one of the most talked about movies of 2019 but not for the reasons it should be.
The Todd Phillips directed film was bashed by many journalists who were saying the film would motivate people to commit horrible crimes.
You know what ended up happening?
Nothing!
Because Joker was never about motivating violence against the rich, which its main character unintentionally achieves through his criminal actions.
Instead, the film is about the dangers of not taking mental illness seriously and discusses class differences, especially in relation to poverty.
These messages just happen to be in a comic book film about an insane clown who murders people.
Joaquin Phoenix plays that clown, Arthur Fleck, as life kicks him down again and again, with every opportunity for help turning away from him before he finally snaps.
Phoenix is incredible in the film, being more than deserving of his Oscar win.
Likewise, Hildur Guðnadóttir also deserved her Oscar, with her score being the best of the year and a character in its own right.
Then there is the cinematography, which is perfectly handled, as can be seen by how Arthur is framed whenever he is on stairs.
All of this combines to create a deeply uncomfortable film with a great message at its dark, dead heart.
Go watch it, and don’t believe what the journalists said.

2. Parasite.

parasite bloody

I wish I had watched Parasite before it won the Oscar for Best Picture.
Being a fan on Bong Joon-ho’s films, I am kind of ashamed it took me so long to watch it.
But, when I finally did, boy, did it live up to the hype.
Although it is not my favourite film of the year, I can say with no doubt that Parasite definitely deserved Best Picture, along with all of the other awards it won.
All of the cast do a great job with Song Kang-ho being especially fantastic as the father of a poor family who scams their way into a wealthy family’s employment.
Bong has crafted a masterful film that starts of as a comedy drama, until a certain event happens that switches the story into high gear right up until its depressing end.
And what an ending it is, as it felt like I had been punched in the gut upon seeing it.
Before this ending though, there are many standout scenes, from a comical montage involving a scheme Song’s character Kim Ki-taek plays, to the turning point about half way through the movie.
Like Joker, Parasite does an incredible job of bring across its message about class with the film not just being accessible to a South Korean audience but a worldwide one as well.
I would say that Parasite is my second favourite Bong Joon-ho film, coming behind Memories of Murder, making it a masterpiece in its own right.
Hopefully, its Oscar wins will make the Academy consider more non-English speaking films going forward.

1. 1917.

1917

It took a couple days for me to decide what was my favourite film of 2019, with me constantly switching between Joker, Parasite and 1917.
The Sam Mendes film eventually won out though because of its excellent story, cinematography, acting, special effects and score, all of which combined to create my favourite movie of the year.
1917 follows two soldiers in World War One, Lance Corporals William Schofield (George MaKay) and Tom Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman), who are tasked with delivering a message to call off an oncoming attack that will result in the deaths of 1,600 men.
The film is gloriously shot, with it all being made to look like one tracking shot.
If Roger Deakins hadn’t won for Best Cinematography then the world would certainly have gone mad.
This film style lead to many adrenaline rush fueled scenes that had me gripping the arm rests of my movie seat as if my life depended on it.
The rush through the seemingly abandoned German trenches, the scene in the destroyed town, and the final mad dash are scenes that I will remember for years to come.
I jumped, I cringed, and I very nearly cried by the end.
1917 made me feel all kinds of emotions and reminded me why films about this awful time of war need to be made.
I would go as far to say that 1917 is not just my favourite film of 2019 but also up there with Saving Private Ryan as one of the best war films of all time.
Be sure to watch this film in theaters for one hell of a great experience.

My Hero Academia Season Four, Episode Eighteen School Festival Review: A Gentle Episode.

4 stars
After battling an evil mastermind, his successor, a hero killer, and a crime boss, My Hero Academia season four, episode 18 introduces the next big threat our heroes will have to face… YouTubers!
While that line I just used is certainly an overplayed joke, it is more than warranted here with the introduction of the new villains for this arc, Gentle and La Brava.
I am sure many people are confused about how the series went from a dark villain like Overhaul to lighthearted ones but the role they to play in the story going forward is great.
Along with this, their introduction also perfectly sets up both characters with an element of humor.
It’s actually quite funny how when you first see Gentle’s face on video while the UA students are celebrating the Cultural Festival he looks threatening, only to be shown the full video later in the episode where he is revealed to be a fame seeker.
The scene with him accidentally splashing his tea on himself and La Brava also gets a laugh.
Right from the beginning of “School Festival” the humor is present from Deku and Aoyama’s awful dance skills, to Tsuyu stringing Mineta up, to Iida’s reaction to everyone’s ideas for the festival, and to Sato imagining Todoroki and Bakugo taking part in a dance tournament.
Honestly, the only part of the episode with any dark undertones, like those seen in the previous arc, is the one where Eri reveals that she doesn’t know how to smile.
I just wanted to give her the biggest hug during this moment.
However, the scene is still humorous because of Mirio’s interactions with her, and the smile plot line will lead to one of the most heartwarming moments of the series.
Another big highlight of the episode is Jirou because this episode makes it clear why she is so prevalent in the OP.
We see the beginning of her arc in “School Festival” as she deals with insecurities about her music and how it involves her hero work, but she eventually resolves to keep on rockin’ by leading Class 1-A’s band performance for the festival.
Episode 18 saw the beginning for a lot of fantastic character arcs like Jirou’s, Eri’s and, of course, Gentle and La Brava’s.
It works as a great foundation episode and it is also pretty funny to boot.

Uncut Gems Review: Wait, Adam Sandler is Actually Fantastic Here?

4 and a half stars
“God damn it, Howard!”
I lost count of how many times I screamed this at my laptop screen as I watched the character of Howard Ratner, who is played brilliantly by Adam Sandler, screw himself over time and time again in the Safdie brothers’ film, Uncut Gems.
What’s that, you ask?
“Adam Sandler actually delivers a brilliant performance in this film?”
Why yes, he does.
I know it sounds hard to believe; after all Sandler’s performances and movies mostly earn collective eye rolls these days but not in this movie.
Uncut Gems follows Howard, jewelry store owner and problem gambler, whose addiction to making bets and making them big causes his life to spiral out of control.
If I could describe the film in two words it would be an adrenaline rush because that both perfectly encapsulates the ride Uncut Gems takes you on and also how the movie firmly puts you in the mindset of Sandler’s character.
Sandler lifts this movie up to another level with his performance, making you understand and even sympathize with Howard, even though in hindsight he is not a very likeable person.

Sandler got snubbed
Sandler definitely got snubbed at the Oscars. His performance is one of the best of the year, alongside Joaquin Phoenix in Joker and Adam Driver in Marriage Story.

He is not the only one giving a great performance, though, as Julia Fox, Lakeith Stanfield, Eric Bogosian, Keith Williams Richards, and even Kevin Garnett all do amazing jobs.
The film is also very well shot and conversations feel natural and hectic, applying to the adrenaline rush of the film.
A rush that culminates in an ending that literally made me shout out in shock.
This ending was perfect for the film and it also blew me away with how realistic it all felt.
Uncut Gems is another fantastic movie from 2019 that will hopefully begin a return to quality with the films Adam Sandler is in.

Parasite Review: Who is The True Parasite?

5 stars
Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite made history at the Oscars by being the first non-English film to win Best Picture.
I remember thinking that 1917 would win the award but then Bong won Best Director and that made me do a double take and wonder if it could win.
Lo and behold, Parasite was awarded Best Picture and I was thrilled, even though I hadn’t watched the movie yet.
The reason for this is because the academia has almost always awarded only English films and the fact that a South Korean film won Best Picture could open the door for more foreign films being nominated in other categories.
I have my fingers crossed that the day will come when anime gets the recognition it deserves in the Best Animated Film category.
Back to Parasite, after it won the award, I knew I could no longer sit on it and had to watch the film.
Coming into it, I had no idea what to expect other than I would almost certainly find it fantastic; this is Bong Joon-ho we’re talking about, after all.
I have watched a lot of his films over the years from The Host, to Snowpiercer, to Okja, but my favorite film of his is definitely Memories of Murder, which is a deeply disturbing masterpiece.
And, while I do not think the film is quite as good as Memories of Murder, I can state with absolute certainty that Parasite is a masterpiece too and more than deserving of the Best Picture award.
Is it my favorite film of 2019?
Well, as of this moment, I am unsure if I enjoyed it more than 1917 and Joker but it is definitely up there.
The film follows two families, the Kims and the Parks, who live in two very different worlds.
While the Parks are wealthy and live the good life, the Kims are impoverished and live in a half-basement where they struggle to support themselves.

the Kims
The dire situation of the Kims is made perfectly clear in the opening scene, making you understand their parasitic scheme to infiltrate the Parks’ house.

After the son of the family, Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik), manages to scam his way into the Parks’ house as a tutor, the entire family eventually scams their way in as well, until all are employed by the Parks who believe they are not respected experts in their fields.
What happens next, I will not spoil, but the movie takes a turn at a certain point that raises the tension to another level and keeps you guessing as to what will happen.
Not only was I constantly trying to guess where the movie would go (and wrongly at that) but I was also constantly wondering who the real parasite of the movie is, the Kims, the Parks, or both?

symbolism
Parasite is jam-packed with symbolism and themes that really get you thinking about class.

And then there is the ending, which is absolutely perfect and hit me like a train.
This gripping story is supported by the fantastic cast of Choi, Song Kang-ho, Park So-dam, Jang Hye-jin, Lee Sun-kyun, and Cho Yeo-jeong, who all give amazing performances.
And, with Bong Joon-ho directing, the end result is a masterpiece of a film that will keep you riveted right up until the very end.
Bong does, indeed, deserve to “drink until the next morning.”

My Hero Academia Season Four Episode 17, Relief for Licence Trainees Review: Surprisingly Great.

4 stars
I felt that, after the average sixteenth episode of the fourth season of My Hero Academia, the seventeenth episode would be about the same.
So, imagine my surprise when I found that episode 17, “Relief for Licence Trainees ”, was actually pretty great.
I have read the manga and I don’t remember being particularly engaged during this section of it but something about the way it was adapted in the anime made me invested.
Starting off, the beginning moments of Todoroki, Bakugo, Inasa and Camie trying to win over the children ends great with the aspiring heroes using their quirks to create a playground to entertain them.
This resulted in some fantastic animation that really surprised me.
I would say that, while “Infinite 100%” has the best animation of the season so far by a wide margin, “Relief for Licence Trainees ” has the second best animation.
The use of Camie’s quirk to create illusions, along with Todoroki’s ice slide make for a beautiful visual.
Another thing that I greatly appreciated is how they kept an important piece of Bakugo’s development.
Last episode, one of these moments was cut, so it was great to see Bakugo grab the lead kid’s hand and tell them not to look down on others or they will never realize their own flaws.
This shows just how Bakugo has changed from the arrogant bully of the first season, even if he is still incredibly aggressive in his actions.
Meeting outside the building, we then get a continuation of the beginning of Endeavor’s redemption.
In a scene that visually resembles Deku and All Might’s conversation in episode four, Endeavor tries to make up with Todoroki, telling his son that he is proud of him and will now try to work towards being a hero that he can be proud of.
The change in the pro-hero even seems to spark Inasa into action because, after punching himself in the face, he tells Endeavor that he will be cheering him on.
This moment both shows great changes in the character of Endeavor and Inasa and also provides brilliant humor, which can also be seen through Camie’s illusion of Todoroki and how Bakugo reacts to it at the beginning of the episode.
But it is with Aoyama’s weird behavior that the true humor of this episode lies because he starts trying to befriend Deku in what are pretty creepy, yet funny, ways.
From his feeding Deku cheese when he is not expecting it, to sneaking by Deku’s dorm room and leaving a cheese message for him.
The horror music during this second event really sells the impression that Aoyama has some kind of sinister intent, which is what I felt when reading the manga because, back then, I though this was Horikoshi hinting that Aoyama was the traitor.
Thankfully, this was all just Aoyama’s unique way of trying to become friends with Deku because he found them to be similar because they both have trouble controlling their quirks.
So, all in all, “Relief for Licence Trainees ” is an episode that surprised me because of how enjoyable I found it to be.
With fantastic animation, some great growth for Endeavor and Aoyama and some hilarious moments, it definitely left more of an impression than I thought it would going in.