Movie Review: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (dir. Destin Daniel Cretton, 2021) – An unprovoked attack forces Shang-Chi back to the dysfunctional family whom he once walked away from.

4/5

Shang-Chi has a lot to live up to. For starters, he isn’t as well known or talked about as the other Avengers. He has but a tenuous tie to the established Marvel cinematic universe, and a reputation to be built from scratch. There are quite some stereotypes to dispel, too, given Marvel’s history with Asian caricatures.

It is an astonishing feat for the Phase 4 film to come up tops in spite of this immense pressure of being a newcomer to an already massive franchise of 25 movies. More so, to make Shang-Chi a fan favourite in the overcrowded roster of heroes.

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Movie Review: Rurouni Kenshin: The Final/The Beginning (2021) (and everything between)

Rurouni Kenshin: Final Chapter (dir. Keishi Ohtomo, 2021) – Himura Kenshin is ready to give up his life as a feared assassin, but his past soon catches up with him.

4/5

What is it about Himura Kenshin (Takeru Satoh) that has every man pointing swords and guns at him? Three movies later, the final chapter of the stunning live-action Samurai X completes the bloody picture in two parts.

First, there is The Final that marks a satisfying closure to the redemption arc for the tortured samurai, whose long-suffering journey to overcome his guilt delivers as much fight as it does heart. Then, saving the best for last, The Beginning closes the Rurouni Kenshin series whole.

This is the perfect place to start for those new to the legend. But long-standing fans will find no time wasted. Once brought up in pieces, the dark past of the protector is finally given a chance to fully unfold in The Beginning. We return to the time where the man had yet to become the pacifist with a Sakabatō (a reverse-blade) and a vow against killing.

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Book Reviews: August 2021 Reads

Finally finishing up some to-reads on my long list before we approach my favourite month of all-time. Have a spooky read to recommend? Please let me know and I’ll be eternally grateful. x

Senlin Ascends (Josiah Bancroft, 2013)
3/5

Senlin Ascends Novel

The blackboard rattled and rocked on its feet, shaken by Senlin’s emphatic jots. “Instinct is the fuel that fires the engine of civilization. Generations have labored to build and perfect the engine. Each of you, I hope, will spend your life working to preserve it. Because without it, we would be dangerous beasts.”

During their honeymoon to the Tower of Babel, Thomas Senlin loses his wife Marya to the crowds. His only hope of finding her may just be to ascend the Tower, but the mild-mannered headmaster soon learns that the climb will take every inch of wit and mettle he can gather.

From the first moment he steps in the playhouse, it becomes clear that the Tower is the star of Senlin Ascends. The novel shines in its inventive world building, introducing a fascinating universe that not only stretches skywards, but is anchored by bizarre sets of rules.

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Short Film Review: N.U.N.S with Nunchucks

Two agents from the National Union of National Spies (well, N.U.N.S.) are on a mission to end the tyranny of the Catholic Association of Quebec. Set to end the reign of its xenophobic leader Jeanne Versacon, they are going to need the help of champion wrestler Betty Powell.

N.U.N.S. with Nunchucks unabashedly embraces its full-on eccentricity and invites you to do the same. The characters are unforgettable and the story, outlandish. Their over-the-top performances, extravagant costumes, and even the gimmicky title are all part of the short film’s fantastic reenactment of exploitation cinema.

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Movie Review: A Classic Horror Story (2021)

A Classic Horror Story (dir. Roberto De Feo & Paolo Strippoli, 2021) – Travelling in southern Italy, five strangers become stranded in the woods and fall victim to a deathly ritual.

3/5

A band of strangers travels on a camper van to Calabria. When swerving to avoid a goat carcass, they veer off their intended path in the dark and wake to find themselves nowhere near the road. Lost in a forest, they search for help. All they find is an eerie cabin in the woods that homes the remnants of a terrifying murder cult.

A Classic Horror Story lives up to its name, following a familiar narrative that stitches together the horror genre’s notorious tropes. It isn’t just the paint-by-numbers opener too. The forsaken settings scream Evil Dead and the sinister town, The Wicker Man, before the disquieting ambience starts to mirror Midsommar.

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Movie Review: Blood Red Sky (2021)

Blood Red Sky (dir. Peter Thorwarth, 2021) – Terrorists attempt to hijack a transatlantic flight, but find themselves going up against an unexpected threat.

4/5

In search of treatment for her unknown malady, Nadja (Peri Baumeister) travels on a night flight to New York with her son Elias (Carl Anton Koch), only to be taken hostage by a group of ruthless hijackers. All she knew then was that she had to protect her child. And that she would do anything, even if it means revealing her secret that may well put herself in danger.

It isn’t long before her dark secret comes to light. Taking cues from classic genre-blender From Dusk Till Dawn, Blood Red Sky turns predator into prey, trading the ostensible hostage situation for an unexpected night of vampiric terror. That’s right, it’s stakes on a plane as the clever Internet has now branded the film.

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