Top 10 Studio Ghibli Movies (Updated)

thumbnail_IMG_20190604_113740_084Lately I’ve been in a very Ghibli mood, a mood that consists of wanting to be awed by wonder, enchantment and cuteness and a hunger that can only be satisfied by watching Studio Ghibli films.  Back in the early days of this blog I made a post listing my top 10 favourite Ghibli films (click here to see that post). After re-watching most of my old favourites and a few Ghibli films I’d never seen before, my opinion on these movies have changed quite a lot. Don’t worry I still love Ghibli films very much and they still hold a big place in my heart (I wouldn’t be in a Ghibli mood otherwise). It’s just that over time and after a huge Ghibli binge-watch (best binge-watch ever), my preference has shifted and my top ten favourites is now very different from the first post I made.

So, for that reason its about time I updated this list and brought to you an updated version of

My Top 10 Favourite Studio Ghibli Films:

Honourable Mention- Pom Poko (↓4)
A lot of people seem not to like this film, personally I found the raccoons antics in this movie really funny. It can be a little crude at times, but looking pass that it’s quite a good film with a positive eco-friendly message to look after the environment and not destroy natural habitats. (Which is a bit of a running theme in Ghibli films)

thumbnail_640EA4E8-C292-49B0-8718-B16564FB153710: My Neighbour Totoro (NE= New Entry)
This is kind of a funny sort of a film. It’s very nice to watch but it doesn’t really have much of a storyline, it’s more like a series of happenings. I’ll try explaining the plot to show you what I mean, two little girls move to the countryside with their father. The house they move into turns out to be haunted by very cute harmless spirits. You learn the girls’ mother is in hospital with TB and can’t come home which upsets the girls. Their father has to work a lot, so the girls are pretty much left to run wild in the garden and surrounding area. Which leads to them meeting a giant cute bunny-bear like spirit called Totoro. The children hang out and play with Totoro, then the youngest one goes missing. Everyone panics and thinks she’s either gone by herself to visit her mother or drowned in a pond. Then the oldest girl gets on a cat bus and finds her younger sister and the movie then ends with them both eating corn in a tree.
As you can see it’s a bit of a strange film with a very loose plot, which has led to a lot of theories being made about what actually is happening in this film. From suggesting its references toward a real-life disappearance of a school girl, to people theorising that the girls actually die at the end of the film and that’s why they’re sitting in a tree (because apparently spirit rest in trees at night). However, it’s incredibly cute and sweet, which is what makes the film so enjoyable (you could quite possibly get tooth ache from watching it).

9: The Tale of Princess Kaguya (NE)
The animation style of this film so very different from other Ghibli films, it looks more like a hand painted moving talking watercolour, than the typical Ghibli art style. It’s subtle colour scheme and intriguing storyline makes it very relaxing and beautiful to watch. It does have a lot of religious and mythological references, which some mightn’t like. But if you’re interested in mythology and don’t mind the odd religious reference, its quite a nice watch. Like most Ghibli films it also has a positive message, which is to not chase after others idea of happiness or force your idea of happiness upon others (including your children and other family members). Basically, the film’s message is about achieving true happiness.

8: The Secret World of Arrietty (↑1)
This film has moved up one place in this list mainly because of its breathtakingly beautiful scenes and animation. In the last list, I think I underappreciated how amazing and stunning the animation was (probably because now I know the level of work that goes into creating scenes like those in the film). Story wise I prefer this version of the borrowers over the 1997 borrowers films. It’s very heart-warming and lovely to watch and puts a nice wee spin on the concept of borrowers.

7: Castle in The Sky (↑3)
Castle in The Sky has moved up quite a bit in this list. In the last list I forgot about the sense of wonder this film creates and about the sky pirates. Ghibli sky pirates are a rather likable odd bunch. At first, they seem like bad news but as the film goes on, they become goofier and seem more like a big bunch of softies. Especially, Dola who is a great character and is like a kooky, really cool grandmother that takes no guff and is tough as nails but is still kind at heart. The sky pirates all add a little bit of comedy and relatability to what is already a sweet and mysterious film with beautiful animation.

6: Kiki’s Delivery Service (↑2)
I re-watched Kiki’s Delivery Service with my nephew and he was outrage at behaviour in this film, which made me realise how bananas this film actually is. My nephew was completely horrified that parents would let a 13-year-old go off by themselves and in complete shock at Kiki breaking the stranger danger rule over and over again and getting in a car with a stranger. You would have sworn he was watching a horror movie instead of a Ghibli film. His overreaction and ranting towards this film made watching it so much funnier. But in saying that he does have a point, this film is sort of messed up and the more you think about Kiki does put herself in quite a few situations that would be incredibly dangerous in the real world (even for an adult). Anyway, seeing Kiki’s Very Dangerous Delivery Service from a new point of view, made me appreciate how surreal the Ghibli universe actually is (there is so many Ghibli films where children wander of by themselves and do really dangerous things and everyone acts spookily happy about it), which is why it was given a higher place on this list. (Funniest thing is my nephew says he liked this film, but like Ponyo better. He really loves Ponyo)

thumbnail_90DDF0C2-ADBB-47CC-B77D-4C830420E57E5: Ponyo (↓1)
Ponyo is a very cute and magical Ghibli film that really has the awe factor. With its beautiful use of colour and breath-taking animation, it’s really enjoyable and hypnotic just to look at. Story wise, its incredibly sweet and just plain adorable. It’s the kind of film that would warm even the coldest of hearts. No matter how many times I see this movie I never get sick of it. The only reason it fell a spot on this list, was to make room for a film I’ve only seen for the first time recently.

4: When Marnie was There (NE)
The best way to describe this film is a mysterious ghost story that shows the beauty of friendship. There is just so much twist and turns in this film and it’s just so mysterious. It will constantly keep you guessing and glued to the screen. At one point I didn’t have a baldy (a clue) what was happening and found myself completely enthralled in the film, very eagerly wanting to know what the fudge was happening. The ending of this film is very bitter sweet, it’s lovely and warms the cockles of the heart but is also really sad and might even make you shed a tear. It has a little more of a mature feel to it than other Ghibli films, but all around it’s an amazing film and one definitely worth watching. I regret not watching it sooner.

3: Spirited Away (↓1)
Spirited Away is a film that most anime and Ghibli fans will have seen at least once in their life. It holds a special place in a lot of people’s hearts and it’s not hard to see why. It’s so magical and cute and very different from anything you’ve probably ever seen. For me its where my love of anime and Ghibli began. As a child I was so innocent and naïve that I didn’t even know anime was a thing. Weird thing is I had watched quite a lot of anime before this film (Pokémon, Digimon, Beyblade, Yu-Gi-Oh! and even Princess Mononoke), but never caught on that they were anime. To me they were just cartoons the same as all the others I loved to watch. It wasn’t until my Dad put a film on the TV (which was Spirited Away) and the announcer called it an Anime film from Japan, that I know there was such thing as anime. I was so taken by Spirited Away, that I wanted to know more about what anime was and from there my love of anime blossomed. Which is why it’s in the top 3.

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I love Turnip-head so much, that I redrew him.

2: Howl’s Moving Castle (↑1)
Glob I love the sassy old lady power in this movie. Howl’s Moving Castle is one of those Ghibli films that really deliver on that magical mysterious feel. Its story contains so much mystery that on the first watch, it’ll constantly have you guessing about so many things like Howl, the castle, the fire demon Calcifer, turnip head and what on earth is going on in this film. This mixed with its magical creatures and enchanted objects and devices, gives a real feel of awe and wonder. On top of this, it tells a heart-warming love story that teaches there is more to being loved than a pretty face. Its animation is absolutely beautiful and has so many cool little details which is why it’s my favourite film animation wise. All round Howl’s Moving Castle is a wonderful Ghibli film.

1: Princess Mononoke
Although everything else in this list has changed, my no. 1 favourite Ghibli film has stayed the same. It was the first Ghibli film I had ever seen (even though I didn’t know it was at the time), so it’s kind of special to me. But I think that’s the same with everyone’s first Ghibli film. Your first Ghibli film is usually the one that makes you fall in love with Ghibli and opens the door to the wonderful world of Ghibli. So, it’s not hard to see why most people’s first Ghibli film is their favourite.
First time I watched Princess Mononoke, I was completely dumbfounded, in a state of pure astonishment and amazement. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. I instantly fell in love with its beautiful animation style and was really taking by it. I remember the first time watching this film, trying to slowly edge closer and closer to the TV, to really take in its beautiful scenery. Then having sofa cushions flung at me by my siblings and having the snot beat out of me with one for blocking their view. Though I didn’t fully understand the films plot or symbolism as a child, I still loved it and enjoyed every minute of it. As an adult, I continue to love this film and have re-watched it so many times. It’s just so amazing and unique, it really is a great Ghibli film.

Hope you enjoyed this Ghibli top 10 update. The first time I posted a Ghibli top 10, I made a top 10 Non-Ghibli anime film list, to link in with that post. I haven’t decided yet whether to update that list too, but if people are interested in seeing that update, I’ll update it too.

As always Thanks for reading and if you have a favourite Ghibli film, don’t be afraid to tell me about it in the comments below. I’d love to hear about it.

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Bird Box

I’m a little late of the mark with this post, but Bird Box is a film I’ve wanted to talk about for a while. But before we get further into this post, there’ll probably (most likely) be SPOILERS in this post, so if you haven’t seen it yet and don’t want it spoiled, you might want to stop reading.

Back to the movie, all in all the film itself was okay. It isn’t the greatest film I’ve ever seen but it’s watchable and has an interesting concept. However, when rating apocalypse type films I like to consider how difficult it would be to survive them. Sadly, for Bird Box it would be very easy for a particular large group of people to survive and I don’t mean the mentally ill people in the movie or the fully blind. But before I explain, let’s have a quick summary of Bird Box’s concept for those who are unfamiliar with the movie.

thumbnail_20917FB7-E651-4538-BE7D-E9D29AFF3F15Essentially in the film there is a monster on the loose that causes people to kill themselves if they look at it. This leads to people wearing blindfolds to avoid catching sight of the monster. However, the monster has a different effect on the mentally unwell and they see it as the most beautiful thing they’ve ever set eyes on. Which in turn, causes them to have an overwhelming desire to run around pulling off blindfolds and trying to force people to look at the monster (causing the victim to die from doing so). It’s a pretty interesting concept, but when you give it a bit more thought it sort of falls in on itself. Considering you have to see the monster for it to have an effect, there is another rather large group of people (other than the completely blind), that could easily survive Bird Box, which quite a few of you and myself belong too.

So, what is this incredible superpower that protects from the monster? Well, its probably wouldn’t be considered a superpower in a normal situation, but in the Bird Box world it pretty much is. Anyway, this superpower is poor eyesight. By this I don’t mean complete blindness, I mean eyesight just poor enough that you can’t navigate this world without wearing your glasses. Let me explain more.

Something I’ve never really mentioned on this blog is that without glasses I have dirt poor eyesight (everything’s a blurry mess of fuzzy shapes and colours and without glasses I can’t even identify family members. I also tend not to draw myself wearing glasses. Not because of vanity, it’s because I’ve had to wear glasses all the time since 8years old and forget I’m wearing them). From doing quite the remarkable Mr. Magoo impression while not wearing glasses, I’ve discovered a monster sized loophole in Bird Box’s plot that would mean a rather large percent of mankind could survive the Bird Box apocalypse.

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It probably seems obvious at this point, how a poor sighted person could survive Bird Box, but just for fun I’ll go into detail. Basically, all they’d have to do to survive is remove their glasses (yeah, it’s really as simple as that). If you can’t even make out objects 2 feet in front of your face, it’d be impossible to see a monster standing on the other side of the street or sitting up in a tree. Let’s just face it, with dirt poor eyesight the monster could probably walk up and headbutt you and you still wouldn’t be able to see it. So, you’d be very much immune to the monster’s powers (you still wouldn’t be immune to walking into a lamp post or tripping over a cat, though).

But wait what about those crazed monster worshiper people, you ask? What if they attack you, forcibly put back on your glasses and force you to look at the monster?  Well, here’s the hard part. After you remove your glasses, you’re going to have to break them into tiny pieces, including the lenses, then have a cry over how expensive those glasses were.

thumbnail_20917FB7-E651-4538-BE7D-E9D29AFF3F15After that you’d be pretty safe from the monster worshipers too, because even if the monster worshipers forcibly took you to the pharmacy to get a pair of those over the counter glasses, those glasses won’t make a button of difference. They’re more like a reading glasses than seeing glasses, so you’ll still be able to see bug all. It’s also highly unlikely that there’d be an optician amongst the monster worshipers to provide you with proper glasses, so you’d still be immune to the monster.

thumbnail_FF1830A8-FC1F-4DF0-B002-B4E5321DA78AI know the monster worshipers are still quite dangerous, they’re heavily armed in the film and could attack you for not loving the monster. So, for an added safety precaution you might want to put your acting skills to the test and pretend to be one of them, if you bump into monster worshipers in the Bird Box apocalypse (to be honest, they all seem pretty high on monster so it probably wouldn’t be that difficult to fool them. Just compliment the monster or comment on how beautiful it is and they wouldn’t notice your not one of them).

thumbnail_FF1830A8-FC1F-4DF0-B002-B4E5321DA78AOverall, I wasn’t very taken by Bird Box and think it was slightly over hyped. Right enough, a monster that causes death by just looking at it, is scary and could be seen as fantastic symbolism. But with a sieve-like plot, it loses its impact. The more you think about this film the more plot holes you find. For example, it didn’t matter if the babies seen the monster because they don’t have the ability or understanding to hurt themselves. Also, being in a situation where a deadly monster seems to be always present just waiting for its chance to strike you dead, would in itself be enough to drive a person to madness, therefore the monster would lose its deadly effect. Considering all this I would only recommend watching Bird Box if you’re curious/interested about its concept. Just don’t expect too much from it.

Rating: 2.5/5

Hope you enjoyed this post, it might seem a bit of a strange way to review this film, but I thought it’d be nice to shake things up and add a bit of fun to the post.

As always thanks for reading!

The Wailing

00ba897d-bbf6-4493-be80-b0b3a78f181cThis week something terribly unfortunate happened. I was in the middle of creating some digital art for this post, when suddenly the app crashed and stopped working. After a few panic-stricken minutes, I finally got the app to open again to be met by the horror that the app had wiped itself clean and deleted everything, including the piece I was working on (literally could have cried). Over 200 digital drawings gone and all the brush settings reset. The only thing to remember them by is thumbnails saved on my computer and the saddest thing is there where pieces I hadn’t completed yet. They’re just thumbnails now that can never be finished or opened on the app as a digital drawing again. They will forever be incomplete. So, what has this got to do with this review? Well, it mostly affects the art work for the review, because now all the brushes have reset back to their default settings, which makes them kind of awkward to use. I will eventually get the brush settings back to the way I like them, but that’s going to involve a lot of trial and error. In the meantime, I hope you still enjoy my more resourceful approach to digital art.

Getting back to the film, The Wailing is a South Korean horror movie about a police officer (Jong-goo) who is investigating a series of strange violent attacks and murders, that all involve the offender falling ill with a mysterious sickness before committing the crime. Soon into the investigation Jong-goo hears rumours of witchcraft and a terrifying naked man attacking people in the woods and eating raw flesh. Things rapidly go downhill for Jong-goo when his young daughter contracts the mysterious illness and doctors tell him they can do nothing. This leads to Jong-goo enlisting the help of a shaman and things take a bit of a demonic turn. Will the shaman be able to cure Jong-goo’s daughter or will it all end in tragedy?

The Wailing completely took me by surprise, I really wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was. I went into this movie expecting it to be just another demon horror movie. The sort of film where a demon shows up and torments a family then possesses someone. Everyone freaks out and they call for the Padre or a paranormal fighting duo to come exercise the demon. You know, the type that are filled with jump scares and clichés and sends your heart racing. Luckily, The Wailing has a little more to it than that and is not your run of the mill demon themed horror movie.

You may be thinking now, what does this film have that all other demon movies don’t have? The answer to that question is suspense, breath-taking scenery and a rather unique storyline with one hell of a plot twist. The Wailing is a bit of a slow starter, but when it gets going glob does it suck you in. Between wanting to see if Jong-goo solves the mystery and finds the true cause of the sickness and sitting in suspense, waiting to find out if the daughter survives, this film gets you totally invested in the plot. The amazing scenes of greenery and countryside on top of that, just really holds your attention, keeping you glued to the screen.

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 My face after losing all those drawings. It also aged about 20 years in that moment.  

The brilliant twist and mind screw at the end, truly puts the cherry on the cake. I for one certainly didn’t see it coming and while viewing the last part of the film, I was in a state of confusion, wonder and awe watching the tale spin and mystery unravel. At one point, I was completely baffled over who was actually the evil one and really couldn’t tell. Both possibilities seemed equally as untrustworthy and both were creepy as fudge, with a presence that screamed evil.

Which takes me to my next point, like all good horror films The Wailing was incredibly creepy and really leaves a lasting impression on you. Meaning it could quite possibly keep you up at night, checking and rechecking that all the windows and doors of locked and secured. There’s just something about a naked demonic feral person, running around, eating raw deer and attacking people, that’s pretty terrifying. Not to mention, the horror of being attacked by a possessed extremely violent 9-year-old (you can’t punch a child, so not sure how you’d defend yourself against that one). Making this film pretty scary to watch at times.

The Wailing isn’t without its flaws, the biggest flaw being the excessive use of foul language (in the subbed version at least). This may seem like an overreaction to a bit of swearing, but it really isn’t the case. Truth be told I usually wouldn’t care about swearing or even notice there was swearing. However, this film goes a little too far with the strong language, like even the kid was swearing obscenely. It seemed as if they couldn’t even make it through a sentence without swearing, which really killed the atmosphere of certain scenes. Maybe in the subbed version someone got a little carried away when creating the subtitles and the actual version it isn’t as bad. But glob that amount of swearing really wasn’t necessary.

There are also a few strange bible references throughout this film, which may put off some viewers. But considering the ending of this film, those references are more like well hidden clues to how the film was going to end and who was actually the evil one. So, you can’t really cringe too hard at them. However, you could probably cringe rather hard at the acting from some of the minor characters. Their overacting is quite comical at times, but mostly it’ll have you holding your head in your hand and shaking your head in distaste. In saying that, the acting of those in the main roles more than makes up for this.

Overall, The Wailing is quite a good horror movie. It does have its shortcomings, but in whole it’s an interesting and very exciting watch. With its plot twists and interesting concept of how demonic possession works, The Wailing will really grab your attention. If you fancy a change from your typical demon horror movie like The Conjuring or The Exorcist and don’t mind reading subtitles, I would recommend giving this film a try. It quite the creepy watch and will please the lovers of horror.

Rating: 3.5/5

Valley of White Birds

44e9925a-3968-44d2-8400-8afa01465f0cTime to get back to my roots and get stuck into a review. Truth be told, I haven’t done a review in quite a while (well, other than Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, but it’s awesome and incredibly easy to talk about). Like what happens to many bloggers from time to time, I kind of burnt out review wise and started focusing more on my art work. Which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, I feel like I’ve made some progress in bettering my art skills. Anyway, back to the task at hand, I thought I’d ease myself back into the swing of things, by reviewing a very beautiful short film called Valley of White Birds, from Wolf Smoke Studio.

Being just over 15mins long, Valley of White Birds begins with a young man walking through a forest alongside a stream. He is then joint by an old man and they both walk together along the forest path, as white paper-like birds fly around them. They soon reach a village, where suddenly the young man takes an awful disliking to the white paper birds and goes on a mad paper bird killing spree, turning a large number of the birds into Autumn coloured leaves. These actions must displease the forest spirits, because soon after the boss white bird shows up and appears to taunt the young man. The young man attempts to stealthily attack the boss bird but is distracted, by what was most likely a vision of his younger self. The vision quickly vanishes and the young man chases after the boss bird, whilst using his magic bean-shaped pebbles to tries to kill it. The boss bird leads the young man to a shrine, where the young man engages in a boss battle.

As you may have guessed from that description, this short film has no dialogue. In my opinion this doesn’t take away from the film and to be honest, the young man was fighting with a bird. Having him scream things at the bird, would have just been weird and destroyed the peaceful and intriguing feel the film creates. Story wise this film is pretty easy to follow and the creators have done an excellent job of leading you through the tale, with visuals alone.

125fe3f1-8ce1-4182-80cd-518c6f024bb5In saying that however, trying to understand this film on a deeper level (what it means and is about) is another story. I can only guess that it might be based on an old folk tale or book or that the whole thing reflects the young man’s fear of getting old (based on black birds covering the boy, turning him into the old man, then turning him back to a boy when the shrine was destroyed) or his loss of innocence (base on the boy innocently following the boss bird and seemly worshiping it. Then things turning sour, when the boy gets to the shrine. Also, the young man seems more angered and untrusting of the boss bird, than the boy. As if he’s more aware of the boss bird’s intentions). It could also be a play on the stages of life (the bird representing life and each version of the young man representing the common mind sets at each stage in life) or a play on the balance between yin and yang (black and white were used a lot and very symbolically). It’s very hard to pin down exactly what this film is about and these are only examples of conclusions I could come to while watching Valley of White Birds.

One very notable aspect of Valley of White Birds, is how beautiful and visually stimulating it is. The backgrounds are just stunning, you can tell a lot of time and love went into making this film. Without getting all artsy, I’m aware of the techniques you’d need to use, to achieve the backgrounds on actual paper. But the fact this film was probably done digitally, has me completely flabbergasted and makes me love it even more. The amount of work it must have taken to achieve that look, would have been crazy. You can really tell the creators were giving it their all while making this film. Even just on face value the animation and backgrounds, completely suck you in and sets the tone very well. The colour palette and use of shape, is incredibly pleasing to the eye and bring the film to a whole other level. It’s just one hell of a beautiful short film.

Overall, Valley of White Birds may be a little difficult to work out but is definitely worth watching, if only for its beauty alone. It an incredibly cute and stunning film, that will draw you and capture your attention, for the full 15mins. I would highly recommend checking Valley of White Birds out for yourself and seeing what you can conclude from this film.

Rating: 4/5

If you’re interested in watching Valley of White Birds, I’ve left a link to the film here
and a link to Wolf Smoke Studio’s YouTube channel here.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

d91c2f21-3199-4c68-b757-60635b94777eVampires have always been something I liked from the horror genre. There’s just something about a monster that’s incredibly charming and looks human but can potentially suck you dry of your blood in an instant, that’s makes my skin crawl. So, for this review I thought I’d go back to the classics and share with you me thoughts on a movie about the Daddy of vampires himself, Count Dracula.

As you’ve probably guessed this film is closely based on the Bram Stoker novel Dracula. If you’re not familiar with the story, don’t worry I’ll fill you in. A young lawyer Jonathan leaves his fiancée Mina in London, to travels to Dracula’s castle to do a spot of business with the Count himself. When Jonathan arrives at the castle, Count Dracula tricks him into staying. However, Jonathan soon realises he’s being held against his will, when he tries to leave. Dracula then decides to travel to London, leaving poor Jonathan to be fed on by his lady vampires.

Once at London, the Count starts feeding on Mina’s friend Lucy, all while trying to win Mina favour. Eventually Jonathan escapes from Dracula’s castle and the vampire ladies and makes it back to London. However unfortunately, Lucy dies and becomes a vampire. Now faced with numerous vampires, a man known as Van Helsing steps in to lead the hunt for Dracula and his band of lady vampires.

Yeah, there’s a lot that goes on in Dracula, but is the film any good? All I can say is, it won’t be for anyone. Like the book it can be a little heavy and strange at times, which may put off some viewers. But if you love the book, I could see you thoroughly enjoying this film. It very closely follows the book, only leaving out a few details and even tries to maintain the letter/journal feel of the book. The only thing is, I don’t remember the book containing as much toplessness as this film. But I guess it depends on your own opinion, whether that’s a good or a bad thing.

6aaef467-e576-48a0-bfa4-8f36fb1e8c27The portrayal of Dracula himself is pretty good in this film. He starts off looking creepy as hell, sporting the famous Butt shaped hairdo, and gives of some real psychotic vibes. He then transitions into an extremely charming and attractive man, but still gives off a bit of a creepy vibe and by the end of the movie, he loses his charm and become a super gross batman creature. That’s pretty true to the book. However, unlike the book, the film doesn’t explain why Dracula’s appearance changes, very well and pretty much takes for granted that the viewer would know the reason for this. On a more positive note, the Film’s Dracula was a lot less ranty than the book’s and doesn’t go off on a tangent as much.

I must admit that the special effects in this film are a bit dated. However, they still look kind of cool, especially the play with Dracula’s shadows. The pacing also seems a little strange, feeling slow and heavy at times and kind of rushed at other times. But considering how long the book is, you can forgive the pacing.

Overall, Bram Stoker’s Dracula is an okay film. It does have its problems, but as book adaptations go, it’s pretty good. Sticking very close to the source material and leaving out only a few details (most likely for time-saving purposes). The film may now seem a little dated now, but if you’re a lover of the book or Dracula himself, you will most likely enjoy this film. Leaving me to recommend it, to anyone mad about vampires.

Rating: 3/5

The Jungle Book (2016)

thumbnail_f256818e-292d-4bc9-9033-81e02c0306bbAs Disney films go, The Jungle Book has always been one of my favourites. Out of all the Disney movies I watched as a child (which was a lot. I was a 90’s kid), The Jungle Book had the best soundtrack (followed closely by Mulan) and would really get you up and singing along. It’s pretty hard to believe that anyone could resist singing along to The Bare Necessities.

Watching the live-action version of a childhood favourite has put me in very sentimental mood. So, I thought since I’m sitting here reminiscing about the days of The Rugrats and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I might as well make this movie, this week’s review.

The storyline to the live-action film, is pretty similar to The Jungle Book (1967), I watched as a child. A baby boy (Mowgli) is left alone in the jungle and is raised by wolves. An old bigoted tiger (Shere Khan) shows up one day, notices Mowgli the man-cub and decides he doesn’t want any man-cubs in his jungle. So, demands the man-cub be given to him, so that he can kill him (Glob, that’s actually rather dark and twisted). Mowgli doesn’t want to endanger his wolf family, so sets out to return to the man village, escorted by his panther friend Bagheera. However, things do not go to plan and Mowgli ends up going on an exciting adventure through the jungle, meeting a range of eccentric animals on his journey.

thumbnail_3b0b1417-ea85-4d73-8fcc-d9fe415a14faThis film is very CGI, with only one non-CGI character (Mowgli). The rest of the characters are CGI animals, which in my opinion were done very well. Granted you could tell they were computerised, but they still looked really good and moved like the real animals (not like some films, were the animals move like robots). CGI King Louie, even managed to thoroughly creep me out and will forever haunt my dreams. He was like a terrifying ginger King Kong, that disturbingly wanted people’s red flower.

To be honest, I was surprised by how good this live-action Jungle Book was. It managed to capture the fun of the cartoon 1967 version, without making any of the characters seem too over the top. They even had a few of those great songs from the cartoon version, which was a very nice touch to the film. The Jungle Book without “The Bare Necessities” and “I wan’na be like you”, just wouldn’t have been the same and just wouldn’t have been as enjoyable.

thumbnail_9eb92bf9-5fff-4110-91af-10eb8367882cHowever, one thing I do have to say about this film is, it’s a hell of a lot darker than the 1967 version and has more action scenes. Although, in my opinion this just sets it apart from the other versions of The Jungle Book. The only other small negative, is that Neel Sethi (Mowgli), acting isn’t that great at times. But considering how young he is and the fact all the other characters are CGI, I think this can be over looked.

Overall, the live-action Jungle Book (2016) is a rather enjoyable film. It has the fun of the 1967 version, while still managing to set itself apart from that version. Granted it was a bit dark and creepy, at times and that King Louie would look at home in any horror movie. However, the film as a whole is good enough over look this, if you dislike the dark and creepy. Personally, I still prefer Disney’s 1967 version of The Jungle Book, but I would say that this live-action version is worth watching, especially it you’re a fan of The Jungle Book.

Rating: 4/5

10 Cloverfield Lane

thumbnail_99cd16f9-f5c4-4073-b3ce-0afa27a427a1Have you ever read a movie description and thought the movie seems really good, just to be left sadly disappointed after watching it? That feeling of disappointment, would pretty much sums up this film. 10 Cloverfield Lane sounds so promising, but it just doesn’t deliver. But hey at least, it gave me an excuse to draw an underground bunker (it was so much fun), so with that in mind. On with the review.

In 10 Cloverfield Lane, a woman (Michelle) awakes after having a car accident and finds herself locked in basement-like room, chained to a pipe by the kneecap. Her captor (Howard), claims he found her unconscious in her car, on the side of the road and saved her from a chemical attack, that killed nearly all life on earth.

After claiming to be Michelle’s saviour, Howard frees Michelle from her chains but won’t let her leave his underground bunker, saying the air outside is contaminated and would kill her instantly. Now trapped underground, Michelle slowly realises there is something very wrong with Howard and ends up being sucked into a deadly game of house. Is Howard telling the true about the chemical attack and will Michelle make it out alive?

To be honest, 10 Cloverfield Lane starts of really strong and set a truly unnerving tone, that would make for a good Misery type thriller. Having Michelle awake in a creepy room, chained to a pipe with a Saw-like contraption, really gives you the feeling, things aren’t going to go well for Michelle. However, this level of intensity gets lost somewhere, causing the movie to feel a little flat. Probably because it tries to push too many reasons for why Howard is psychotic, at the viewer. Making the whole plot feel a little confused and lacking direction.

thumbnail_94b4c701-80df-42c5-b3a1-43cf0a1e5869In saying that, John Goodman (who plays Howard), does a really good job of portraying a disturbing unstable psychopath. They really didn’t need to give the viewer a reason why Howard was psychotic. Just from the demeanour John Goodman gave off as Howard and from his facial expression and strange body language, it was pretty clear that the character Howard wasn’t stable and had some serious issues. At points in the film, it shows glimpses of Howard’s face and it’s enough to make your blood run cold. It’s just very disturbing, which really shows how well John Goodman played the role of Howard.

I can’t say much more about 10 Cloverfield Lane, without making this into a complete rant post, so I’ll quickly conclude and give you my final thoughts. Although, John Goodman does a really good job of making 10 Cloverfield Lane feel very unnerving and adding suspense to this film. The film itself just lacks direction and its very messy ending completely reflects this (it was like they had another 20 minutes of film to make, so they randomly threw an alien and its warship into the mix, just to make up the time). 10 Cloverfield Lane sounds like it has the potential to be a great thriller, but it just doesn’t deliver. For this reason, I would say if you’re looking to watch a thriller, look elsewhere. There’s just so many more better thrillers you could spend your time watching, other than 10 Cloverfield Lane.

Rating: Due to John Goodman great acting, a generous 2/5

The Thing in the Apartment (Short Film)

thumbnail_ec2a1929-a644-48f3-bc04-53efa6494674It’s not too often you come across a horror film that is genuinely terrifying, let alone a short film. Being less than 10 minutes long, The Thing in the Apartment still manages to give you Goosebumps and leave you a little afraid of the dark. It has been a while since a horror movie has scared me this bad, so I’ve decided to give The Thing in the Apartment a review of its own.

The Thing in the Apartment, begins with Sam getting a phone call from her friend (Lindsey), asking if she can come pick her up, because something happened in her apartment. Sam, being just a good friend, goes picks the frightened Lindsay up. However, in true horror movie idiot style, Sam decides it’s a good idea to go check the apartment out and as you can probably guess, things take a bit of a horrible turn from here.

From the offset, this short film is very creepy and gives you a really uneasy feeling. As the film progresses, it gets a lot more intense and is filled with jump scares. Leaving you very on edge and praying that nothing messed up, jumps out and grabs either of the characters. Having 5 jump scares in less than 10 minutes, this film will most likely send your heart racing (not the best if you have any heart problems) and have you cuddling your blanket for dear life.

As for true scare factor goes, this film feeds on the fear of the unknown, the unseen and being attacked while alone and/or helpless. So, anyone that has experienced sleep paralysis, has had the feeling something sinister watches them or feels uneasy when alone or in the dark, will most likely find The Thing in the Apartment absolutely terrifying.

The down side to this film is that the acting is not the greatest and it has a lot of stupid moments that makes no logical sense. Like, entering the apartment when there’s a suspected creeper inside and walking about in complete darkness. This made things slightly predictable and takes away some of its fear factor.

Overall, considering The Thing in the Apartment is a short film, I would say it’s worthwhile checking out, if you’re a lover of horror. Although, the acting isn’t great it still manages to leave you feeling very creeped out and wanting to sleep with the lights on. If you fancy a quick scare and have 10 minutes to spare, I’d recommend giving The Thing in the Apartment a watch. As I’m so nice, I’ll even leave a YouTube link to this film, somewhere in this post.

Rating: 3.5/5

Silent Hill (2006)

thumbnail_8559fdf1-ae0c-4fd7-bae7-16a2433aa6f6Rewind back 10 years+ ago, where a young and daring 13-year-old me, thought to herself. “Hmm… I’m incredibly bored and no one else is awake. I know what would be fun. Watching horror movies in the dark by myself.” After sneaking downstairs like a ninja, quietly raiding the DVD cupboard and hightailing it back to my room, with my goodies (so not to get caught roaming the house at night). I decided Silent Hill would be the perfect movie for this little horror fest, I was holding in the darkness of my room.

Long story short, this was not a good idea and I scared the muffins out of myself, so bad that I couldn’t sleep. But, what does that have to do with this post? Well, it’s been over 10 years since I first seen this movie and I was curious to see, if it was still as scary as I found it back then. However, before I answer that, let me tell you a little about Silent Hill’s story.

The main character, Rose is worried sick about her adoptive daughter (Sharon), sleepwalking and having night terrors. The child’s dreams are being plagued by a town called Silent Hill, which leads Rose to think, that bringing Sharon to Silent Hill would rid her of the nightmares.

After making a dramatic entrance into Silent Hill, Rose and Sharon are separated. Rose searches the town frantically for her daughter, but soon realises there is something very wrong with this town. After experiencing, what happens when darkness falls and terrifyingly warped monsters come out to play, and after meeting the religious cult of witch hunters, that occupy the town. Will Rose ever find her daughter and will she learn the chilling secrets of Silent Hill?

thumbnail_50b0ffbb-914b-4422-9bcb-08f314dd0231

Chibi Pyramid Head

All I can say is, “wow, horror movies sure have come a long way since 2006.” However, in saying that, Silent Hill still manages to be creepy as fudge, even if the monsters look incredibly fake and computerised. The acting is also bit monotone at times, particularly with the character Rose (it was like watching an emotionless robot, at points). Luckily, the storyline and its generally creepiness in enough to forgive the acting.

By today’s standards, Silent Hill is still a pretty good horror movie. It maintains a real eerie feel, that keeps you slightly on edge the whole way through the film. Even when the wallpaper isn’t peeling from the walls and there isn’t a horribly mutated and charred monster on the screen. But for me, the best thing about this film was the storyline. It really sucks you in and keeps you wandering, in suspense about what the fudge in going on in that town. As well as exploring some of darker things in society, like mob mentality, mass hysteria and the idea that people are more likely to partake in horrible inhuman acts, when in a group or/and they fear being shun for not partaking or for speaking out. This gives the story that real twisted feel, that can make horror so interesting to watch.

Overall, Silent Hill is one of the better horror movies, I have seen. Despite the acting being a bit dead at times, it still had a suspenseful storyline, with some depth. Silent Hill was also very eerie and its monsters, looked like they were straight out of a nightmare. Creating the real horror movie feel. I would definitely recommend Silent Hill to lovers of horror.

Rating: 3.5/5

To answer the question, I posed earlier. 10 years on, did Silent Hill still scare the muffins out of me?
Thankfully no, it just mildly creeped me out.

The Great Gatsby

thumbnail_7e6362e9-ffd8-4438-85f6-d1c02ea56c15Have you ever watched a movie so unusual and captivating, that you really don’t know where to start in explaining it? Well, that’s exactly how I feel about The Great Gatsby. But before the irony in that statement kills us all, let me give you a little taste of the insane tale, that is The Great Gatsby.

Set in the 1920’s, The Great Gatsby begins with an aspiring writer (Nick) moving to New York, across the bay from his extremely wealthy cousin, Daisy. This leads to Nick being sucked into the world of the super-rich, where you party all the time and cheating on your significant other is only unacceptable if you get caught (Wow, this movie really makes New York in the 20’s, look wild and unruly).

Nick’s new next-door neighbour is a mysterious millionaire, that no one seems to know anything about. Except, for a bunch of wild rumours and that he throws the best parties. Soon after moving in, Nick is personally invited to one of Gatsby’s parties. Something that has never happened to anyone before (apparently Gatsby’s parties are just one big gate-crashing event). This eventually leads to Nick discovering who the mysterious Gatsby is and from here, the real mystery begins.

I really can’t say much more about the plot of this film, without completely spoiling it. But what I will say, is that it certainly kept me guessing. From who Gatsby was and how he made his millions, to how the story would end. I was constantly guessing and re-guessing. It was by far one of the best stories I’ve experienced in a while. The plot twists and delivery were just excellent and I really can’t find much wrong with The Great Gatsby.

thumbnail_3c8a774d-6393-4204-a024-2694c8aeea0aAnother very impressive factor in this film is its backgrounds and scenes. They are just so attention grabbing and so well done, making The Great Gatsby a real feast for the eyes. Especially, when the backgrounds are used to reflect the characters thoughts and emotions. Which also added a really nice feel to the movie, that completely sucks you in and has you very much amazed.

My only criticisms of this film, is that it’s a little slow and slightly boring at the start. However, once the film finally gets going, it turns out to be very exciting and enjoyable. Also, although I thoroughly enjoyed this films unique and quirky style, I don’t think it would be to everyone’s taste and some may find it a little too much and a little too strange for their liking.

Overall, The Great Gatsby was an amazing film and the best film I’ve seen in a while. From its endless plot twists and the mystery that is its storyline, to its dazzling and breathtaking scenes, I loved every bit of it. This film may be a slow starter, but from the second you lay eyes on the Great Jay Gatsby, this movie will hold you captive until the very end (in a good way though. Not in a scary hostage situation way). For this reason, I would highly recommend watching The Great Gatsby. It would make a great addition to any movie night.

Rating: 5/5

Hope you like my new shorter style of review. I plan on trying this style out for a while, as it should allow me to post more regularly. Reviews will still be the same quality, but just more compact and to the point and of course, I’ll still include some digital art.

Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy this new style