Attack on Titan Chapter 133 Predictions.

Chapter 132 was an Attack on Titan chapter that hit really hard emotionally, delivering the tragic death of Hange, oh, and also Floch too, I suppose.
In all seriousness, Hange’s death proved that we really are in the final arc of the story and, right now, the Alliance are on their way to try and stop Eren from destroying the world.
The final battle is almost upon us, meaning the end of the story is also, and, once again, I will try to (and probably fail to) predict what will happen in the next chapter, 133.
Starting with…

Will the Alliance Reach Eren by the end of the Next Chapter?

“Wings of Freedom” ended with the plane that is carrying the Alliance escaping the Rumbling, following Hange’s sacrifice.
So, the question is, “when will they reach Eren?”
Given how quickly it took for the story to get the Alliance on the plane, once they reached Odiha, it only being one chapter, I honestly don’t expect we will have to wait too long to see their confrontation with him.
In all likelihood, we will either have the Alliance catching up with him as the cliffhanger next chapter, or the following one.
Personally, I think Chapter 134 would be a more appropriate point for this to happen because it would end the volume off on one hell of a cliffhanger and also leave the entirety of the last volume to depict the final battle.
Whatever chapter this happens though, I can definitely see that chapter ending just like the final audio, with Armin rushing to Eren using the ODM Gear and screaming his name to get his attention.
But, once the Alliance reach Eren, that raises another question about what will happen.

How Will the Alliance Deal With Eren?

Eren is practically a literal god at this point.
He not only has control of the Founding Titan, and thus all Titans, but he can also physically alter the bodies of all Subjects of Ymir, including the Alliance.
Therefore, I don’t think a fight would go in the Alliance’s favor.
Of course, this is not their plan, at least for now.
Right now, the Alliance’s plan, or at least the Scout part of the Alliance because I doubt Reiner and Pieck would stay true to this plan if it failed, is to talk to Eren in an effort to convince him to stop the Rumbling.
But, I also don’t think that Eren would just be willing to stop.
Like it or not, him and the Alliance are going to come to blows.
I’m not sure if Eren would try to kill any of them, considering that he is doing all of this to keep his friends safe, but we’re still not sure of everything that is going on inside his head.
In any case, if it does come to fighting, Chapter 132 gave the Alliance a small way of doing so, the bombs that the Jaegerists tried to use to blow up the plane.
Armin insisted that they take the bombs with them but is currently unsure if he wants to use them on Eren.
He may have no choice if he wants to save the world, though.
I can see the Alliance using these bombs to attack Eren’s nape in the hope of pulling him out of his gigantic Titan form.
However, given that he is in possession of the Warhammer Titan power, I can see Eren being located elsewhere in the Titan, making the Alliance’s job even harder.
Although, this my be where their trump card comes in.

Will Zeke Show up?

Zeke has been missing from the main story ever since Eren transformed in Chapter 122.
Since then, many have speculated about where he is.
One of the prevailing theories is that he is currently fused with Eren’s massive Titan and is being used to make sure Eren’s connection to royal blood, and thus the Founding Titan powers, stays in place.
Another part of this theory also states that his consciousness is in the Paths Dimension and he is now the one building the Alliance’s Titans in an effort to stop Eren.
However, if Zeke is the one who is keeping Eren’s hold on the Founding Titan power, then the Alliance’s best bet to stop Eren would be to remove Zeke or kill him.
This is where Levi could come in, bringing and end to the rivalry the two have had ever since the Return to Shiganshina Arc.
Another character that could play a role in Zeke’s downfall is Connie, whose fight with the Best Titan was possibly set up in the Uprising Arc, after he learned that Zeke had turned his entire family into Titans.
I can see Levi and Connie teaming up to take down Zeke, which could bring an end to both of their arcs.
Let’s just hope that, if this does happen, then their arcs don’t end with them dying, like Hange did last chapter.
Another option for Zeke’s story going forward though is that he could actually meet up with those in the Alliance who stayed behind and give them the motivation to go to the final battle.
Speaking of…

What Will Happen to Those Who Stayed Behind?

One thing that really concerned me about the story when I read Chapter 132 was that Annie, Gabi, Falco, Yelena, and Kiyomi, five characters who I consider to be far from having their character arcs completed, stayed behind while the rest of the Alliance went to stop Eren.
This disappointed me because I would like all the members of the Alliance to play some role in the finale, and get their chance to shine, and that can’t happen if they stay behind.
Annie still has her relationship with her father to be resolved, it felt like Gabi was being built up for something, Falco just got the Jaw Titan, Yelena’s obsession with Zeke needs to be concluded, and Kiyomi hasn’t done anything substantial except provide the plane.
I feel like these characters need to appear in the finale somehow and Zeke could play a role in that.
Maybe he knows something that those who went to stop Eren don’t and him telling the group that stayed behind this could encourage them to get back into the fight.
This could also be really interesting, considering Zeke’s connection with these characters.
Yelena is completely devoted to Zeke and Falco probably hates Zeke because he deliberately transformed Falco into a Titan, causing him to kill his own brother Colt.
This could lead to more compelling character interactions that we haven’t seen before.
Another viable option that could motivate those left behind to go after the rest of the Allince is the surviving Eldians from Liberio, including Annie’s father.
The last we saw of them, they were leading a revolt to escape the internment zone and flee from the Rumbling.
Maybe they escaped by boat and they will reach Kiyomi’s ship next chapter and Annie can finally reunite with her father.
These surviving Eldians could then convince them all to keep on fighting.
However, even if Annie, Gabi, Falco, Yelen and Kiyomi do decide to go help out the Alliance, how are they going to reach them in time?
I don’t think they could take the ship that far inland and, even if they could, there is now way they could catch up quickly enough.
They would need something that could fly, which leads me to the next theory.

Will Falco Fly?

I know, I know, this sounds extremely far fetched.
Granted, it’s not as far fetched as the theory I brought up in my last predictions post, that Eren could see using birds, but its still pretty out there.
Falco becoming a flying Titan has been speculated ever since Chapter 93, when Calvi asked the other Marleyan officers if they had any flying Titans.
As for Falco himself, he has been linked with birds right from his introduction.
The first time we see him he is deliriously telling a bird to fly away from the battle, his name is extremely similar to Falcon, and even his Titan looks like a bird, beak and all.
So, what if, somehow, Falco finds out that he can make his Titan fly and uses this to carry Annie, Gabi and the others to help the rest of the Alliance fight Eren?
I’ll admit that I always found the idea of Falco flying to be a little too contrived but, now that so many characters are out of the picture and we’re about to enter the final battle, I’d accept any way to get them back in the story, so long as it makes sense.
No matter what happens to these characters though, I hope Isayama can find a way to bring a satisfying end to their arcs, whether they are involved in the final battle or not.

Deca-Dence Review: Like Attack on Titan, if the Twist was Revealed Early.

4 stars
I really have to thank the YouTuber Mother’s Basement for informing us about this little gem.
His video on Deca-Dence really intrigued me, enough so to make me pause the video and watch all the episodes that were out until that point before going back to watch the rest of his review.
Good thing I did too because I stopped watching the video literally seconds before the big twist of Deca-Dence was revealed and it is definitely best for you to see that twist for yourself.
Directed by Yuzuru Tachikawa and developed by Studio Nut, the anime is set in a post-apocalyptic world where humanity has been hunted to the brink of extinction by the mysterious Gadoll.
Humanity’s only hope is the Deca-Dence, a massive robotic fist that can punch the lights out of these giant monsters.
Our heroine is Natsuame (Tomori Kusunoki), a young girl who lost her father and her arm years ago.
Upon being relegated to cleaning duty, Natsumae finds herself working alongside without a doubt the best character in the show Kaburagi (Katsuyuki Konishi).

Kaburagi is a fantastic character and his bond with Natsumae is the heart of the anime.

After an accident causes the two to fall into the midst of a battlefield, Natsumae sees Kaburagi’s skills with the weapons used by humans to kill minor Gadoll, which is most certainly nothing like the weaponry in Attack on Titan (note the sarcasm).
Natsumae then insists that Kaburagi teach her how to fight, unaware that he knows much more about their situation than he is letting on.
To say anything else would be too much of a spoiler, given the big twist in episode two.
However, I can guess from my description of this show that the first thing that came to your mind was Attack on Titan.
Not only did I purposefully point out how the weapons in this anime are similar to Attack on Titan’s ODM Gear, but I’m also sure that the whole humanity being driven to the brink of extinction thing and being forced to hide out sounded like a dead ringer too.
Indeed, the best way that I can describe Deca-Dence is like Attack on Titan if the world changing twist had happened in the second episode.
Still, despite these similarities, there are a lot of differences between the two animes and the features shared with Attack on Titan feels more like a way to draw the audience in before the show delves into the really interesting stuff.
By far the best aspect of Deca-Dence is the growing father daughter bond between Natsumae and Kaburagi.
This culminates in the fifth episode “Differential Gear”, which is definitely the best episode of the series.

The fifth episode takes the story to another level, ending on an amazing cliffhanger

Along with Natsumae and Kaburagi, there are other great characters like the adorable Pipe (Eri Kitamura), the intuitive Jill (Michio Murase), and the fighting addicted Donatello (Rikiya Koyama).
Although, I will say that, while the characters on Kaburagi’s side of the story are all interesting, for the most part, the characters on Natsumae’s side of the story are, unfortunately, pretty bland and not very interesting.
Another issue I have is with the epilogue in the final episode.
No spoilers here but I found it to be a little unsatisfying because I feel that it glossed over a lot of important details and potential character development for Natsumae’s friends, which, again, was sorely needed.

Even though Natsumae is a great character, her friends needed way more development and this ties into why I think the epilogue didn’t entirely work.

Despite these problems, the anime is still a lot of fun with great visuals, a fantastic score, and some laugh out loud moments, all with the fantastic bond between Natsumae and Kaburagi keeping it together.
Deca-Dence is a solid anime that feels like a complete story, without the need for a season two.

The Boys Season One Review: Makes Injustice: Gods Among Us Look Like a Puppy.

5 stars
Superheroes being, well, less than super has become a common trend nowadays, with characters like Superman being given evil renditions, most notably in the Injustice: Gods Among Us storyline.
Well, I finally watched the first season of The Boys and I can clearly say that it knocked any previous rendition of evil superheroes flat over.
Developed by Erik Kripke for Amazon, and based off the comics by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, The Boy follows Hughie (Jack Quaid), an average guy whose girlfriend is brutally killed in an accident by the superhero A-Train (Jessie T. Usher).

The opening of The Boys highlights that this will be darker than most superhero stories.

After being recruited by superhero hater Billy Butcher (Karl Urban), Hughie learns the dark truth about the world of superheroes and sets out with Butcher and his allies Frenchie (Tomer Capon), Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonzo) and the Female (Karen Fukuhara) to uncover a super conspiracy and take down the corrupt system. 
First of all, The Boys is an incredibly dark show with a lot of shocking moments.
These parts come not only from the lengths Hughie, Butcher and the rest of The Boys go to so they can have their revenge but also through the “heroes”, primarily Homelander (Antony Starr).
To say that Homelander is an evil version of Superman would be the understatement of the century.
Homelander makes the evil Superman from Injustice: Gods Among Us look like a puppy.
He is absolutely terrifying and his presence is all the evidence I need to say that giving anyone the kind of powers that he has would be a terrible idea.

Antony Starr does a fantastic job as the sociopathic superhero, Homelander.

However, not all the heroes are completely evil as many of them do have sympathetic sides, despite their horrific misdeeds.
The only hero who deserves the title, not having committed any wrongs, is Starlight (Erin Moriarty), whose depiction in the show is extremely reminiscent of the #MeToo movement based on what she goes through.
Thankfully, this is done in a respectful way that makes you cheer for her, and her emerging relationship with Hughie is genuinely sweet.

Starlight’s struggles culminate in a fantastic scene on a stage that will have you applauding her right alongside Hughie.

Although, my favourite character dynamic of the entire season would definitely have to go to the Female and Frenchie whose growing bond is great to watch.
Sadly, its not all sunshine and rainbows because, as I mentioned, the show can get extraordinarily brutal, with at least one jaw droppingly dark moment every episode.
This is best encapsulated by the season one finale, which has one of the most shocking cliffhangers that I have seen in a while and made me incredibly excited for season two.

I genuinely have no idea what’s going to happen in season two after the jaw dropping final moments of the finale.

All in all, The Boys is the best example of superheroes gone bad story out there, with fantastic characters and a nice blend of humor and horrifying moments.
This all comes together to make The Boys a true Spice Girls quality show… just watch it, you’ll get the reference.

Hannibal Review: Hope You Have a Strong Stomach.

5 stars
I had been told plenty of times over the years that Hannibal was a fantastic show but I never got around to watching it.
Well, after stumbling across it on Netflix I decided to give it a shot and what can I say other than, wow.
I was hooked on this show from start to finish and NBC made a huge mistake cancelling it.
The series is equal parts gripping and horrifying with plenty of disturbing imagery that suits the titular Hannibal the Cannibal like a human skin glove.
Speaking of, Mads Mikkelsen is absolutely incredible as Hannibal Lecter, even rivaling the Anthony Hopkins version, which is no small feat.

mads mikkelsen
Developed by Bryan Fuller, the show follows his sinister yet no less intriguing relationship with criminal profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy), whose unique way of sympathizing with murderers allows him to have an edge in catching them.
However, Hannibal’s interest in him leads to many disturbing events in Will’s life that may very well push him over the deep end by the show’s conclusion.
Dancy does an amazing job as Will and the chemistry he has with Mikkleson makes the friendship/romance(?) between him and Hannibal all the more investing and dark.
It’s not just these two though because every actor does a magnificent job from Laurence Fishburn, to Caroline Dhavernas, to Raul Esparaz.
The fact that you like many of these characters makes it all the worse when Hannibal, or some other killer gets a hold of them, like the terrifying Francis Dollarhyde (Richard Armitage), who has a fantastic score, by the way.

richard armitage
What makes it crueler is how disturbing this show can get with its gore.
Seriously, you need a strong stomach to watch this show, although you may get desensitized to the extreme violence by the end of it all.
Even if you cannot handle all of the gore though, it is all more than worth it because of the phenomenal television Hannibal delivers.
Everything just comes together, from the acting, to the cinematography, to the score, to make Hannibal one of the greatest television shows ever with some incredible seasons.
Season one is a slow descent into madness that introduces you to the show’s characters perfectly and makes you care about them before it’s gut wrenching ending.
Season two is definitely my favourite, delivering an intense thrill ride that culminates in one of the most shocking episode of television that I have ever seen, “Mizumono.”
That episode left me in stunned silence by the end.

mizumo
While season three is a little slow to begin with, by episode five it gets back to the original quality of the first two seasons and ends on a high note.
Overall, Hannibal is an amazing show that easily lives up the legacy of The Silence of the Lambs film and Thomas Harris’ novels.
Mads Mikkelson, especially, is a highlight.
It was a mistake for NBC to cancel it but I hope we get some more terrifying content in the future.

Attack on Titan Chapter 128 Predictions.

Chapter 127 of Attack on Titan was a massive step up from Chapter 126, making the alliance between the Scouts and the Warriors much more believable and tense.
Sure, it didn’t completely fix all of the problems but it was a step in the right direction that will hopefully be continued in Chapter 128.
Until it comes out though, all we can do is speculate about what will happen.
And so, let’s get into my predictions for Chapter 128, starting with the question,

How Will the Yeagerists be Defeated?

Chapter 127 ended with the Alliance discovering that the Yeagerists are now blocking their one way ticket to reaching Eren and stopping the Rumbling.
So, if they want to get to Eren, they will have to take them down first..
It is pretty obvious that the alliance is going to defeat the Yeagerists but the question is how?
Sure, with five Titan Shifters and two Ackermans on their side it may seem easy but there is Kiyomi and the plane to take into consideration.
Kiyomi may be the only person left who knows how to fly the plane that will be used to find Eren’s Founding Titan form and the Yeagerists have both her and the plane in their clutches.
Therefore, the alliance will have to make sure that they, or the Yeagerists, don’t get Kiyomi killed or the plane destroyed when they attack or their mission will fail.
Knowing this, I think the alliance may try some form of stealth to secure them before attacking.
This will most likely be through Magath, who is the only person that the Yeagerists would not recognize.
But, even if a stealth plan works, I believe the remaining Yeagerists are going to have to die if the alliance is to succeed.
The Yeagerists are being lead by Floch who will no doubt try to shoot them all on sight so they will not have any opportunity to talk the group down.
This is why we will probably get some Titan action next chapter, potentially seeing Falco’s Jaw Titan for the first time and, potentially, Annie’s Female Titan and Armin’s Colossal, which have not been seen for a while.
Not only this, but the alliance has another ace up their sleeve; one they don’t even know about.
What is this ace, you ask?
Keith Shadis.
I believe he was the man in the window in Chapter 126 and will lead the recruits who follow him to back up the alliance and defeat the Yeagerists.
I am unsure if Keith will die in this attempt but Floch most likely will, potentially at Jean’s hand.
In any case, once the Yeagerists are stopped, the alliance will hop on Kiyomi’s plane and go to the final battle with Eren.
The question is, what will be the cost of getting the plane?

Could Hange and/or Jean Die?

Chapter 127 gave both Hange and Jean some major death flags.
Hange talked about how her dead comrades were watching them and the last person to say this was Erwin who, well, died.
This does not bode well for Hange who could very well end up getting killed in an effort to retrieve the plane, or if she lives past that, in the final battle.
However, I am honestly more scared about Jean.
Although Hange said she could see her dead comrades, it was Jean who was looking at them, specifically Marco.
Not only this, but Chapter 127 began with Jean imagining staying out of the fight and going on to start a family, probably with Mikasa.
However, Jean’s conscience would not allow him to stay back and he left the dream behind.
If Jean imagining the life he could have once the fighting is over is not a death flag then I don’t know what is.
I have been anticipating a final fight between him and Floch for a while, and now that what looks to be Floch and the Yeagerists’ last stand is about to happen, we could see both of them going out.
Maybe the two end up killing each other, like many of the gods do in Ragnarok, the apocalypse of Norse Mythology, which Attack on Titan is heavily based off.
Fingers crossed that Jean and Hange don’t end up dying to save Kiyomi and the plane but Hajime Isayama has said he wants to hurt his readers so you never know.
Speaking of the mysterious Azumabito,

What Does Kiyomi Know?

With the exception of Eren and Historia, Kiyomi is the only character in this story (that we know of) whose true motives may yet be hidden.
Kiyomi’s intention has been previously shown to gain profit for her family and nation of Hizuru.
She also seems to want to protect Mikasa out of honor.
However, I cannot imagine that this is her sole motivation.
I think she has to have some other kind of role to the story other than being the one to provide the alliance with the plane.
If it was just this then Isayama would probably have killed her off by now.
But he hasn’t, which makes me think Kiyomi might have a role yet to play.
Just look at her meeting with Willy Tyber, before his death.
The two looked like they were sharing some kind of secret and it is this, and numerous other scenes, that make me think that, after the Yeagerists are defeated, we may get a flashback chapter to reveal what Kiyomi knows about the situation and what exactly her role in the story is.
However, Kiyomi is not the only character whose role in the story I want to know.

Where are Historia and Zeke?

Where is the queen and where is the beardy?
Zeke has been missing from the story ever since Eren initiated the Rumbling, and Historia has been gone for even longer.
At least we have some idea of where Historia is, on a farm with the father of her child (if the farmer is the father, which I doubt) but, unfortunately, this does not leave much space for her to return to the story until the end.
As for Zeke, I think that he has to have been absorbed into Eren’s Titan form.
It’s the only place he could be.
Sure, he could still be trapped in the Path Dimension with Ymir but that would not really provide the opportunity for Levi to keep his promise to Erwin; so I doubt he is there.
That leaves him being stuck with Eren.
He will probably reappear when the alliance goes to fight Eren and make one last ditch effort to initiate his Euthanasia Plan, resulting in a final fight between him and a mortally wounded Levi, making their final fight more fair.
The two could even end up being killed by each other, just like Jean and Floch could.
No matter what happens, I hope that Historia and Zeke will reappear in the story soon because they are among the story’s best characters.
The question is. will they have enough screen time with Attack on Titan set to conclude by the end of 2020?
Or is it?

Can the Manga Really End by 2020?

Hajime Isayama has stated his intention to end Attack on Titan this year but I find the chances of that less and less likely with each passing chapter.
Eren will almost certainly be the final battle of the story but the alliance has to defeat the Yeagerists before they can reach him.
Not only this but the last stand of the Yeagerists is not just something that can be covered in one chapter.
It would need to be two chapters, at least.
Honestly, with how Isayama structures his volumes, I can see the fight with the Yeagerists being the focus of this volume and it ending with the alliance boarding the plane to stop Eren.
If this is the case, then the next couple of volumes should focus on the final battle with Eren and Zeke, and the ending.
This would make the story around 138 chapters, meaning there will be 11 chapters left, and the manga will end in February of 2021.
Or maybe Isayama could find a way to end Attack on Titan earlier, perhaps?
Whenever he decides to end the story though, I hope he goes at his own pace so he can provide a fantastic ending to this fantastic series.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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 off 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.

Watchmen Episode Eight Review: A God Walks Into Abar… Oh, I Get It!

4 and a half stars
After Watchmen‘s biggest twist yet in Episode Seven, Episode Eight “A God Walks Into Abar” sets about explaining that twist, starting off with the great pun of a title.
This pun comes from the beginning of the episode when Dr Manhattan both walks into a bar and walks into Abar with the intention of starting a relationship with her, which he already knows will happen because of his ability to see the past, present and future simultaneously.
Nicole Kassel returns to direct “A God Walks Into Abar”, which is almost entirely from Dr Manhattan’s point of view across time.
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II does a fantastic job as the character, portraying a perfect mixture of uncaring and caring that creates that enigma that is Dr Manhattan.
Although, I will say the effects and makeup do make him look a little cheesy, which did draw me out of the scene on a few occasions.
These moments are relatively minor, though, and the scenes with Dr Manhattan’ first meeting with Angela are amazingly shot through how it avoids showing his face.
Mateen II and Regina King have great chemistry throughout the episode and it was very investing to watch Angela go from skeptical but interested in Dr Manhattan to in love with him as time passed.

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Angela and Dr Manhattan’s relationship is done very well with both actors doing a fantastic job.

Dr Manhattan’s love for Angela is also brilliantly portrayed through how he experiences time.
The moment he falls in love with her is when she tries to save him from the Seventh Kalvary many years after the get together.
However, because Dr Manhattan experiences time simultaneously, he was already in love with Angela when he met her because he knew of this moment.
Sadly, Dr Manhattan also seems to know of his imminent capture, which he allows to happen, either because he is a victim to time or because he has some other plan.
I guess we will just have to wait and see which one it is.
He did say that Angela had to remember he could walk on water so that has to be important.

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There are numerous theories about other characters obtaining Dr Manhattan’s powers like Angela and Will.

“A God Walks Into Abar” also goes about explaining many of the mysteries surrounding both Dr Manhattan and Ozymandias and Will.
We see how Angela chose Cal’s body for Dr Manhattan to impersonate, hence why he appears as he does, and Will learns of Crawford’s involvement with Cyclops and the Klan robe in his closet because of Dr Manhattan conveying a question to him from Angela in the present.
This creates a time loop that raises the interesting question of if Crawford was as bad as he seemed?
Will’s information about Crawford was not gained first hand and Crawford did later tell him he was trying to help.
Although, again, this did come with some racist undertones when he said it so maybe I am looking too deep into it.
As for Ozymandias, we finally got an answer to why he is on Europa and who created the clones that served and arrested him.
They were made by Dr Manhattan, who he based off a couple he met as a child that asked him to build something beautiful when he grew up.
And, when Dr Manhattan obtained a Tachyon device from Ozymandias that allowed him to live as Cal by losing his memories, he rewarded Ozymandias by sending him to Europa to be served by the clones.

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Ozymandias thinks he is entering his own personal heaven when he gets sent to Europa when, in reality, it is his hell

The reason the clones served Ozymandias to the point of death is because they were created to always put others before themselves, which is why Manhattan left and why Ozymandias now wants to.
Initially happy in this paradise, he grew bored of it all and now wants to return to his millions of children on earth like the delusional maniac he is.
However, because the clones’ one rule is that no one is allowed to leave, he is imprisoned.
This is when Ozymandias is confronted in a post credits scene by the Game Warden who reveals he was the first to be created by Dr Manhattan, essentially making him the Adam of Europa.
But this raises the question that if he is Adam then what happened to Eve?
Perhaps we will find out next episode?
In any case, the episode then ends with Ozymandias discovering a clone has mistakenly put a horse shoe in his cake, which allows him to initiate a plan to begin his escape back to earth.
Considering that next episode is the last one, I am not sure how this will happen.
In fact, I would say that I am slightly concerned about how all the different plot points like Ozymandias, Dr Manhattan’s capture, Trieu and Will’s plan, Laurie, Looking Glass, and of course Lube Man, are going to come together for the final episode.
Still, Watchmen has been fantastic so far so I have to put faith in that they can pull it off.
“A God Walks Into Abar” is another fantastic episode of the series and it will be interesting to see how it all ends in the finale.

Watchmen Episode 6 This Extraordinary Being Review: The Beginning of Justice.

5 stars
Every episode of Watchmen just gets better and better and the sixth episode, “This Extraordinary Being” is no exception, being the best episode of the series so far.
Directed by Stephen Williams, the story follows a young Will Reeves (Jovan Adepo) as Angela experiences many of his memories due to the large amount of Nostalgia drugs she consumed in “Little Fear of Lightning.”
It is though her experiencing her grandfather’s memories that the fan theory of Will being Hooded Justice, the very first superhero in the Watchmen universe, is confirmed.
I was on the fence about this theory before it was finally revealed.
Although, I knew that it would make sense for the story thematically and that Hooded Justice’s costume could be representative of a black man surviving a lynching, I was skeptical because it would make no sense for everyone to think Hooded Justice was white if he was Will.
Thankfully, this did not turn out to be a plot hole because Will is shown to be applying makeup to make himself appear to be white, knowing that if the white public knew he was black he would be labelled a criminal.

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Everyone believing Hooded Justice was white was the one thing that kept me from believing the theory that Will was him so I’m glad they explained it with the makeup. 

This racist ideology of the community is proven time and time again by Will’s experiences, leading up to him becoming Hooded Justice.
We are given a front row seat at how corrupt and racially charged the police force is.
However, the truth of the matter is even darker because many of the police are revealed to be part of a secret KKK society known as the Cyclops.
This is slowly revealed through a member of the group named Fred (Glen Fleshler), who was arrested by Will for burning down a Jewish shop, being released without charge.
It is Will’s arrest of Fred that leads to the Cyclops targeting him, with him nearly being lynched by the racist cops.
Stumbling home, he then comes across a couple being attacked and, driven by his trauma both old and new, dons the hood and hangman’s noose and charges in to help, becoming Hooded Justice.
While in most stories this would be the start of an inspirational story of Will triumphing over evil, this is not how it works in Watchmen‘s world.
With the exception of his wife, June (Danielle Deadwyler), who was the baby Will rescued after the Tulsa Massacre, he is very much alone in his fight.
Even his fellow heroes will not help, with Will’s lover, and leader of the Minute Men, Captain Metropolis (Jake McDorman) caring more about publicity than actually helping people.
As the years go by, the situation with Cyclops gets worse as no one listening to Will eventually leads to the organisation carrying out an attack by brainwashing a black audience watching a movie to riot.
Metropolis once again brushes Will off about the threat the group poses and this, combined with more racist taunts from Fred, causes Will to take matters into his own hands, killing Fred and many members of the group.
He even steals one of their brainwashing devices to fight back, only to find that he has alienated June and his son, with them going back to Tulsa because of his anger.
From here, the episode cuts to many years in the future to reveal that Will really was the one who killed Judd, using his brainwashing device to have him kill himself.
This is one of the most interesting scenes of the episode because it shows a lot about both characters.

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The scene between Will and Judd was probably my favourite of the episode.

For one thing, it raises a whole lot of questions about Judd and his involvement with the Kalvary, which appears to be descendant from Cyclops.
Judd tells Will he is trying to “help you people” but the “you people” part does seem to have some kind of racist implications.
Still, I think there may be more to Judd than him just being a completely evil Kalvary member.
As for Will, I love the moment when Judd asks who he is and Will replies “justice.”
In the years since we last saw him, Will has thrown away the hood, no longer hiding, and this line perfectly portrays that.
Now, as to what happened between the time Will killed the members of Cyclops and his killing of Crawford is a complete mystery.
There is a lot of years between these two points so it will be interesting to see how he became involved with Trieu.
Speaking of her, Angela wakes up in her care but how she got there is unclear right now as well.
From the promo for next episode, I can guess we will learn more about Angela’s past in Vietnam, which could also lead to us learning more about Will and Trieu.
Back to “This Extraordinary Being” I have got to say that the direction of the episode is incredible.
The representation of the trauma Will has with the constant colored in hallucinations of the Tulsa Massacre is very disturbing, especially when Will hallucinates that the car driven by Cyclops police members is dragging dead bodies.
Along with this, the passing of time is also portrayed brilliantly, as are the transitions between Will and Angela as she experiences his memories.
Probably the best example of this comes when the memory literally freezes in place as Laurie and Cal try to get Angela out of there but fail to do so.

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This moment when the memory freezes as Laurie and Cal try to pull Angela out of it is a great shot.

I was also pleasantly surprised to find just how many historical elements have been thrown into this episode, like the first black police officer of New York, Samuel J. Battle (Philly Plowden), who makes a brief appearance.
“This Extraordinary Being” is easily Watchmen‘s best episode so far.
The only issue I have with it is that it doesn’t really make sense for Will to be kidnapped by three Cyclops members so easily, only to be beating them to a pulp with relative ease not long after.
Other than this minor problem, though, “This Extraordinary Being” is a fantastic episode that manages to be dark, depressing, and full of many great character and historical moments, supported by the top notch direction.

His Dark Materials Episode Three, The Spies Review: Parental Twist Number Two.

3 and a half stars
The third episode of His Dark Materials “The Spies” is the weakest of the season so far.
Not to say that it is bad but there are just a few things holding it back from the quality of the first two episodes.
For starters, “The Idea of North” ended with the cliffhanger of Lyra and Pan being kidnapped by the Gobblers, only for them to immediately be rescued by the Gyptians at the beginning of “The Spies.”
It kind of made it seem like they had just made a contrived cliffhanger to get viewers to tune in next week, as opposed to doing it naturally by perhaps having the Gyptians finding Lyra after she escapes Mrs Coulter.

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The ending to episode two should have been the Gyptians rescuing Lyra not the Gobblers pointlessly kidnapping her.

Directed by Dawn Shadford, the rest of the episode is pretty good, detailing Lyra’s time with the Gyptians nicely.
In particular, I liked her growing bonds with Ma Costa (Anne-Marie Duff) and Farder Coram (James Cosmo).
It is from Ma Costa that we get the second parental twist in two episodes that Coulter is Lyra’s mother.
While expected, both because I have seen the movie, and by Coulter’s obvious dodging of the question about Lyra’s mother in the previous episode, I found the explanation of Lyra’s birth to be very interesting.
The backstory of Asriel and Coulter’s affair, leading to Coulter’s husband trying to kill Lyra which forced Asriel to kill him, adds complexity to both characters and their relationship with their daughter.
Not only does it again show how far Asriel is willing to go to protect Lyra, despite his coldness towards her, but it also explains both Coulter’s love and disdain for her.
She loves Lyra because she is her daughter but, on the other hand, she hates a part of her because Lyra’s birth led to the death of her husband and damaged her reputation.
This also shows how cruel the Magisterium is because Ma Costa explains that Coulter’s husband murdering Lyra would have been legal their eyes because of the dishonor to his wife.

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The reveal of Lyra’s mother leads to interesting character revelations about Asriel, Coulter and the Magisterium.

And so, the explanation about Lyra’s parentage and birth is the most interesting part of the episode, even if it is a bit obvious.
The second best scene is easily Tony (Daniel Frogson) and Benjamin (Simon Manyonda) breaking into Coulter’s apartment to find information about the kidnapped children.
Thankfully, Tony escapes but Benjamin is captured, leading to a great cut where Coulter mimics her daemon in her attack pattern on Benjamin.
Before she can get any information out of him, though, Benjamin sacrifices himself by intentionally falling down the elevator to his death.
It is through Lyra’s attempts to figure out what happened to him and Tony that we get the first usage of the alethiometer as she uses it to try and find them.
From this, it looks like the alethimoter will be different from the movie because it does not give the holder visions, like in the adaptation, rather it just points to an image.

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Lyra learns to use the alethimoter quicker than any expert and without books. I wonder if there is a reason she was able to do this or is just because she’s special? It will seem like a reach if she just randomly figured it out.

However, despite learning to use the compass-like object, Lyra is not completely on top of things because Coulter sends soldiers to find her.
It is here that my other problem with the episode comes in because it is a bit ridiculous that the highly trained soldiers with dogs cannot find Lyra or the Gobbler the Gyptians kidnapped.
While this and a few other moments are distracting, the rest of “The Spies” is solid with Boreal continuing his search for Gruman and learning he was from our world rather than his, raising some interesting questions.
Coulter also knows who Lyra is with at the end of the episode because of her spy beetles, which adds more danger for our lead characters.
Overall, “The Spies” is a good episode of His Dark Materials which, while not quite as good as “Lyra’s Jordan” and “The Idea of North,” is still very enjoyable with a lot of character building moments.

Zombieland: Double Tap Review. Admittedly Fun But Unecessary.

3 stars
When I first heard there was a sequel to 2009’s Zombieland coming out, I had quite a few reservations.
The first film came out ten years ago and, although it is a very enjoyable film, I thought it was very unnecessary to make a sequel now.
A few years after the first film came out, sure, but ten years later?
So, I admit I went in with a lot of skepticism.
Still, I enjoyed myself.
Zombieland: Double Tap is a fun film with a lot of great gags and zombie action.
Returning director Ruben Fleischer did a good job helming this film, which again follows the characters of Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Wichita (Emma Stone), and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) on their bloody adventures in Zombieland.
All four of the actors do a great job portraying the characters they played ten years ago, although Breslin sadly does not have enough screen time to stand out.
That aside, the team’s banter is great and it leads to a lot of exciting action sequences, my favourite of which is a long take fight sequence following the arrival of two characters that are hilariously similar to Columbus and Tallahassee.

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The introduction of Albuquerque (Luke Wilson) and Flagstaff (Thomas Middleditch)  leads to the best action scene of the film.

There are plenty of creative moments in the film as well, including one at the start that actually made me jump in surprise.
Then there is the surprise cameo when the credits start to roll, which is also highly enjoyable.
So, if you are looking for a good time at the movies then Zombieland: Double Tap will definitely provide that.
However, the film does still have quite a lot of issues.
One of those is the lack of agency in much of the plot.
The film basically follows Columbus, Tallahassee and Wichita on a mission to save Little Rock but, honestly, I felt very little suspence in this mission for whatever reason.
On top of this, while many of the jokes do land a lot of them don’t as well.
This is mainly due to the new faces in the film, primarily Madison (Zoe Deutch) and Berkeley (Avan Jogia), who are both incredibly annoying and not at all funny.

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Madison’s dumb blond, stereotype of a character provided no laughs whatsoever for me.

There is also a supreme lack of stakes.
I remember being concerned for the characters in the third act of the first film but here I felt much of the tension in that final act to be artificial and, thus, not investing.
So, in conclusion, while Zombieland: Double Tap does provide a fun experience, it has quite a few problems that make the sequel feel unnecessary.