Review: Castlevania Season II

Castlevania has always been a double edged sword, leave you yearning for more content but short enough for you to binge in a single sitting, which is what we did. Season II of the Netflix original, is just as good as the original maybe better. At the end of Season I Trevor, Alucard and Sypha group up to take down big bad Dracula. It was fast, bloody and focused on the action, keeping us at the edge of our seat. Season II on the other had pays more attention to the story and character development. For the uninitiated, you might know why the Belmont name bears significance. A drunk Trevor Belmont just shows up and happens to be good at hunting demons. We finally get to see the lore behind the Belmont family and their significance throughout history. The Belmont hold is depicted a wondrous trove of knowledge, one that could rival the vast knowledge accumulated by Dracula himself. Relationships are flushed out to great extent, be it human, vampire or half-blood and that’s what kept us hooked. The trio of heroes get brief moments void of action, unlike the first Season, it is at these moments that we get to experience their witty humor and empathy for each other.

In Season II we see a different version of Dracula, one where he lets his generals dictate the direction of battle, and where there is a struggle of power there is betrayal. With the intent of not spoiling too much of the story, we’d advice you pay attention to the new characters, especially the forge masters and the generals as they play a significant role in the story. We do get to see a glimpse of Dracula’s true power. Wounded and dejected he may be, but he is still the strongest character in the realm. Fans of the Castlevania games are going to love the representation of characters like Carmilla, Hector and Godbrand. The morning star is actually a weapon from the game that you upgrade to and the castles engine is a direct reference to Symphony of the Night There is a lot of politics, seduction and mind games its more Game of Thrones than you think, well mostly because of the similarity between Carmilla and Cersei.

Now let’s talk about why all of this is set into motion. Inescapably Dracula’s thirst for vengeance against the town of Wallachia turns in to a hatred of all human kind and proceeds as such. This part of the story could be explained better but the only two humans in Dracula’s court pick up the slack. The last few episodes include some of the best action animation in anime. Fast paces fluid and it isn’t another Michel Bay movie where everything blows up. Every move has purpose and every weapon has its limits. Absolutely perfect. The final “Boss Battle” is beyond satisfying fans of Dracula himself get to see him overpower his foes with ease and the trio finds purpose together and give it all they’ve got. This is a must watch and absolutely worth your time.

Castlevania Season II

Cast: Richard Armitage as Trevor Belmont, Graham McTavish as Dracula, Emily Swallow as Lisa Tepes, James Callis as Alucard, Theo James as Hector, Adetokumboh M’Cormack as Isaac, Jaime Murray as Carmilla, Peter Stormare as Godbrand

Director: Sam Deats, Ryoichi Uchikoshi (co-director)

La La Land

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Having promised a friend earlier, I reluctantly agreed to watch La La Land. I grew up watching Fred Astaire musicals, hence the lack of interest in modern day musicals. The trailer was a tad bit boring, and the critique felt biased. It’s not hard to bring out emotions in me while during a film, its not even that difficile to bring a tear. However, every once in a while a film comes along the way that leaves me overwhelmed and giddy; La La Land is such. Written and directed by Damien Chazelle, who is most known for Whiplash. has out himself with La La Land.

I wouldn’t be surprised if it made it to Broadway. They don’t make movies like this anymore. It was very ballsy of Damien Chazelle to have the passion to make this original musical with a realistic ending. Every moment within the direction, including Mandy Moore’s choreography are spectacular.

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling have already been known for having an impeccable on screen chemistry to together, but this is by far the best. These two were perfectly cast. Their performance is charming and raw that makes it work, and it reflects throughout.

There’s so much theatre and drama in the score, it’s lovable, that you want to stand up and applaud after every song as it carries the story forward. For those who are aware of Justin Hurwitz works (Whiplash), he doesn’t fail to bedazzle us yet again and the theme score is just hauntingly beautiful.

Striking cinematography coupled with beautiful sets help weave the screenplay together. The cinemascope presentation lets the audience experience movement better.

I honestly, feel like every person should go through that experience of not being able to predict and not miss on the movie like I almost did. Its critically phenomenal, for the love of art, drama, music and film. Chazelle tells a great story through incredible shots, music, dialogue making sure it is not a waste of a lovely night.