One Hundred Thousand Blog Views

9 11 2016

Southport Fireworks 2011

Recently, my Blog (the one that you are reading now) has celebrated some major milestones. A few months back I published my 500th blog post, WordPress informed me that my blog is officially now 7 years old, and much bigger than those, I have reached the milestone viewing number of 100,000.

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It’s a big moment for me, as I never thought my blog would even reach that number. In the first 10 months of my blog I reached 1000 views, but I was getting less than 300 views a month. But steadily over the years the viewership has increased, and then declined (which it’s sadly doing right now), but after 7 years of blogging, my blog has been viewed 100,000 views. Now this was last week, but I thought I would still celebrate and have a chance to thank everyone who read and still reads this blog, supporting my writing, my hobby over all these years. So thank you to everyone who has read (and continues to read) my blog, supporting my writing, my hobby over all these years and I hope you will continue to read my blog in the future. Thank you all.

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Now to celebrate, I had no real plan other than to say the above, but I thought I would make a post out of this as well. So, how to celebrate? Well, how about a cake; here’s an (old one) I made:

Red Velvet cake mix

Now for the rest of the post, I thought I would provide you with some possibly interesting Blog Stats. As I have said I have no real plan as to what I am doing, but here are some generic blog stats about my posts and blog that I noted down to present to you (a couple of days ago):

Most views in a single day: December 31 2012

Most Views in a Month: December 2012

Top 5 Countries where the most views came from: USAUKGermanyCanadaFrance

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Top 5 Most Viewed Posts (not including the generic homepage):

Top 5 Ben And Jerry’s Ice Cream Flavours

Top 5 Monsters For The 2014 Godzilla Movie

Top 5 Saxon Songs

The Best Film In The World – Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack

Film News – Seventh Son and 47 Ronin

Caramel Chew Chew

Well there you go; I thought I would just share those stats with you, hope I did not bore you too much? So anyway, thank you to everyone who has viewed and supported this blog over the last 7 years, and I hope you will continue to read this blog as it continues. Now to finish off, why not a celebratory piece of music?

GENEPOOL





Film News – The Outsider

12 03 2014

13 Assassins (Toho Co., Ltd. - 2010)

Some of you may probably not know about The Outsider. It was this interesting looking film which when announced sounded quite promising. The film’s plot revolves around the idea of a former POW (Prisoner Of War) in post World War 2 Japan who rises up through the ranks in the Yakuza. Based on an idea by John Linson (Sons of Anarchy) the plot makes it sound really interesting in its own right and after what happened with 47 Ronin, sounded very promising. But the most exciting thing about the film came from news about who was to star in it and who was to direct it. The film was to star Tom Hardy (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises) and to be directed by Japanese Movie Master as well as one of the most prolific directors in cinema today, Takashi Miike (13 Assassins, Ichi the Killer).

Tom Hardy and Takashi Miike

So with one of the finest actors in cinema today teaming up with one of the world’s most renowned directors in the world today teaming up on a film that in its own right, sounded amazing, I was really looking forward to The Outsider. Sadly however there has been some unfortunate news. It turns out that Tom Hardy has left the project while production was underway, as a result the film needed to find a new star, and as this caused scheduling difficulties, it means that Takashi Miike is no longer available to direct. So the film has no lead and no director.

Ryuhei Kitamura and Bong Joon-ho

As far as I know, the film is still to be produced, so I thought I would give my own take on how this whole situation can be turned around. If the studio wants to get the proper direction, then a local director would be best, so this leaves two options. Either wait until Takashi Miike is available again or find another prolific director in the area. One name that comes to my mind is  Ryuhei Kitamura (Versus). While he has not made as many films as Miike, (Kitamura = 16, Miike = 85+), I think Kitamura is the man for the job as he is one of the country’s top directors at the moment, and if it is the case that Kitamura is not interested, well, while he may not be Japanese, The Outsider’s producers could look into asking Bong Joon-ho (The Host). As for a replacement for Hardy, well, why not Mark Strong (Sherlock Homes, Welcome To The Punch). I think it would work quite well.

Mark Strong

I really do hope though that The Outsider gets produced, it sounds really good and has a lot of potential, providing it comes together alright.

GENEPOOL





The Ronin, The Shogun And The Outcast – 47 Ronin

8 01 2014

47 Ronin (2013 - Universal Pictures)

I love Japanese culture as you can probably tell from my extensive knowledge particularly in their film industry as well as Video Games. I love the setting of it all, the beauty in their gardens as well as the historical culture particularly that of the Samurai. But for all this interest, the tale of the 47 Ronin is one I don’t know that much about. The tale of the Forty-Seven Ronin is one of the most famous in the country’s history:

“Described by Japanese historians as a ‘National Legend’, the revenge of the 47 Ronin took place in Japan and is the ultimate expression of the samurai code of honour, Bushido. The story began on April 21st 1701, when Lord Asano Naganori, the Daimyo of the Ako Domain was forced to commit ritual suicide for attacking Kira Yoshinaka in Edo Castle, a rude and arrogant Master of Ceremony under the Tokugawa Shogunate. The loyal 47 Ronin took over a year to planned their raid on Kira’s mansion. On a snowy December night, they strike on Kira’s home, taking everyone by surprise.  After killing Kira, they went to their Master’s Grave, and turned themselves in to the authorities. For committing such a vendetta, the 47 Ronin were requested by the Shogun to commit seppuku, ritual self-disembowelment. During the Meiji era, the rapid modernization of Japan forces people to return to their cultural roots and values, giving tremendous popularity of the 47 Ronin’s tale.” – 47 Ronins.com

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While waiting for the film to come out though, I have heard almost nothing but bad press about it. While there was initial excitement about another film on such a famous and popular story, after other people looked into the new film, their initial thoughts were that of disappointment. I of course did not understand as I had not any full understanding of the original legend.

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The film opens with a small tale of a child being discovered with marks upon his head. A local lord takes pity on him while everyone else in his clan believe him to be a demon. The boy strikes a friendship with the local lord’s daughter Mika (Kō Shibasaki) and waits for the day that he can repay them both. Many years later, after being trained in samurai culture but still living as an outcast, the Halfling (as he is called) boy named Kai (Keanu Reeves) saves the life of one of the villagers by taking down a giant beast that was being hunted. Lord Asano (Min Tanaka) uses the creature as an offering for the Shogun who makes a visit later that evening. When the Shogun (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) arrives, Kai spots a woman in the crowd he believes to be a witch. He goes to Lord Asano’s head samurai Oishi (Hiroyuki Sanada) to tell him this, but Oishi does not take interest believing that Kai must be a demon if he can spot a witch.

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The following day a tournament is held in the honour of the shogun. The Shogun’s master of ceremonies, Lord Kira (Tadanobu Asano) is in attendance and presents his fighter, a giant man all clad in steel to fight Lord Asano’s fighter, who has been bewitched. Kai secretly takes the fighters place until he is discovered. He is forced into taking a beating. That night Lord Kira tells his witch servant Mizuki (Rinko Kikuchi) to possess Lord Asano, this works and Lord Asano, blind to his daughter’s distress attacks a defenceless Lord Kira. Kira survives but is forced by the Shogun to commit Seppuku. His now Master less Samurai become Ronin and are forced to depart from the land and Kai is sold into Slavery. Kira is made head of the land and Mika is forced to marry him in one years’ time. Oishi meanwhile is forced into a pit by Kira.

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One year passes and Oishi is finally released from the pit. He heads home and makes plans to get his revenge on Kira. He tells his son Chikara (Jin Akanishi) to go and amass his former warriors and meet him by a river in a few days’ time. Oishi meanwhile travels to a Dutch port to get Kai back. Kai shows great skill in fighting many strange beasts at the pirate port. Oishi enters a fight with him and tells him of what is about to happen. Oishi and Kai manage to escape the port and meet up with the other Ronin. The group split up, Chikara goes to find information from the drunken guards near Kira’s palace. A few others head off to find more men while Oishi and Kai go to get more swords. Their search leads them to going to find the Tengu, a mystical group who hides in the forest, the ones who trained Kai and raised him. Kai and Oishi go in the temple and Oishi’s will is tested as Kai confronts the head of the order and takes his sword. As a reward, his men get the swords they need.

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At Kira’s palace, Mika is being prepared for her marriage but gets repeatedly tested by Mizuki and Kira. Kira heads off to a temple to pray as the Ronin plan their attack on Kira. They travel to Kira’s encampment and launch a surprise attack. It proves to be a trick though as Kira is Mizuki in disguise. Thinking that the Ronin are now dead, Kira goes ahead with his wedding. The Ronin manage to survive the encounter but with some loses. The Ronin decide to use their deaths as a surprise and plan a new attack on Kira’s castle. At the cover on nightfall, the Ronin secretly enter the castle and are mostly successful in taking out the perimeter guards, until one of them manages to get a stray shot off. The palace falls into battle. Oishi’s men are successful in taking out the Kira’s fighter and Oishi engages Kira. Kai rescues Mika and manages to kill Mizuki. Oishi meanwhile beheads Kira. The Ronin travel back to their home and surrender to The Shogun. The shogun says though that because they did what any Samurai would do despite disobeying him that they may die with honour by committing Seppuku. They begin the ritual but the Shogun allows Chikara to live and become the new lord of the region. Kai meanwhile says that he will wait in the afterlife for Mika.

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While the film may not live up to the original legend, it is my understanding from research that I have done that almost no film on the legend lives up to the original story. What is noticeable though is that the film does follow the original story with elements of fantasy included. The film is therefore adding elements to make the story interesting to other audiences. In my opinion, the only chance of making a thorough adaptation true to the original story, the film would have to be made in Japan. Several have, but in order to please the rest of the world, it would need more of an international release. From a western point of view though, the film is made alongside the original tale but with elements that would appeal to those who request more than just reality, and due to the film’s ancient, mythical setting, there is some allowance at least for the western audience for some elements of mythological beasts.

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In terms of the film itself, so not much look upon the legend itself, I find myself comparing it in some respects to films like 13 Assassins and Zulu. Films on an epic scale such as these, it is easy to see the detail that has been put into those films compared to this where it appears to be almost minimal. The characters for instance in traditional Japanese epic’s such as Seven Samurai and 13 Assassins have a great amount of detail into each and every character in the main troupe. Now while of course it would take forever to do the same with the whole company of the 47 Ronin, but as only a few of them appear to have any character at all, it’s a shame we can’t see more of them, not even from the 12 main men in the company. If you were to take a look at this films detail on par with Zulu you can see that Zulu manages to keep large amounts of detail in its characters, though many but allows room for it.

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Though while it is very minimal on its characters, 47 Ronin’s main characters are a nice mix. But I do think that this film could have been improved greatly if it was a Japanese Language speaking film as it would look more authentic than them all speaking English, which I think is a definite weakness. Keanu reeves character holds a pivotal point but I think his character is only there to justify the western nature of the film. He is not the only one though as I think that the tattooed guy in the Dutch port, who appears in all the posters, only appears very briefly and I was expecting him to suddenly turn up, but he didn’t.

Keanu Reeves and Tattoo Man

The main draw in the film’s cast though are in the form of Lord Kira and Oishi. Oishi is a respectable samurai and a respectable samurai who holds up the codes of the samurai as displayed in the film with great authenticity despite not going that much into detail with it. He is very enjoyable throughout the film and you feel a level of safety around him. in many respects, Oishi is the real main focus of the plot, over Keanu Reeves’s Character. Lord Kira though plays the part of a rotter really well. His part is that of a devious and deceitful villain who wants nothing more than power and he is much of a schemer when he does this. This part is excellently played by Tadanobu Asano. Alongside him you also have the brilliant Rinko Kikuchi as the witch Mizuki. As a character she is as rotten as Kira, but this is not a bad thing as that is their part, they are the kind of character whose end you very much look forward too, as is their part.

Hiroyuki Sanada, Tadanobu Asano, Rinko Kikuchi

The film’s special effects are well done and work well in tandem bringing the creatures in the film to life. Such other effects are used mostly for the creatures but also for the effects that could not be done by real life. It shows great respect to more recent Japanese film makers, particularly Takeshi Miike who only uses CGI if it is humanly impossible, such as can be seen in 13 Assassins.

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While maybe not holding up to the original legend completely, 47 Ronin is actually a very enjoyable film. While the story is scattered and somewhat quick to go from point A to point G, it is a story that does have a level of detail in showing the ancient culture if only a tiny bit. As a fantasy film though, I think it rivals many others but as it is trying to go in tandem to an original legend, it suffers as a result. If it were its own story it could have been very different, but don’t just write it off as a generic fantasy film as this film does more than those. Though in my opinion if you want to see a film that shows more of a foreign culture, I would highly recommend you see 13 Assassins or Seven Samurai instead.

GENEPOOL





Film News – Seventh Son and 47 Ronin

4 09 2013

Seventh Son and 47 Ronin

After a long period of waiting for news on both film, there has finally been a trailer released for both 47 Ronin and Seventh Son. These are two of the films I was most looking forward too this year (along with a few other things including Pacific Rim). So with news of their production and their release finally announced I thought I would share them with you.

Seventh Son (Legendary Pictures - 2014)

Seventh Son (Produced by Legendary Pictures) is the film adaptation of the first book in Joseph Delaney‘s The Spook’s series (also known as The Wardstone Chronicles and The Last Apprentice in America); The Spook’s Apprentice. A story that is set in my home county of Lancashire. I first heard of the film before I heard of the book, it was only from reading the book that I was somewhat able to piece them together. The book in itself while quite small compared to others in the series, is brilliant, absolutely brilliant. I first started reading it last September and while it took me time to get into it (new book) I eventually got into it more and more and by March had finished reading it and started reading the second book; The Spook’s Curse. This past June I even got the chance to meet the Author in a Waterstones in Lancaster.

The Spook's Apprentice

The online synopsis seems to be parallel with the book while the trailer is sort of confusing to someone who has read the book, however I am still very excited about it. The film will Star Jeff Bridges as the Spook and Ben Barnes as the Spook’s Apprentice along with Julianne Moore as the malevolent Witch Mother Malkin and Alicia Vikander as the mysterious Alice. The new release date for the film is January 17th 2014. While that may not be until next year, that still gives you the opportunity to go and read the book, I recommend it.

47 Ronin (Produced by Universal Pictures) is a film based on the legendary Japanese tale of the Forty-Seven Ronin, a group of Samurai who attempt to avenge the death of their master. The film stars Keanu Reeves as a half-British half-Japanese samurai whose character was created for the film. The rest of the cast is predominantly made up of Japanese Actors and Actresses including Tadanobu Asano (Ichi the Killer and Thor) and Rinko Kikuchi (Babel and Pacific Rim).

47 Ronin (Universal Pictures - 2013)

The trailer to the film looks absolutely amazing with essences of both reality and fantasy. With a release date of December 25th 2013 it may look off-putting that it will be Christmas day, but we can rest assured that after Christmas Day, the last Big film of the year will be ready for us to go and see.

GENEPOOL





Top 10 Most Exciting Films in 2013

21 01 2013

2013

Just like I did last year with a list of my Top 10 Most Exciting Films in 2012 I have brought the list back to talk about (in brief) the films I am most looking forward to this year. Now it was hard to come up with a list seeing as when I looked through the release schedule, there appeared not to be much of interest. while there are films like Man of Steel which does have Christopher Nolan in a producing role I am not really looking forward to it. Much the same as the new Star Trek Film, to be honest I have not seen the previous one and am not really interested in Star Trek. I recently had a look at the 2012 film Cloud Atlas which gets released in the UK this year, but after watching the trailer I am not so sure. As far as I see it, the films in this list are the only films coming out this year which are worth watching, quite depressing really, but compared to what is being released in 2014, that could be for the Best. Don’t think though that all these films are going to be Pants, the following films in this list are here for a reason, because they look Good.

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa (2013 - Studio Canal)

10. The Alan Partridge MovieAlan Partridge in a Movie? That’s correct. This could either be really bad or the funniest film this year, who knows but we will find out very soon.

Seventh Son (2013 - Legendary Pictures)

9. The Seventh Son – Based on the best-selling book; The Spooks Apprentice by Joseph Delaney this film sounds interesting. I started reading the book a few months ago, it is quite hard to continue when you are reading 4 books at the same time but from what I have read, this could be a surprise hit (and this is coming from the person who did not see The Hunger Games coming, and loved it). What’s more is that the setting of the books is based around my home county of Lancashire and my home town of Lancaster is also mentioned. This is already sounding Fantastic.

The Wolverine (2013 - 20th Century Fox)

8. The Wolverine – While the previous film was not so Good, this one is looking exciting. Not only that it is connected to the X-Men films which are by far the Best of all the films Marvel have produced to date.

Iron Man 3 (Marvel Studios - 2013)

7. Iron Man 3 – The next film in one of only a few Marvel films that can rival the mighty X-Men films (but still not triumphant). The new film will still star Robert Downey Jr and Gwyneth Paltrow and will have the Mandarin as the villain. While looking awesome the trailer in some way does look a bit like The Dark Knight Rises.

Elysium (2013 - TriStar Pictures)

6. Elysium – Don’t be fooled by the District 9 Poster, it’s just a poster has yet to be released of this incredibly exciting film. From the Director of District 9; Neill Blomkamp comes a film set aboard a man-made space station. Do you need to know anything else, it’s made by the same bloke who did District 9, lets leave the rest until the film comes out.

Thor: The Dark World (Marvel Studios - 2013)

5. Thor: The Dark World – The sequel to one of the best films in 2011. Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman and Idris Elba return to star. It’s just a shame that Kenneth Branagh does not return to Direct.

47 Ronin (2013 - Universal Pictures)

4. 47 Ronin – Based on a Japanese Legend this rather unknown film stars Keanu Reeves and a whole cast of Japanese Actors. While being produced by Universal Pictures this is a Japanese Period Piece so that means it has Fantastic Potential to be Truly Great.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013 - Lionsgate)

3. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – The sequel to the Fantastic Hunger Games. Based on the book of the same name the film sees Jennifer Lawrence return along with most of the cast from the original. I am currently over half way through the book of Catching Fire and if the previous film is anything to go by, the film will follow the plot line of the book to the letter, something Lord of the Pants could not do, which makes The Hunger Games an even more superior film, anyway. Catching Fire gets released this year.

Pacific Rim (Legendary Pictures - 2013)

2. Pacific Rim – With one year to go until a year filled with Monster Movie’s it is nice to see a Monster Movie coming out this year. From the visionary Director who made Pan’s Labyrinth comes this Monster Movie inspired by Japanese Kaiju Films (a genre which includes GODZILLA). The film is supposed to come out in July of this year, which also means that when this film comes out it will be less than a year until the Legendary Pictures Godzilla Film. The trailer looks Fantastic, and the film as a whole looks Fantastic.

The Host (Showbox - 2006)

1. The Host Sequel – While the idea of a sequel to The Host has been talked about for a while now, a few weeks ago I did see a possible clip from the upcoming film. So I hope this is real because the Sequel to one of the Best (NON-GODZILA) Films will be Fantastic to watch.

GENEPOOL








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