Movie Review: Train to Busan

Details: More information can be found at https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5700672/

Score: 7/10

This year, Parasite, a Korean movie, won best picture at the Academy Awards. This has predictably invoked greater interest in Korean cinema in the United States. When asking Korean film aficionados what’s another good Korean movie, Train to Busan almost always gets a mention (along with Old Boy, but there some nasty crap going on in there). Train of Busan is a an average zombie movie except that it also combines elements of a bottle episode in that it mostly takes place in a single place: a train.

Train to Busan is about a zombie outbreak in South Korea. A kid and her dad take a train to see the mom when all hell breaks loose. Now, the two and the rest of the passengers must find a way to survive this nightmare of a train ride.

The movie is all right. It can be divided up into a number of set pieces. All of it was entertaining but pretty standard for the zombie movie genre.

Overall, a good zombie flick, but nothing to write home about.

Comic Book Review: Batman: Three Jokers

Details: This is a three issue miniseries that has ended. More information can be found at https://www.dccomics.com/comics/batman-three-jokers-2020/batman-three-jokers-1

Score: 7/10

Batman: Three Jokers is a story that fans looked forward to at some point, but was delayed by years. This story was pushed so far back that any hype and anticipation you may have had for this story died years ago. The story itself isn’t bad and seeks to replicate the tone from classic Joker stories like The Killing Joke. It somewhat succeeds, but largely fails in that regard due to how short this miniseries is and how little the plot develops.

Years ago in the Justice League comic book, Batman sat in Metron’s chair, a chair that provides one with the knowledge of everything. Sitting in the chair, he asked who the Joker’s real identity was. The chair responded by asking him which one. What fans walked away with was that there were in fact three Jokers over the years and DC teased a comic going into the explanation for that. That was years ago. Delay after delay pushed this story back until finally, this story was published.

What’s disappointing is that I was hoping to gain insight into the origins of the Joker or Jokers. This story offered the possibility of getting a definitive origin story to the character or characters. What I got instead was a retcon that deletes the possibilities offered by three Jokers and tells Batman fans there is in fact only one true Joker going forward. In some ways, Three Jokers is a lazy attempt to reconcile the wild idea of three Jokers with the reality that the story tellers at DC Comics simply have no idea what to do with that idea.

The story itself isn’t too bad. The tone is right. This is a pseudo horror story that uses the Joker for greater character development of the Batman family. Primarily, we get to see a lot of Batgirl and Jason Todd. I cringed a bit at how they talked the relationship between Todd and Batgirl though. It made me feel like I was watching a long running television show where the writers have run out of ideas and decide that all the characters should start romancing each other. Additionally, the ending directly contradicts the reveal of three Jokers in the Justice League comic (although I guess you could argue it doesn’t with some half assed argument that Batman always knows everything).

The art is great.

Overall, this was an okay story that under delivered on possibly insurmountable hype. The delays in publication also didn’t help. If you are a fan of Batman, Three Jokers (and likely the White Knight elseworlds story) is likely a story you need to read for the wrinkles it adds to the Batman mythos.

Anime Review: Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- Season 2

Details: This is a review of the thirteen episodes of this first part of Season 2. I read somewhere that the show will go on break and continue in January 2021. Also known as Re:ゼロから始める異世界生活 2nd season. This second season is complete. More information can be found at http://re-zero-anime.jp/ and https://myanimelist.net/anime/39587/Re_Zero_kara_Hajimeru_Isekai_Seikatsu_2nd_Season

Score: 8/10

Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- Season 2 is one of those shows where each subsequent episode is somehow even better than the last. This is must watch anime.

The series picks up right where the last season left off. Subaru just beat some bad guys and is leaving with his pals when tragedy strikes again. Now Subaru must use his power to return to a previous point in time when he dies in order to survive the current challenges. In trying to survive, Subaru will meet the feared witches of this world, one of whom gave him his power.

After the craziness of last season, I wondered how they were going to top all the shocking moments they already showed. Rest assured, they did it. Each horrible death in this second season is just as horrible and grotesque as the deaths in the first season. What’s amazing is how the show keeps finding ways to shock the audience by showing new acts of gore along with narrative revelations about the other characters in the show. We get a lot of character development in this second season, but many questions are still left open and there’s still a lot of mystery.

We also get to see a ton of character development for Subaru. ReZero is mainly a story about watching Subaru encounter crippling terror and pain, then overcoming it. What’s so interesting about Subaru is that while he overcomes all the challenges in a way, he really doesn’t. The trauma from each incident stays with him. Each death he goes through is catastrophically worse for his psychology than the last. He never really get over the pain of death. It’s emotionally intense to watch this trauma filled person continue on.

The animation is as fantastic as it was last season. This is a very well animated show. The voice acting is great as there are a lot of emotionally charged moments here. The voice actor for Subaru is especially good given what he goes through.

Overall, this is a fantastic series. There is a lot of gore and a lot of the plot points can be very emotionally straining, so I wouldn’t necessarily let kids watch this. Even still, this is must watch anime and if you are anime fan, you need to give this a watch. You should start with the first season though because the whole thing goes in chronological order.

Movie Review: Jurassic Park

Details: More information can be found at https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107290/

Score: 7/10

I remember watching Jurassic Park when it first came out. It was ground breaking. There was literally nothing like it that came before. It did for special effects and animatronics what The Matrix did with special effects and bullet time. Decades later, I decided to give it another watch and while it still holds up (which is a miracle considering how old it is), it’s not as great as I remember it. In many ways, it’s just a stereotypical horror movie where all the problems are caused by the characters doing obviously stupid things. It’s exactly the kind of horror movie I hate the most.

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Manga Review: City of Love Prison

Details: I think this is currently ongoing. Also known as Koi Goku no Toshi, 恋狱都市,恋獄の都市,戀獄都市.

Score: 7/10

City of Love Prison starts out as a bit of horror, but quickly turns into a psychological thriller with supernatural elements. There’s some fan service, but the overall story is still that of a psychological thriller.

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