Overlord: A+ B Movie that has to be Seen in Theaters.

4 stars
The concept of Nazi zombies has been around for some time so it is a wonder this crazy idea has never given a big budget action film to go along with it until now.
When I saw the trailers for Overlord I was very intrigued by it but I was not expecting it to be a must-see film in theaters.
However, it definitely is.
This is not because Overlord is a perfect film but because it is a perfect B Movie, only with a bigger budget.
The plot of Overlord centers around a group of soldiers who are dropped into Nazi occupied France the night before D-Day to destroy a radio tower so the troops will be able to invade.
However, upon arriving, they discover the Nazis are using villagers for inhumane experiments that bring the dead back to life and set out to stop them.
I was on the edge of my seat the entire time when watching this film and it never got dull.
Yes, the characters are pretty cliche with nothing more than basic depth and the plot goes pretty much how you expect, but this works because the film knows what is is.

boyce-and-ford.jpg
Even though the main character Boyce, played by Jovan Adepo, and various other characters like Ford, Wyatt Russel, are fairly generic, they still work for this kind of film.

Overlord never tries to create meaningful characters or go anywhere deep because that is not what it is trying to do.
I think the director, Julius Avery, was trying to create a fun, edge of your seat action movie first and he definitely succeeded.
If there were any legitimate flaws I had with the movie it would be that there are a few plot holes in the story, one of which really drew me out of the moment.
However, other than this, the film is great.
The opening scene alone is reason enough to see this movie because it is well-shot, has brilliant sound design and is exploding with tension.

overlord opening scene
The opening scene of Overlord is the best of film by far and gives a Saving Private Ryan  feeling to the film until the zombies show up.

While Overlord never does meet the extreme heights of this opening sequence the rest of the film is still edge of your seat exciting.
It was rumored that Overlord was a Cloverfield continuation because of J.J Abrams’ involvement but this is false, which is good because this film stands better on its own.
I cannot stress how highly I suggest seeing this movie in theaters.
I saw Overlord on Xtremescreen at Hoyts and it made the experience all the more memorable through how it heightened the action and already fantastic sound design.
Another reason I suggest seeing this in theaters is because the film deserves it.
Overlord looks to be a flop in terms of Box Office as not many people are going to see it, which is a shame because of how fun it is to watch.
Just to be clear, even though I am singing praises for this movie, Overlord is not a perfect film.
The characters are cliche and the plot does not go anywhere special.
However, as a B Movie that knows what is it, Overlord is fantastic for a fun time at the movies.

The Walking Dead Issue 185, On Guard Review: The Calm Before the Inevitable Storm.

3 and a half stars
When Rick got his hand cut off by the Governor all the way back in the prison arc, I never thought there would be a twist where he gained the magical ability to grow it back.
However, in the latest issue of The Walking Dead, “On Guard”, Rick obtained this ability because while talking with Dwight his hand magically grew back!
Okay, time to get serious now.
In all honesty Rick’s hand appearing to have grown back was nothing more than a funny mistake.
That said though, the scene where this happened was anything but funny, with Rick confronting Dwight about his actions throughout “On Guard.”
This moment marked the culmination of Dwight’s devious actions, which began right from the last issue’s cliffhanger, where Dwight was angered by Rick’s refusal to attempt a take over of the Commonwealth.
Here, in the beginning of the issue, Rick logically points out to Dwight why they could never take the Commonwealth by force and tells him to get out.
After this, Dwight attacks some soldiers to gauge the citizens’ reaction and is thrown in jail.
This leads to the ending scene of the issue where Rick confronts Dwight (and we are given that funny mistake of Rick’s regrown hand), with him again logically pointing out why Dwight is wrong.
I do not think Dwight will listen though, despite how much I hate where his character is going.
He was such an amazing character in the Whisperer Arc, however, after Sherry’s death, he has been in a slow downward spiral.
I do not know if Robert Kirkman is trying to make him unlikable but if he is not then he really needs to improve on Dwight’s character.
Still, Dwight’s antics did lead to be best part of the issue, which was the cliffhanger.
In the final scene, after Rick once again points out how dangerous Dwight’s plan is, he is confronted by Mercer who overheard the conversation.
Mercer calls Rick “the leader the Commonwealth needs” in a fantastic bit of development from him that shows just how impressed he has become of Rick and his people during the brief time they have known each other.
This also has massive implications for the next chapter because, based on the chapter, it looks like someone will try to assassinate Pamela with Rick getting in the way so maybe this is an expansion of Mercer’s endorsement of Rick.
That said, I do not think Mercer will be the one aiming the gun at Pamela because he has stated previously he has never wanted her dead so I have no idea who the gunman will be.
The rest of “On Guard” was pretty decent, with both good and bad moments.
For example, the scene where Rick breaks down into tears over how much Andrea would have loved the Commonwealth was a great scene.
However, the one where Sophia complained to Carl about how she has never had sex had a lot of cringe to it and I really hope it is not setting up some kind of love triangle between them and Lydia.
Although, there were plenty of good and bad moments in this issue I am eagerly looking forward to the next one.
Multiple things are hinting at this issue, “The Powder Keg,” being a big turning point, from its title, to the cover, to even a scene between Magna and Yumiko in “On Guard.”
In a moment between the two Magna comments, “when things are peaceful, that’s all just killing time between the horror.”
And if that is not an ominous hint towards next issue then I do not know what is.

Attack on Titan Volume 20 Review: The Best Chapters of the Entire Arc so Far.

Chapter 79: Perfect Game.

4 stars
Setting up the amazing battle between the Scouts and the Colossal and Beast Titan in later chapters, Chapter 79 “Perfect Game” is another great addition to the Shiganshina arc.
Picking up with a fantastic panel of the Colossal Titan’s face as he destroys Shiganshina, the chapter immediately sets up the threat he poses, with even Armin having no idea how to beat him.
This causes him to hand over leadership to Jean and, in a last ditch effort, Eren tries to tackle Bertholdt at the end of the chapter… only to be kicked to the top of the wall.
On the other side of the wall the Beast Titan finally takes part in the action by throwing numerous rocks at the Scouts, killing many of them, all the while referencing Baseball.
While, this was darkly comedic, it is also interesting because it shows that wherever Zeke, the Beast Titan, is from they have baseball.
I wonder if we will get a twist like from The Village where it is modern day outside the walls but I think that would be jumping the shark.
Zeke referencing Baseball was not the only funny moment of the chapter though because Connie seems to become hysterical over how they cannot possibly beat Bertholdt, causing Sasha to slap him.
This is another thing I love about Attack on Titan because it manages to make you feel horrified one moment and laugh the next.
Overall, Chapter 79 was another good chapter that set up the epic next three chapters.

Chapter 80: The Nameless Soldier.

4 and a half stars
The first of the final epic three chapters of Volume 20, “The Nameless Soldier” was a fantastic chapter that really highlighted why I love Erwin so much as a character.
After watching the Clash of the Titans arc, I thought Erwin’s main goal was saving humanity no matter the cost but, with the Uprising Arc and this one, it has quickly become apparent that this is not the case.
Erwin actually does value his own life over others because he wants to see his father’s dream to the end, and all his talk about saving humanity has been him acting as “a conman” as he puts it.
This makes Erwin a much deeper character and when Levi decides to make the decision for Erwin, telling him to go and die for them while promising he will kill the Beast Titan, it was a powerful moment for both of them.
Unfortunately, this does not seemed to have ended well for Erwin because his suicide run ends with him getting hit in the stomach from the Beast Titan’s rocks.
Still, this development saw Erwin put aside his dreams for the good of humanity and was some excellent character development for him.
He also gave what I feel was the best speech of the series so far when he told the recruits it was up to them to give meaning to the deaths of the Scouts who had died before them and it would be up to whoever replaced them to giving meaning to their deaths.
It was also not just through Erwin that we saw the stakes of this fight because Mikasa got badly injured as well when she attempted to use the Thunder Spears on Bertholdt, only for his steam attack to launch them back at her and explode.
“The Nameless Soldier” was a great Attack on Titan chapter where Erwin truly shined with some fantastic development and where the stakes of this battle were truly shown.


Chapter 81: Promise

5 stars
What an amazing chapter this was.
We got the potential death of Erwin, the surprisingly impactful death of Marlo, and the best fight of the entire series so far between Levi and Zeke.
To start off, it looks like Erwin is dead, having been hit through the gut by Zeke’s projectiles.
If he really did die then this was an epic way for him to go out but I do wish we had got some final moments with him.
The death of Marlo also really surprised me this chapter.
Not because he died but because of how impactful I found his death to be.
Marlo is a minor character so I never felt like I would feel emotional at his death, but seeing how he thought of Hitch and sleeping as he rode straight towards his death, only to get cut off as Zeke’s boulder blasted part of his head off was very impactful.
Then we have Zeke himself, who makes an interesting comment this chapter about his father.
I have been spoiled about who Zeke really is but it is interesting to see the groundwork being laid out and I wonder how the reveal will be handled?
After all of this, we not only get the best moment of the chapter but the best fight in the entire manga so far when Levi battles and absolutely destroys Zeke.
This was accompanied by some truly magnificent artwork from Hajime Isayama, who is really improving his style, as we see Levi hack Zeke’s Beast Titan apart in all its gory glory.
It gets even more disgusting when Zeke emerges from the Titan, only to get stabbed through the mouth by Levi.
This was so brutal and I hope it does not get censored in the anime, like some of the violence in the Uprising Arc was.
Unfortunately, before Levi could feed Zeke to someone by using the serum, the goofy Titan Shifter appeared and rescued him.
Then came the moment when Zeke yelled at all of his Titans to, “kill him!”
This sent shivers down my spine, even though I know Levi will probably be fine.
The chapter ends with Armin having regained his confidence as he and Eren prepare to face down Bertholdt’s Colossal Titan in what I knew was going to be an epic fight while Mikasa and the others went to fight Reiner.
Chapter 81, “Promise” was a brilliant chapter full of meaningful and impactful deaths, and had the best fight of the manga so far.
It is the perfect chapter.


Chapter 82: Hero

5 stars
And I thought the last chapter was amazing.
Chapter 82 of Attack on Titan “Hero” is another brilliant chapter in the Shiganshina arc that really got the emotions flowing, featuring what may be another major character death.
The chapter starts off amazing, setting up the stakes by showing what Eren and Armin are fighting for as they are about to battle the Colossal Titan, with Historia, Hitch and Nile being seen elsewhere, showing all of their lives depend of this battle.
What follows are two amazing action sequences between Mikasa and the others scouts against Reiner, and also Eren and Armin against Bertholdt.
I really enjoyed the prelude to these battles as well, with Mikasa not giving in to her desire to help Eren and Armin so she can focus on her mission, showing character development.
Starting with the fight with Reiner, I will say this was a nail biting scene with a lot intensity because even Sasha got injured.
All looked hopeless until thankfully, Hange arrived to save the day, giving Mikasa the chance to finish off Reiner in a scene that felt very reminiscent of when she told Annie to fall.
I am so happy Hange is still alive but Moblit is nowhere in sight.
I hope he is not dead because he is a very likeable side character.
Then we get the fight between Eren, Armin and Bertholdt, which delivered on an emotional level as well as an intense one.
At first it looks like Eren falls of the wall by accident putting him out of commission.
This leads to Armin latching onto Bertholdt’s teeth with his ODM Gear and attempting to
withstand his steam attack, leaving him horrifically burned.
However, this is revealed to be all part of Armin’s brilliant plan because Eren uses this as a distraction to get behind Bertholdt and cut him out of the Colossal Titan, hacking off his limbs.
The chapter ends with him landing on a rooftop with Bertholdt, beside Armin’s burnt body and declaring Armin was always the bravest of them all.
This was an incredibly emotional scene that made me realise what the burned body was on the rooftop in that mid-credits scene of season three episode twelve.
Unfortunately, I have been spoiled about how this ends so I do not know if there will be all that much intensity since I already know what is going to happen, but I am still looking forward to seeing it.
“Hero” was a fantastic way to end Volume 20, delivering another five star chapter that makes me even more excited for what is to come.

A Star is Born: Great Music, Depressing Movie.

4 and a half stars
Musicals are not really my thing usually, but A Star is Born has been getting some great reviews with some calling it one of the best films of the year so I decided to go.
To my surprise I found the film to be more like a romantic drama that just happened to have music in it and, while that is not necessarily my thing either, I had a blast with it.
Directed by and starring Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born follows the relationship between his character, alcoholic country singer Jackson Maine, and Ally, played by Lady Gaga, a struggling singer and song-writer who rises to fame with Jackson’s help.
The film features the incredibly high ups and incredibly low downs of their relationship, with both Cooper and Gaga giving fantastic performances.
Lady Gaga especially surprised me, joining an increasingly long list of singers who can act as well.
I think both of them will be ones to watch out for at the Oscars.
Their music is also just as powerful, with the first song they sing together on stage leaving me grinning from ear to ear.

rev-1-asib-trl-9090r_high_res_jpeg-1-
The first time Gaga and Cooper sing together is the most inspirational moment of the film. Enjoy it while it lasts though because after this things quickly get super depressing.

However, it is not all smiles though because A Star is Born goes to some very dark places, especially near the end of the film.
This is once again driven home by the knock-out performances of not just Cooper and Gaga but others as well like Sam Elliot, who plays Bobby, the brother and manager of Jackson.
There is so much emotion in this film that it is difficult not to cry at and probably the only reason I successfully managed to avoid this happening to me was because I had been spoiled on what would happen.
So try to go into this film knowing nothing because it will really benefit the experience.
There were a few moments in the film, however, that came across like they were put in just for fan service, rather than trying to say something.
A prime example of this is a brief nude shot of Lady Gaga that felt like an excuse just for her to be naked in a film.
Other than this and a few other scenes though, A Star is Born was a fantastic remake.
I have not seen the film it is based on but I can tell just from watching the film that they knocked it out of the park.

Halloween Review: Delivers Both Scares and a Confusing Title.

3 and a half stars
Halloween 
is the reboot/sequel to Halloween… man that is confusing.
In all seriousness, this movie probably should have been called something different to avoid confusion with the original film and its remake because now there are three films with the Halloween title.
To avoid this confusion, I will be referring to this film as Halloween 2018 from now on.
Directed by David Gordon Green, Halloween 2018 picks up 40 years after the first one, completely retconning all of its sequels.
Laurie Strode, played once again by Jamie Lee Curtis, is now living in a constant state of paranoia because of the trauma she received at the hands of Michael Myers, which has almost destroyed her relationship with her family.
However, when Michael escapes while being transferred to a different mental hospital, Laurie and her family must band together to stop him.
I have only seen the first two Halloween movies but many of the other sequels do not have good reputations so, even with the positive response the film was getting from fans of the series, I came in with a level of apprehension.
After viewing it I have to say that although I did have some problems with it, Halloween 2018 still manages to be an enjoyable and frightening ride with one hell of a body count.
Seriously, this movie is especially gory, which makes the scenes with Michael as he prepares to kill someone even more chilling.

michael myers.jpg
Michael Myers is once again played by numerous actors, all of whom do a great job of bringing the Shape to life.

Michael is a force to be reckoned with in this movie, truly becoming the Shape and not just a random serial killer seen in other slasher films.
His presence is made even scarier through the film’s amazing soundtrack with both the old music from the original film and new ones sending shivers down your spine.
It also made it surprisingly sad to see some characters bite the dust because, even though most of them fit the typical tropes of the slasher genre. they still had enough nuance for me to care about them.
This was especially apparent with the Strode family, consisting of Laurie’s daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak).
All three gave fantastic performances and my favourite moment of the film had to come from Greer in a surprising moment that had me internally cheering.

laurie and karen
The Strode family is one of the highlights of the film, with all three actresses doing a great job.

I also loved the film’s main theme of trauma, with the final shot of Halloween 2018 being especially gripping.
However, there were certain things that held the movie back for me.
Halloween 2018 makes an unusual change in the series by incorporating comedy into some sections.
But, for me, this comedy never landed and always felt out of place.
Some of the characters did not work for me either.
First there was Karen’s husband and Allyson’s father Ray (Toby Huss) who has almost no point in the movie.
Then there was the plot point concerning Michael’s new doctor Ranbir Sartain (Haluk Bilginer), which I felt was unnecessary in the grand scheme of things and very off-putting.
These problems aside though, Halloween 2018 is still a good time if you are looking to get scared.
Some great character moments from the Strode family and Michael Myers himself are the main highlights.

Attack on Titan Volume 19 Review: Colossal Events Unfold.

Chapter 75: War on Two Fronts.

3 and a half stars
Serving as the chapter that builds up the second confrontation between Eren and Reiner, chapter 75 is another decent one from this arc.
It gives us various interesting concepts for the series as well, with a new Titan Shifter being introduced.
I will say though that this new Shifter does look goofy to me but I guess I will just have to see what it can really do before I form a proper opinion on it.
Along with this, it seems like all those Titans that transformed last chapter are actually just normal ones under the control of the Beast Titan.
This is both confusing and has interesting implications because it could mean multiple things.
I think what is happening here is there were multiple people who injected themselves with Titan Serum, dooming themselves to be mindless Titans forever, just to take part in the battle.
If I am right about this then I wonder what could motivate people to do this?
Other than the interesting questions the chapter presents, the rest of it is fairly standard with it being made clear that the warriors are trying to kill the horses to prevent the Scouts from escaping and Eren preparing to fight Reiner.
There were a few great panels here and there though, with one depicting the Beast Titan’s forces and the scouts on opposite sides of the battlefield and another showing that when Reiner transformed he still had Levi’s sword in his neck.
Overall though, “War on Two Fronts” was a standard Attack on Titan chapter that clearly builds towards future events and revelations.

 

Chapter 76: The Thunder Spears.

4 stars
Coming into Chapter 76, “The Thunder Speaks”, I was concerned that the second battle between Eren and Reiner would just turn out to be a replica of the first.
However, while the battle between the two this chapter was not as good as that first one, it was still well crafted and unique enough to provide entertainment value.
Eren used his recently gained hardening ability to attack Reiner and Reiner, in turn, lifted him by the foot to slam him into the ground.
It is very entertaining to look at.
On top of this, we also got to see the Scouts going against Reiner, not just Eren, which was great.
Especially, with the new weapons that were presented, the thunder spears, which the chapter is named after.
Watching the scouts use these new weapons to defeat Reiner was very exciting, although it did lead to a moment from Reiner that made it difficult to care for him because of the hypocrisy he presented.
The best scene of the chapter came when Erwin reflected on all the soldiers who had died on his orders.
This leads to a brilliant moment where he imagines himself standing on a literal mountain of corpses where we see the bodies of dead Scouts like Miche, Gelgar and Nanaba.
There were plenty of other great moments seen throughout the chapter, a personal favourite of mine coming when Levi shouted at his troops, “I forbid you to die!”
Chapter 76 was an action packed chapter that presented some very good character growth.

 

Chapter 77: The World They Saw.

5 stars
Wow, this was a fantastic chapter.
Chapter 77, “The World They Saw”, is the best of this volume and the best in the Shiganshina Arc so far.
It primarily features a flashback from Bertholdt that reveals plenty of things.
First there is the reveal of how Marco really died in Trost District, with him overhearing Reiner and Bertholdt talking, forcing the Warriors to steal his gear and leave him to die.
While I had already guessed that something along these lines had happened from what was shown in season two of the anime, the full reveal in this chapter was still engaging through how it happened.
It helped to humanize the warriors by showing they really did not want to hurt Marco, through how Reiner forced Annie to remove his gear so she could prove herself, and this being revealed to be what caused Reiner’s split personality.
Then there is the revelation Marco had before his death about how when Reiner said, “if we do it, we wait until they gather”, he was sneakily talking about destroying the walls.
This is what I love about Attack on Titan.
There are so many small moments that seem meaningless at first but, when you go back and read them again many chapters later, they take on a new meaning.
Along with this we also got a more recent scene between Reiner, Bertholdt and the Beast Titan who is revealed to be named Zeke.
I know who Zeke is thanks to a troll spoiling me but I am still very interested to see how this will be revealed.
Zeke himself looks to be a very interesting character, being both threatening, yet oddly human.
There is a great moment here when he drinks some tea only to flinch at how hot it is, showing that, despite being a huge threat, he is still a human being.
Finally, there is the conversation between Reiner and Bertholdt at Shiganshina during the flashback.
I liked the interaction between these two but there was one thing that worried me.
Reiner said that he made a promise to Ymir to protect Christa and it sounded like he was talking about her in the past tense.
I really hope Ymir is not dead because she is such a great character and really underused so far in the story.
From here the chapter went to the current timeline, during the battle for Shiganshina.
Reiner was revealed to have had his entire head blown off from the thunder spears but was somehow still alive.
I have no idea how this is even possible and it felt like an extreme case of plot armor.
I did, however, like the reaction from Jean, Connie and Sasha when they thought they had killed Reiner.
It showed that even, after all he has done, they still considered Reiner their friend.
Then there was the cliffhanger, which was absolutely brilliant.
Bertholdt was revealed to not be inside the wall but in a barrel on the back of the new Titan Shifter, which the Beast Titan then throws over the wall for Bertholdt to transform.
I was on the edge of my seat when I read this and just had to read the next chapter after I finished it.
“The World They Saw” was a fantastic chapter of Attack on Titan that produced many shocking and edge of your seat moments.

 

Chapter 78: Descent.

4 stars
Bertholdt was again the star of this chapter where, after abandoning his transformation to save Reiner, he had a very revealing conversation with Armin.
I loved the interaction between these two as their dialogue was perfect and really reflected how great of a writer Hajime Isayama is.
This also led to a very interesting revelation from Armin as he seemed to have deduced that whoever is ordering the warriors around wants them dead because they are “descendants of devils”, whatever that means.
Bertholdt, however, said he does not believe this but stated they all have to die anyway.
While I did like the dialogue that came from this, I will say that I personally did not like how quick this character change felt for Bertholdt.
When we last saw him in the Clash of the Titans Arc, Bertholdt was very remorseful for what he had done but, in this chapter, he seemed to be lacking in any of that remorse.
Maybe it had to do with Armin threatening Annie but it still felt like a very abrupt change.
Another thing I did not like was the reveal of how Reiner survived, which felt very contrived.
The reason Reiner survived getting his head cut off was because he transferred his consciousness to other parts of his body and I do not know if this is even possible.
However, the chapter quickly gets better with its final moments when Bertholdt transforms, creating an explosion like a nuclear bomb that had to have killed at least half of the Survey Corps’ forces.
This may even include Hange and Moblit, but I doubt Isayama would kill Hange like this because it would be disappointing.
On a final note, I was very impressed with a few of the panels in this chapter.
The shot of Bertholdt shouting at Armin with his eyes obscured by shadow gave great insight into his character and inner thoughts.
This was another good chapter that set up what will probably be an epic fight with the Colossal Titan next chapter.

 

Attack on Titan Volume 18 Review: The Battle for Shiganshina Begins!

The first half of Attack on Titan season three ended last week and, unfortunately, we will not be getting the next arc for another six months.
Since I have a bad tendency to get spoiled when it comes to this anime and because I do not want to wait any longer to see what happens, I have decided to read the manga.
I just read Volume 18 so I will review the chapters of this volume from where season three left off.
This means I will not be reviewing chapters 71 and 72 because they have already been covered in the anime.
However, I will be reviewing the remaining chapters 73 and 74.
I will also be reviewing the volumes as I read along, before I get to the recent chapters, which I will review individually.
Until then, here’s my review of the final two chapters from Volume 18.

Chapter 73: The Town Where Everything Began.

3 and a half stars
This chapter kicks off with a great opening to the Shiganshina Arc, with narration over the images of the aftermath of Reiner and Bertholdt’s destruction of Wall Maria.
What I liked about this was it clearly established what was at stake.
Although I will admit, some of the artwork during this section, like when Eren was shown vowing to destroy the Titans again, was rather off-putting because there was an uncanny valley to it.
From here the chapter goes on to detail the Scouts arrival at Shiganshina and them starting to enact their plan of using Eren’s hardening ability to seal the wall.
There were some great character moments during the chapter, like Armin and Eren’s discussion at the beginning.
This conversation made Eren overcome his fear of failure because it reminded him of how Armin started his dream of going outside the walls.
It looks like Armin will get a lot of development in this arc based off the build up he has had in regards to starting Eren’s dream.
Overall, this was fairly standard stuff that is primarily setting up the real battle for Shiganshina, ending with a compelling cliffhanger that reveals Reiner and Bertholdt preparing to strike when Eren goes to seal the hole.

 

Chapter 74: Mission Objective.

4 stars
The battle for Shiganshina kicked off in this chapter with intense scenes of action and suspense that prepares the reader for what is to come.
One thing that did surprise me about this chapter though, was how easily Eren sealed the wall without interference from Reiner and Bertholdt.
It felt like Eren going to seal the wall would have been the perfect time to strike but maybe they did not know which one he was due him wearing his hood.
Either way, Reiner and Bertholdt’s clever hiding was not enough to save them because Armin expertly deduced that they were hiding inside the walls.
I loved how Erwin put Armin in command of a squad in this chapter because it showed how good he could be in a position of power.
It was also very funny when Armin gave orders to the scouts under this command only to follow it up with a “please”.
Armin’s quick thinking led to Reiner being discovered, however, he was prepared and killed a soldier before anyone could blink.
Then, before Reiner could do anymore harm, he was brutally stabbed by Levi in an intense moment of action that had me on the edge of my seat.
Reiner managed to escape and transform, however, and it was after this that the scariest moment of the chapter happened.
As Erwin is handing out orders dozens of Titan’s shift into being on the horizon, including the Beast Titan.
This raises so many questions like if all the Titans with the Beast Titan are Shifters and, if so, why had they not attacked before now?
If they are Shifters then the Scouts are in for a whole world of hurt and bloodshed.
Speaking of which, I expect we will be seeing a round two between Eren and Reiner next chapter if the cover of Volume 19 is anything to go on.
Overall, this chapter was a great way to kick of the battle for Shiganshina and has me terrified and excited about what will happen next.

The Walking Dead, Season 9, Episode one, The Bridge Review: Another Solid Episode

4 stars

Spoiler Free Review:

The Walking Dead season nine continues on track in its second episode, “The Bridge.”
Since seeing the season premiere over a week ago, I have been optimistic about the show’s future given that the new showrunner, Angela Kang, helped produce an episode that was better than almost every episode in the last two seasons.
“The Bridge” continues this, giving us an episode just as good as the last one, providing more great aspects of acting, character development and action.
This episode primarily follows Rick and the others’ attempts to build a bridge for the Sanctuary and the disastrous consequences that follow.
During this time we got an expansion on character’s relationships since the time skip that I enjoyed, for the most part.
There was one relationship reveal that I personally was not a fan of, which I will get into in the spoiler review section.
Aside from this though, I loved the character interactions both major and minor that presented once again top-notch performances from the cast, especially from Ross Marquand who was the standout.
The performances have got significantly better in these two episodes than prior seasons and I am looking forward to seeing what the cast can pull off in the future.
The episode also gives us a few cliffhangers, some I like and some I have mixed feeling about.
Overall though, “The Bridge” was another good episode of The Walking Dead, which can hopefully continue to the end of the season.

Spoiler Review:

“The Bridge” picked up at least a month after the cliffhanger of the previous episode where Maggie hanged Gregory and made her position on the Saviours abundantly clear.
Now Rick and the other communities were working together to build the bridge for the Sanctuary, leading to a horrific accident that caused Aaron to lose his hand after it was crushed under a log and had to be amputated.
Ross Marquand did absolutely incredible in this scene, giving not just the standout performance of the episode but the standout performance of his entire time on the show.
He pulled off the agony his character was in extremely well and it made me feel incredibly sorry for him.
On a lighter note though, many fans have pointed out that now with his beard and missing hand Aaron looks more like Rick in the comics than Andrew Lincoln himself, which is funny.
The cause of Aaron’s accident was an incompetent Saviour named Justin, played by Zack McGowan.
However, Justin was not long for this world because he is attacked at the end of the episode.
Justin clearly recognized whoever attacked him and this has sparked the theory that it was a Whisperer wearing his dead friend’s skin.
If this is the Whisperers I am eagerly anticipating their arrival as they are by far the most disturbing villains of the comics.
However, while I did like this moment near the end of the episode, there was one moment I was not so sure about it.
This is when Anne sees the helicopter from season eight again in the night sky.
I have a feeling that what this helicopter means will either be great or bad for the series so we will have to see if that plays out.
If it is the Commonwealth, however, I think they are introducing them far too early.
Speaking of Anne though, another thing I have mixed feelings on was the reveal of her relationship with Gabriel, which, in all honesty, felt pretty forced to me.
But it may improve in the future, who knows?
Even though I did not like the interactions between Anne and Gabriel very much there were plenty of other interactions I loved.
For example, there was the interaction between Carol and Ezekiel, where Carol agreed to wear his ring but refuse his speech, and the conversation between Earl and Maggie about Earl’s alcoholism.
Then there were the Rick and Negan moments, which were great as Jeffrey Dean Morgan is perfect as Negan.
However, I will admit, it is sad we will never get to see him interact with Carl in the New Beginning story arc because their odd friendship in the comics is very interesting.
Even so, I will still say that “The Bridge” is another great episode of The Walking Dead.
It is not without its flaws but it, and the previous episode, are still better than what came before.

Predictions:

  1. Every time I see a new couple get together in season nine I always think one of them is going to be on the receiving end of a machete and have their stuck on a pike by the Whisperers. First I thought Ezekiel would die this way, now I have a feeling Anne may as well, after she finishes her helicopter storyline though.
  2. Speaking of Anne, I wonder when she will reveal what she knows about the helicopter and why she did not tell everyone about it after she joined the group at the end of season eight? Hopefully this will be revealed soon.

Bad Times at the El Royale Review: A Priest, a Singer and a Cult Leader Walk into a Hotel.

4 and a half stars
Drew Goddard is a fantastic writer, having many film credits to his name but only one directorial credit, this being The Cabin in the Woods.
Well, now he has two to his name as his latest film Bad Times at the El Royale has been released.
Upon seeing the trailer for this film I was very intrigued by it, although I will admit it showed too much.
Even coming in knowing a few things that were going to happen, however, I still had a blast with this movie.
The basic plot is that a bunch of wacky characters consisting of a priest, a singer, a salesman, a hippie, a psychopathic girl, a guilt ridden hotel employee and a sadistic cult leader all stay for the night in the dying out El Royale Hotel.
Each of them have their own secrets, some not being who they claim they are.
What follows is a series of choices between California and Nevada, good and evil and red and black that results in numerous intense twists and turns.
The acting across the board for this film is stellar with many of the actors including Jeff Bridges, Lewis Pullman and Chris Hemsworth (for the brief time he is in the film) giving knockout performances.
The real standout of the film though is Cynthia Erivo in her film debut as Darlene Sweet, the singer who gets roped in on Bridges’ Father Flynn’s secret plans.
Ervio not only provides great acting but a great voice as well with her singing being of importance to the film, even going on to provide a very tense scene.

Darlene Sweet
Cynthia Erivo does a fantastic job as Darlene Sweet, owning every scene she is in.

Along with the acting, the cinematography is amazing and created tension between characters and added new meaning to scenes.
About half-way through Bad Times at the El Royale I remembered the odd way the first shot of the film was composed and the meaning behind it, which was brilliant.
Seamus McGarvey did an amazing job with the film’s cinematography.
A lot of people are comparing this film to Quentin Tarantino’s work, which I can definitely see because this film reminded me a lot of The Hateful Eight.
However, even though it is reminiscent of Tarantino’s films, it is not dependent on them and stands alone as its own individual film.
The one issue I had was the flashbacks, which were sometimes very jarring.
This is especially apparent in the final act when one of these flashbacks interrupts an action sequence and it took a few minutes for me to adjust as things were explained.

Chris Hemsworth.jpg
The final act, initiated by the arrival of Chris Hemsworth’s charismatic cult leader Billy Lee, is interrupted by a flashback that briefly kills the momentum.

Still, this did not completely put me off as I was still enthralled with the arcs these flashbacks presented for the characters.
Overall, Bad Times at the El Royale was a fantastic film from Goddard that I had a ball with.
That being said the film will not be everyone’s taste with its slow pace, which I think it earns but others may not.
Either way, I still recommend you check it out to see if you like it or not.

Attack on Titan Season 3, Episode 12, Night of the Battle to Retake the Wall Review: Emotion, Laughs and One Hell of a Mid-Credits Scene.

4 and a half stars

Spoiler Free Review:

The Uprising Arc of Attack on Titan officially concluded with the twelfth episode of the third season, “Night of the Battle to Retake the Wall”, and what an episode to end it on.
This is because the episode serves as the perfect transition point between this arc and the next, which from what I have heard is one of if not the series’ best.
“Night of the Battle to Retake the Wall” pulled many emotions out of me from anticipation to dread as it went on.
Despite the episode’s constant upbeat feel, there was an overlaying feeling of dread hidden throughout that reared its ugly head during the end credits.
Seriously, you NEED to sit through the end credits when watching this episode.
Remember when I said “Friends” had the best cliffhanger for Attack on Titan?
Well, “Night of the Battle to Retake the Wall” put that cliffhanger to shame, with a startling and, honestly terrifying mid-credits scene that left most of the characters’ fates up in the air.
However, along with containing the most worrying scenes of the series, this episode also contained some of the funniest.
There is a dinner scene in this episode that had me laughing constantly in the span of about five minutes.
There were also a lot of great character moments, especially from Erwin and Levi who both grew as characters.
The soundtrack was also a standout with numerous OSTs returning, including one of my favourites “Call of Silence”.
One of the few issues I had with the episode though was that we did not get to see any of Historia and, since this is the episode that wraps up this arc, which was primarily about her, it is kind of a misstep not to have her.
Otherwise “Night of the Battle to Retake the Wall” was another fantastic Attack on Titan episode that concluded the Uprising Arc brilliantly.
If I had to rank this arc I would say it is my second favourite, right behind the Clash of the Titans Arc from season two.

Spoiler Review:

“Night of the Battle to Retake the Wall” kicks off with what is probably its biggest set-up since the reveal that the basement was important, this being the Titan serum given to Levi by Kenny.
The various leaders of the military convene to decide what to do with it and in the end entrust it to Levi.
This has massive implications for the series because it opens up the possibility for another Titan Shifter in the near future.
I think I already have an idea on who this will be because of spoilers but I will not give it away for people who are anime only so if you want to see who I think it is then check out the predictions section below.
Along with Levi being entrusted with the Titan serum, we also got some substantial development from both him and Erwin.
We saw that Erwin was willing to acknowledge that he finds his desire to learn the truth, generated by his father’s death, is more important to him than humanity.
Along with this, we saw Levi’s growth through his close connection with Erwin and how this eventually lead to him listen to Eren, Armin and Mikasa as they talked about the outside world.
Speaking of Mikasa, she finally got some development this episode.
I said in my review of “Bystander” I talked about how I was getting annoyed by her lack of development so I am glad to see she is getting some, even if it is only minor.
Eren and Jean get into a fight for around the tenth time only instead of saving Eren, like she always would, Mikasa says he will be fine and watches him with a smile.
This small moment from her showed a supreme level of growth because she has learned to not worry about Eren as much, although I do think a better job could have been done of showing where this development came from.
However, just because Mikasa did not interfere that does not mean Levi did the same thing because he beat up the two and then demanded someone clean up the puke Jean threw up.
This was one of many moments during this dinner sequence that had me in fits of laughter.
Sasha going crazy over the meat and having to be tied up, her biting Jean’s hand like a rabid dog and various other scouts fighting over the food were some of the many things that made me laugh during this sequence.
This all builds to the triumphant final scene where the Survey Corps goes to plug up Wall Maria, only to be meet by an enthusiastic crowd for the first time ever.
This leads to a cheer inducing, yet hilarious, scene where Erwin roars in triumph with the citizens and then leading the Scouts to Wall Maria with his signature shout of “ADVANCE!”
However, this triumphant feeling is quickly undermined with a feeling of dread provided by a shot of Reiner and Bertholdt waiting at Shiganshina and the explosive mid-credits scene.
This scene was a genuine shock the first time I saw it because its static opening made me believe my laptop was broken.
This initial belief was quickly thrown out the window as the scene continued, however, with numerous quick cuts of old and new footage.
This all culminates in a brief yet terrifying scene where a bloodied Levi tells Eren and Mikasa in Shiganshina, with a burnt corpse beside them, “do you have the faintest damn clue… what you’re doing!?”
This leads him to attack Eren, which causes a tearful Mikasa to attack Levi and prepare to slit his throat before the scene cuts back to the credits.
This ends the Uprising Arc on a terrifying high note that has dire suggestions about the next arc that I cannot wait to see.

Predictions:

  1. In regards to the mid-credits scene, there were numerous shots that offer up suggestions for what could happen in the second half of season three. There are numerous shots from previous episodes like Grisha preparing to inject Eren, the key, and even shots from the season two outro, which is said to explain the history of Attack on Titan‘s world. However, there are also many new shots as well like the shot of a mysterious woman, a shoe in the grass, someone holding a seashell and Titan skeletons in a field. What these images mean is anyone’s guess but it is the scene we get after these quick shots that offers the real meat in terms of predictions. For example, who is the burnt corpse on the roof with Eren, Mikasa and Levi? It should be noted that Erwin is missing during this scene so I wonder if this is him. Although if it is then this does not explain why Mikasa is crying, why Levi attacks Eren and why Mikasa then tries to kill Levi. These are many unanswered questions that I look forward to being answered in the Beast Titan Arc.
  2. WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS!!! I am pretty sure I know who Levi is going to use the Titan serum on and that character is Armin. I got spoiled that Bertholdt dies and Armin becomes the Colossal Titan and the only real way for this to happen would be if Armin became a Titan and ate Bertholdt. So it is almost certainly Armin that Levi will inject with the serum Kenny gave him. This also has huge implications for the series since Armin becoming the Colossal Titan will be a shocking turn of events because even though I know it is going to happen I do not know how.

Whatever the case, I am looking forward to seeing another episode of Attack on Titan next week… wait, it’s not coming back until April, 2019… WHAT!?