Netflix’s Southern Gothic Noir The Devil All The Time Will Leave You Speechless!

Photo from Business Insider.com

Netflix released its film adaptation of Donald Ray Pollack’s book “The Devil All The Time,” in which the author also provides the narration. The Devil All The Time is a southern gothic thriller that presents the viewer with serval stories that appear scattered at first but slowly intertwined into a thrilling surprise ending.

The film follows three small-town residents during the 1950s-60s who live in two rural West Virginia towns: Knockemstiff, Ohio, and Coal Creek. Each is affected by a dark twist of murder, sex, and religious experiences. Flashback sequences follow the resident’s stories.

The standout performances were, Of course, Bill Skarsgard as a battered WWII vet who finds God again during a horrible time of his wife having cancer and dying. He trains his son to pray for the dead in front of a makeshift cross in the woods for miracles to happen. The boy Tom Holland grows up with a disdain for religion and uneasy.

Meanwhile, across town, a local photographer (Micheal Clarke) has a twisted evil sex fetish as a hobby and meets a gullible young waitress who joins in the oddity of sex and murder hitchhikers.

Next scene a new preacher who graduated from bible college , Robert Pattinson blows the town people away with his intense saint-like gospel from on high with a sex addition at night for younger girls.

All these characters’ stories, in one way or another, collide with one another in a bloody bath of murderous affairs, religious symbolism, and vigilante justice. I was surprised by Pattinson’s southern accent the most for some reason? But I am slowly seeing him less as the twilight guy the more he takes dark, twisted roles.

I liked the film, but the ending was odd? At first, I wasn’t sure how the character’s stories would tie together, but it was a slow burn that left a bitter mark on me for some reason? Also, I felt dirty watching this film but also wanted to watch more to be cleansed! I kept waiting for some light but got more darkness, which is fine but it would have been nice to have a little light in the script.

I think it is an excellent cast of characters with intense dark themes in a small rural town. Nothing like small-town murder right mix with religious overtones? I recommend this movie, but also it would be good to read the book as well.

You can catch The Devil All The Time streaming now on Netflix.

(Librarian Ninja Girl)

11 Awesome Samurai Movies to Watch

Seven Samurai , photo from BBC.com

I have always been into Martial Arts films even as a kid when I briefly took Karate! There has always been something fascinating about samurai and ninjas to me. I guess it is the code they live by, stealth, agility, lone warrior adventurous type that I sometimes relate to myself. Recently, I began to watch samurai movies again! As I was looking for more movies to watch, I came across this article from looper.com that listed a few must-watch samurai movies. So here we go!

First, I will start with a short background history of the film genre. Samurai cinema is a mix of theatre, art, and an overview of Japan’s Edo period set in the (1603-1868). Chambara “Sword-fighting” movies and Jidaigeki “period drama” are the two Japanese terms that makeup films. Samurai films are closely tied to American westerns in that the main character or characters fight against injustice, prove their loyalty, and seek vengeance against wrongs committed but with swords instead of guns. In the 1970s, this genre started to die out with the exploitation phase of films. Still, a resurgence in the mid-’90s has brought the film genre back into American cinema. As for Japanese cinema among the younger generation? This has not been the case. Now onto the must-see samurai films!

Seven Samurai (1954)

First on the list is the classic film “Seven Samurai,” which was popular at the height of the film genre’s emergence. The late Akira Kurosawa directed this classic timepiece. The film is set in 16th century Japan as it depicts poor farmers robbed by a gang of wild bandits. The farmers set out to gather as many resources as possible to hire seven samurai to avenge and protect them. These samurai are a particular breed known as ronin, which means they are without masters and lone warriors roaming the countryside seeking direction. Seven Samurai is an influential film that has been copied by classic American western films such as “The Magnificent Seven” and the 1980’s comedy “The Three Amigos,” among others. You can watch The Seven Samari on HBO Max, Amazon Prime for 2.99, and Youtube.

Unforgiven (2013)

Not the Clint Eastwood version but a remake of the classic 1992 western! Even I did not know about this one! Korean director Lee Sang-il remade the film back in 2013 with Ken Watanabe (Inception, Last Samauri) as Eastwood’s character, but in this version he is a retired samurai lured out of retirement by capturing a band of wicked brothers, who have been wreaking havoc in a small town even disfiguring a poor prostitute. You can catch Unforgiven (2013) on Amazon Prime for 13.99 or other streaming platforms.

The Twilight Samurai (2002)

This film deviates from the traditional samurai formula to a more somber tone as the hero, Seibei Iguchi is a low-level clerk? Usually, these warriors do not have a 9 to 5 job in samurai films or work like us regular folks out here. Still, this film presents a different view of the samurai we have not seen before. The hero’s wife dies, leaving him to raise their two daughters alone on a poor man’s salary? Wow, this film is very American so far! Seibei’s old friend comes into his life and helps him raise the girls. With this act of kindness from his old friend, old feelings began to resurface for her. Still, Seibei is too ashamed of his social status to make her a proper wife. Aside from the romance and drama of the film, there are action sequences and adventure, but the main focus of the film is the character Seibei presenting a “softer” side to being a samurai not depicted in many movies or relatable in his social status. I am not sure where this film can be streamed? But I am sure you can figure it out, lol! Also, finding an English language trailer was tough, so enjoy it!

Throne of Blood (1957)

Finding out about this film was quite fascinating ! it is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth but set in Japan instead of Scotland. The story follows General Washizu, a samurai who abides by the warriors’ code until one night he is visited by an evil spirit who tells him that he will become the lord of his master’s castle. He informs his wife of the prophecy, who, in turn, encourages him to fulfill the prophecy quickly by murdering his master and taking his lordship title. If you have read Macbeth, then you have an idea of how this will end ! lol. You can watch Throne of Blood on HBO Max, and Amazon Prime for 3.99.


13 Assassins (2010)

Japanese director Takashi Mike’s remake of the classic film of the same title is a story that follows a ragtag band of samurai who are determined to defeat a cruel and evil lord whose continual rule could bring an end to Japan as they know it. I started to watch this film, and it was slow and painful to watch but in a reasonable way? Some of the film’s scenes were a lot to take in but gets the point across of how evil this lord is really. The action sequences and bloody gore will also entertain horror fans and action alike. 13 Assassins is now streaming on Hulu, Sling TV, and Amazon Prime.

HaraKiri (1962)

Amid the samurai cinema explosion came a movie that went against the grain. Director Masaki Kobayashi’s HaraKiri was set apart from the other films. The main character Tsugumo requests seppuku (ritual suicide after defeat) at his clan’s mansion. The clan elder holds off on allowing this ritual to take place, suspecting it is a ploy he tells Tsugumo a moral tale of another samurai who wanted to do the same but was forced to complete the task as opposed to asking for permission. Reading the plot of this film sounds intriguing. It is on my list of movies to watch next as well. There is a 2012 remake of the film also. Harakiri can be viewed on iTunes and Prime for 3.99 if interested. Check out the trailer for both versions!

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samauri (1999)

I Love this Film! It stars Forrest Whitaker as a hitman who has bound himself in service (like a samurai) to his boss Louie after he saves his life. Aside from killing people out of a sense of duty to his boss, Ghost Dog enjoys his days off by reading the 18th-century samurai code of ethics and feeding birds. It is soon apparent to the audience that his boss does not have his best interest at heart, but Ghost Dog remains faithful to the end, or does he? My lips are sealed ! But it is a fantastic take on the samurai genre done in an urban setting. Ghost Dog is available on iTunes and Vudu for 3.99.

Yojimbo (1961)

The story follows a nameless ronin (samurai without a master) who comes across two rival businessmen fighting for control of the village town’s gambling scene. The ronin takes a fake name calling himself Sanjuro, while convincing the two businessmen to hire him as their bodyguard against one another unsuspectingly. Once the plot thickens, Sanjurio sets his plan in motion to destroy both businessmen freeing the village of their foul operation. The film Yojimbo sets the prototype for the amoral character we see in today’s western and action movies. Yojimbo can be streamed on HBO Max and Prime for 3.99.

Kill Bill: Volume 1 and 2 (2003/ 2004)

Quentin Tarantino’s epic homage to samurai and martial arts films all summed up in these two movies about a merciless assassin identified as “The Bride,” played by Uma Thurman, who retires from the violent lifestyle to settle down and marry. The assassin group’s boss double-crosses her and takes out a hit to kill her, never to be free from the lifestyle. As we learn in volume 1, she survives the brutal attack and sets out on a path of vengeance. Kill Bill 2 is a continuation of this path until she reaches her boss “Bill,” played by the late David Carridine. This film is one of my favorites! Well, except part 2, it got a bit slow for me, and who knows when volume 3 will come out! Never! I am still sore about that, by the way! Anyway, you can catch Kill Bill Vol 1 and 2 on Hulu, TBS, Sling, and TNT. Enjoy the trailers for both films:

Zatoichi (2003)

It is a film and tv show franchise that is well known in Japan than in America. The series spans from 1962 to 1989 following a blind swordsman on a series of feudal Japan adventures. For this article’s purposes, we are discussing the 2003 film that revitalizes the character in a new context. In the movie, lead character Zatoichi aids a pair of geisha sisters to gain vengeance on a group of criminals who murdered their parents. You can catch the 2003 film on Amazon Prime (2.99), iTunes (3.99), and Youtube (9.99)

Samaurai Assassin (1965)

The film follows hero Tsuruchiyo Niro, a ronin who discovers he is the illegitimate son of a powerful nobleman but doesn’t know his father’s name. He joins a group of revolutionaries who intend to kill a Japanese Emperor to prove himself as an honorable samurai and in hopes of revealing his father’s identity. The plot seems out there, but this film is based on an actual event known as Sakuradamon incident of 1932, which lead to the end of the samurai in Japan. I am not sure where to stream this film, but it can be found online somewhere

Here are a few more samurai film suggestions from mojo.com

Busido Blues ” The Best Samurai Movies to Watch Before Playing Ghost of Tsushima”

(Librarian Ninja Girl)

Lovecraft Country Now Streaming on HBO

Photo from HBO.com

The time has come for the beloved book to come to life in the anticipated HBO series! Lovecraft Country follows its main character Atticus Black, his friend Letitia, and his Uncle George as they embark on a road trip through Jim Crow South to find Atticus’s father. He has gone missing in search of his family’s ancestral home.

What makes this series unique is that the main character is an African American sci-fi fan who reads and loves the stories of HP Lovecraft, despite the racist connotations with such stories and poems as “The Horror at Red Hook,” and “On the Creation of Niggers.” Atticus is aware of this but remains a Fan of his stories and imagines himself as the main character and hero of his novels and other works by similar authors. Especially as he searches for his missing father. The series combines the struggle of the Civil Rights era with Sci-Fi themes.

This series will be something to talk about and the issues raised to revisit! The first episode premiered on August 16th. Be sure to check it out on Prime Video with an HBO subscription or all HBO outlets and discuss with your friends and open your minds. As well as read the book of the same title by Matt Ruff.

Happy Watching , Librarian Ninja Girl

What to Watch : Korean Drama/ Suspense Series “W”

photo from Animo.com

Ok, so I have not always watched Korean drama television shows or movies like some of my friends. I have listened to some k pop bands, but the phenomenon never interests me too much. One day last week, one of my co-workers introduced me to this Korean television series called “W” on the Rakuten( Viki.Com) site. This streaming service houses a collection of free movies and television series from Asian countries. My co-worker’s description of this series was a girl who gets trapped into a comic book series written by her father becomes one of the main characters? She was not too far off from the description luckily lol.

“W” is about a popular webtoon series in Korea. The majority of the story takes place in the fictitious world of the webtoon and the real world. The series centers around its main character Kang Chul (Lee-Jong Suk), who is a young athlete competing in the 2004 Korean Olympic Games. After his victory in the Olympic games, he returns home to find that his entire family has been murdered! He is soon accursed if this murder and publicized as an athlete gone bad! Years later, out of prison, he vows to find his family’s killer and establishes a syndicated crime network television show called “W.”

How does the real world play into this web series? The writer of “W,” Oh Seong-Woo, is an alcoholic and struggling artist preparing to finish the series and be free from the toll it has taken on his career and life. As he puts the finishing touches of killing off the main character Kang, he is suddenly pulled into the fictitious world of “W” by Kang himself.

When Oh Seong- Woo is pulled into the scene; he decides to kill his character once and for all. After Kang is stabbed by Oh Seong-Woo, simultaneously his daughter Oh Yeon- Joo unsuspecting of what has happened visits her father Oh Seong- Woo’s writing studio. In a desperate attempt to save his life, Kang pulls Oh Yeon -Joo into the comic series. Frantic and afraid, Oh Yeon – Joo, a surgeon, begins to save Kang’s life. Once she manages to save him from dying, their two worlds start on a collision course of love and danger at every turn.

Whew! That was a complicated explanation, but the 2016 series created by Sang -Jae Jung is wonderfully written and relatable for any comic book writer who has become consumed with work. Some of the story plots are wacky and have that k drama romantic hallmark feel to it. The ironic thing is in the series, the audience grows sick of the sappy storylines and wants it geared toward suspense and action in which I can relate.

“W” is only available on Viki.com and includes English subtitles by the site staff and fans. I highly recommend this series! I wish it were an actual comic or graphic novel I could read, to be honest! Aside from the blur lines between the real-world and comic world, the webtoon itself has a great storyline.

Happy Watching !

(Librarian Ninja Girl)

What to Watch: Gordon Ramsay’s Uncharted on the National Geographic Channel.

Photo from National Geographic Channel.com

We all know Gordon Ramsay from such shows as Hell’s Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares, and so on. Now Ramsay has taken on a new challenge by globetrotting around the world, learning about new cuisines, and going head to head with local chiefs in a “friendly” competition in his new show Uncharted. I started watching this show when it premiered last year in 2019, and I love it! If you’re a fan of Gordon Ramsay, you will enjoy seeing his adventurous and curious side. Also, Ramsay is not in charge this time around! Instead, he is learning how to catch, cook, and put together local specialized dishes from each global location.

For those of you who do not know who Gordon Ramsay is? Allow me to introduce him briefly. Gordon Ramsay is a Scottish/ British chef from the UK. When he was younger, he wanted to be a famous rugby football player, but an unexpected injury dashed his dreams as a professional athlete. After coming to terms with this loss, he went to college to major in hotel management. This change in careers set the course for his career path in becoming a professional chef. At age 35, after training and working in restaurants, Ramsay opened his first one called what else but Gordon Ramsay! In 1998 he received the convenient Michelin star, which is like getting an Oscar but for food.

Now Ramsay owns multiple restaurants in the UK, Paris, New York, and Las Vegas. His cooking style is upscale European/ American Cuisine. From his notoriety, Ramsay became a tv star on the top related FOX show “Hell’s Kitchen, Master Chef, Master Chef Jr, and The F-word. Also, in the UK, his appearances include Gordon’s Great Escape and Ultimate Cookery Course. His latest show on the National Geographic Channel is called Uncharted.

As I have mentioned before, the television series Uncharted is a globetrotting and educational show that centers around food, travel, and culture. One of my favorite episodes is Ramsay traveling to Tasmania, Australia, to learn about the food culture by catching spiny tail lobsters, trout, Wallabee, and pure honey. He learns how to prepare these local dishes and cooks them up against the local chef in the region. This show can be described as a cooking competition and travel series. Another favorite episode is when he traveled to Laos, Vietnam, to learn how to catch the local fish and cook with Vietnamese spices to prepare a local dish for the monks! I must admit seeing Ramsay nervous was a delight! As in his previous shows, he is the one in control whipping chefs in shape in his competitive shows. Uncharted is now in its second season, but you can catch season one on the National Geographic Channel, Disney +, Hulu, and other streaming platforms. His other shows, such as Kitchen Nightmares, are located on the FOX channel, Hulu, Netflix, BBC America, etc…

Happy Watching, ( Librarian Ninja Girl )

ESPN’s 30 for 30 docuseries will feature new insight into the life of Bruce Lee.

photo from Hollywood Reporter.com

ESPN’s 30 for 30 docuseries highlights crucial moments in sports history. But this is not just any old sports history docuseries. It features groundbreaking and in-depth interviews from sports and entertainment heavyweights on the figure that is featured. Last week I saw the Micheal Jordan one, and it was pretty damn good. Some people may think, why is ESPN featuring Bruce Lee? Wasn’t he an entertainer or film icon?

First and foremost, he was a Martial Arts instructor who believed anyone could learn martial arts regardless of race or ethnicity. One could say he brought this traditional fighting style into the American counter-culture. Before I get too deep, let’s focus on the article at hand.

According to Collider.com, the series will air June 7th and provide an in-depth look into Bruce Lee’s life and career as it pertains to him becoming one of the first Asian movie stars in Hollywood, as well as battling racism in America and bringing martial arts into the forefront. Aside from this, he dealt with criticism from abroad and understanding the way of life through his personal philosophies.

This series also includes the controversial 1972 Kung Fu series, in which Lee was passed over for David Carradine because producers feared American’s would not be ready for a lead Asian actor. Also, there will be archival footage and new interviews from those who knew Lee personally like his widow Linda Lee Cardwell and his daughter Shannon Lee, who oversees the Bruce Lee Estate and Foundation. Be sure to check out the trailer below and series on ESPN June 7th at 9pm ET.

Be well, Be Safe!

(Librarian Ninja Girl )

Spike Lee Tackles Vietnam in the New Netflix Series: Da 5 Bloods

If you have seen any Spike Lee film, then you know it is full of controversy. Also, various camera angles that will leave you dizzy or annoyed? Regardless you cannot deny the man is a great storyteller and has a vision for his films. His latest project is with Netflix, yes I said Netflix! I know I can’t believe it either? According to Nerdist.Com, Spike Lee’s new project Da 5 Bloods is about a group of four African American vets Paul (Delroy Lindo), Otis (Clarke Peters), Eddie (Norm Lewis) and Melvin (Isiah Whitlock, Jr.) returning to Vietnam in search of their slain squad leader (Chadwick Boseman) with the promised of finding buried treasure. I know the concept may seem either wacky or brilliant depending on how big of a Spike Lee fan you are? But I am willing to give it a shot!

Da 5 Bloods trailer was released today on Netflix. From the trailer, you can see actual historical footage from the 1969 Vietnam War. Lee continues the vintage style in this series by incorporating the characters in and out of a documentary-like aspect. The Vietnam War was one of the most controversial wars in American history, leaving behind a permanent scar upon veterans to this day. In particular African American veterans who came back from the war still seen as inferior people and criticized for their involvement in the war. It seems Lee will tackle some of these issues in the new series, which is set for release on Netflix on July 12th. Check out the trailer below :

( Librarian Ninja Girl)