The Skull (1965)

I’m back to my old horror film appreciation. It’s currently on Netflix, and stars Peter Cushing as Mr Maitland a writer and collector of occult items.
This film also stars Christopher Lee (as a guest star, and part of the reason I started watching it) playing a very unusual part, that of a non-villain.

Anyway, the skull of the plot (a distractingly cheap looking prop) belonged to the late Marquis de Sade, the one to give name to sadism due to his behaviour and sexual novels. His skull had been stolen from his grave from a man wanting to study whether he was actually insane. This man bathed the skull to remove the remaining flesh and skin,

Turns out the Marquis wasn’t simply a violent weirdo who wrote novels about kinky bondage sex, but was in fact possessed by an evil demon.
Marco (a dodgy looking dealer of relics) comes across the skull and tries to sell it to Mr Maitland for more money than it seems to be worth. He won’t take it even after Marco lowered its price, but can’t help but wonder about it when he leaves.
Later he shares with his friend (Christopher Lee) who confirms the skull is indeed from Marquis de Sade and also evil. He knows this because it was stolen from him, and advises Maitland to leave it alone.
Obviously he doesn’t and the story ensues.

The editing was very good. The jumps between the scenes interesting and smooth, the point of view through the eyes of the skull, very unusual and a nice touch even if a bit wonky looking. The passages from character to character were thought through.
Specially noted this in the pool scene, my favourite scene, where we had a nice sequence shot of the conversation between the two.
The sets were also really fitting to the ambience.
There were some really bad actors. The scientist’s wife, the first woman to die right in the beginning, deserves an award (and a slap in the face) for worst dying act ever.
Disregarding the typically, for this time, overacted characters, this is balanced by the usual excellent acting of Cushing and Lee.

The plot was what least impressed me (if we ignore that lady dying): the possessed skull made people steal demonic statues and draw pentagrams and kill each other.
Err, and why? To steal their life supply? Just for shits and giggles?
Are we implying that this was what Marquis de Sade did in life? Being that he was the one possessed in the first place. And how did this happen? Was it only the skull the possessed part or would this have worked if they stole, like, his femur? Was he a born demon or did it show up at some point? I feel like this was less a story about a collector finding a dodgy item and more a slice-of-life tale of the skull’s life.

Voices of a Distant Star (ほしのこえ) 2002 and Makoto Shinkai

It’s bank holiday weekend here in the UK and it was supposed to be hot and sunny. However, unsurprisingly, we got hot, stuffy and thunderstormy instead. Since it’s been pissing down all day I hardly left the house except to go grocery shopping. Which was a great opportunity to carry on my Makoto Shinkai binge watching, which I believe I have formed an opinion about. (Also explaining why these last three posts were about his films)

But first, about Voices of a Distant Star:
A short film of around 25 minutes, immediately the art is the most obvious difference, it’s not painful to look at, but the other films are far superior. Which makes sense, since Voices of a Distant Star was made in 2002.
Thing is, the amazingly drawn and animated settings were the highest point in every single one of these films. So that left VoaDS with not much besides the plot.
And the plot (as surprising as the fact that it’s raining in England) is about a middle school girl and a middle school boy, who have a crush on each other but no particular relationship status.
This takes place in “the future”, where 15-year-old Mikako gets recruited to a space battle (what?) and promises to keep in touch with her dearest Noboru via text message. The further Mikako is from Earth the longer the texts take to arrive.

(spoiler ahead, can I even call this a spoiler if the fucking film is only 25 minutes long, I mean) Continue reading

5 Centimetres Per Second (Byousoku 5 Centimeter 秒速5センチメートル ) 2007

Takaki and Akari are very close childhood friends, when Akari moves away to another city they keep in touch by exchanging letters. Then Takaki’s family decides to move to the very south, and before he goes Takaki decides to visit Akari before their distance increases even further.

Was a bit slow paced to begin with, and it kept being slow paced. And then it ended and I realised it had been an hour long story with a 15 minute plot.

Here comes the spoilering: Continue reading

Your Name (君の名は Kimi No Na Wa) 2016

I totally forgot about this film while it was in the cinemas, so I’ve only recently watched it.
First of all I need to say I liked the plot, and the animation, won’t even bother to comment, it’s gorgeous as expected, second I want to add that I found there were many unnecessary things.

It’s easy to pick on what is happening as soon as Mitsuha, who lives in rural Japan, wakes up to feel very confused about her body, as if it wasn’t her own. And in Tokyo, a boy named Taki, wakes up to realise he’s in a very unfamiliar environment as well. Their souls are shown to be swapping bodies for not yet mentioned reason, and in order to be able to live each other’s lives, they leave notes and diary entries to keep up. Some days they wake up in their own bodies, some days they swap. This happens often and randomly, and going to sleep triggers the exchange.

And anything past here, will be a spoiler: Continue reading

Mass Effect: Andromeda

I’m currently living the odd life of no internet. Long story short, my provider was shit and i cancelled it, the new provider comes on the 9th.

Anyway, long past are the days video games came in CD’s, so right now I have a wi-fi adapter shoved into my pc leeching a nearby hotspot slowly downloading the game.
As soon as it popped up as ‘playable’ I went on to start my character customisation, it takes forever anyway and I usually go back and redo it after the first cut scene, so might as well start now.
At first I thought it hadn’t been patched yet because of the way it looked, but I was wrong. The animations weren’t ME1 bad, they were just BAD. I don’t mind a game less HD, I mean how many hours I put into my fetish of old video games and if we’re going there, also bad old horror films with very poor cgi. It was the difference between the beautiful backdrop and effects the rest of the game had and this awkward shaky object in the middle of my screen. The Sims 1 people had less triangles in their faces.
Not only that, the customisation was awful. But so were all the other ME games so I’m not very fussed about this, went to the ME Archives and just downloaded the most normal looking Ryder twins and slightly adjusted them to indulge my egocentric need of having them slightly similar to myself. (which meant they had brown hair, that’s all they managed to resemble)

I can’t talk about a Bioware game without mentioning the romance options. First off: no humans, I can do humans irl. I can do humans in other video games. Mass Effect means alien boyfriend, end of story. Not that any particular human sparked any kind of interest.
Even alien wise, the characters seemed to be more simple than the usual.
Jaal’s voice nearly killed me with excitement, but I did looked for the romance scenes and died of cringe. Then I pondered Vetra because…Well, she looks like Garrus.
I don’t know. I’m not interested to get to know any of them, really.

I’m yet to finish the game and I find it okay. I heard when they said it would have nothing to do with the Mass Effect trilogy, and I didn’t expect it to. But I did expect it to be a better game. I’ve been a Bioware fangirl for so many years, I expect good games from Bioware. Knights of the Old Republic aged better than this looks. I even liked ME3, it was a good game, despite the ending having to be patched to be anywhere near acceptable.

Story wise, character wise: I’m just slightly bored with it right now and that’s it. Maybe it will come around and I’ll change my mind.

Witcher 3 – The Wild Hunt

Since I’ve gave my computer a much needed upgrade, I can now go back to smoothly playing games.
Like Witcher 3, which I got mid last year and had a frame rate so bad, I had to post pone playing it as I was getting eyelash cancer from looking at it.
I didn’t exactly enjoy the first Witcher, and 2, besides the nice hook up scenes, didn’t get my attention gameplay wise, but as soon as I saw a preview for this one I knew I had to try it.
It has a really good gameplay, and the best combat I’ve ever set my fingers on.
I need to underline this. If all RPs could be played like this, I’d be in Holy Game Heaven.

I’ve also paid like 50 quid for a game with over 200 hours of content and it’s been a while since I’ve seen this happening, well worth the money. I’m now on my 60th hour and have maybe 20% of the game off. The last time I was this passionate about a game was with Dragon Age: Origins and its expansions.

As for Witcher’s expansions, I had in mind to get Blood and Wine, but since there was a discount pack on GoG I got Hearts of Stone as well, so I’ll see how they go.

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Lists for 2017

This year started busy. I’ve started a new permanent job, as opposed to my usually freelancing, in a company I quite like. Also my first time working with the Nordic feed, until now only did UK and Southern Europe, and I’m quite excited for that.
I’ll be moving house (again) soon. Something I’m looking forward to for a few darn months now.
I’ve also decided to set a few goals.
I usually keep fit so I don’t find the need to set goals for physical activity or diet changes.
However, entertainment wise, sometimes I get stuck and miss out on stuff.
So this year, I’ll read 12 books, play 12 new games, and do 12 different day trips (not counting actual travelling).
That’s one of each per month. It’s not a big list and it’s a very achievable one. But I know that having made it, i will push myself to try new things and meet new places around here, that maybe otherwise I would’ve postponed or not done, in exchange of staying where it’s comfortable.
I’m also pretty sure I’ll read more than 12 books but I like that they’re all the same number.
Just felt like i needed to let this out, it’s in writing and i can’t go back on it.
Very excited though.

“Drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra”

People die every year. People you like, people you don’t care about and people you didn’t even know existed.

This year the quantity of loved celebrities that died, went pretty much overboard. For me, personally, I can’t say it was the best year ever. Although no great tragedy occurred, it was a sequence of unfortunate events. Work wise, house wise. Freelancing has ups and downs sometimes, and even though i like the place i am in now, i had some really hard 6 months i was happy to let go of. And since i’m starting on a contract next year, i have that to look forward to. This house was also a pile of problems, and that is also coming to an end. Going to Iceland and Japan were not only the highlights of my year, it were probably the only things I genuinely was happy about.

Anyway, Carrie Fisher died yesterday. Not some celebrity I hadn’t heard in ages. Not some celebrity whose dead is sad but didn’t particularly meant a lot to me.
But one who I pretty much adore, someone I follow on social media. Someone I’ve recently seen in a movie. Someone who was here in London a few days ago. Someone who gave me the idea of being present. 11 months after David Bowie, which was also a death I didn’t take in nicely. Again someone very present for me, ever since high school, days after his latest album release.
What a weird notion it is, the unexpected death.
As if seeing someone slowly dying, despite sad, was easy to accept. While losing someone overnight, is so sudden and hard to sink, as if we needed a forewarning to be able to cope.
A hard reminder that our days are numbered, and we don’t always get notice beforehand.

Kyoto (part II)

Kyoto was the most picturesque, but (or because of) it was also the most touristy.
Within the streets of Kyoto everything was nice and quiet.
In the tourist area though, was rammed.
The main temples were up to the brim with lines.
And on the first night we found ourselves walking down a street filled with restaurants. Unlike the ones in Tokyo, they all had an english and mandarin version. The staff spoke english and the menus were dumbed down to an extreme. They served dessert and had western diet options.
I do think some of the must see temples and shrines are beautiful and worth seeing despite the crowds. Restaurants however, no. I have “fusions” back home.
There are some actual japanese restaurants in the area that are good and not very pricey.
That’s where I tried okonomyaki.

Like I said, Kyoto was probably my favourite place.
After that night, we looked for the places the locals ate and went to and Kyoto did not disappoint.
The quiet scenic streets were absolutely amazing and i could totally see myself living here.

Osaka
To do in Osaka:
* Eat
* Eat more
* Visit the gorgeous Osaka Castle and climb 8 sets of stairs in order to digest (and avoid the queue for the lift )
* Eat more
* FFS just eat everything.
(Here, I tried taiyaki and loved it! Must look for this in London)

Day trip to Nara:
Nara was also a day trip. Deer parks and shrines.
And japanese curry.