A little bit more this week which I’m hoping is a good sign of a return to normal. I’ll start with the best, Gundala: Rise of a Hero. This Indonesian film is based on a comic book and is the first in a planned movie universe, ala the MCU or DCEU. This film is a lot more grittier than anything you’ll see in the MCU, think more of the Netflix Marvel shows. It’s more street level fighting and not space aliens and effects. But that’s ok because I totally dug it. It opens with a young boy losing his father in a union uprising. His mother walks out on him and he is raised on the streets. He has a fear of rain/lightning and gets struck by lightning giving him powers. With criminals burning down markets and politicians being corrupted by a gangster, they need a hero and the adult lead becomes that hero using lightning to regain his strength and heal. It’s hand to hand fighting and not lasers and robots. Think more Daredevil/The Punisher and less Avengers: Endgame. It even has a mid-credits sequence! Spoiled American audiences might write it off as a poor knockoff, but if you like Asian action movies you’ll like it. I look forward to more in the universe.

Second we have 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. This is a restored Blu-ray of the 1916 classic film based on the Jules Verne story. This silent film was “The First Submarine Photoplay Ever Filmed” and I gotta say, for a film that’s over 100 years old, it’s amazing what they pulled off. I had never actually seen it and sure some of it is comical by today’s standards, but the camera movement and underwater effects for that time period are outstanding. It must have been mind blowing to people watching it for the first time. You have characters in full diving gear on the sea floor! It was shot on location in the Bahaman Islands and tells the story of Captain Nemo out for revenge. It also introduces the story of Civil War soldiers crashing on an island because of a balloon mishap. The stories collide when Nemo, who’s already taken on passengers after ramming them, makes it to the island where the soldiers are and meets a mysterious island woman. I believe it’s slightly different from Verne’s story (it’s been a long time since I’ve read it). The film is a classic in every sense of the word and this new restored version is a must own for film nerds.

Third is Home From Home: Chronicle of a Vision. This 230 minute epic is a black & white look at Germans leaving for South America in the mid-19th century. It focuses on two brothers, one Jakob, wants out and learns about other lands through books. His brother Gustav has fallen on hard times like most others. Jakob gets himself thrown in jail and the film spans events afterwards. It’s a beautifully shot film, but I don’t know if it’s something I’d watch again. I didn’t realize it was as long as it was when I first popped it in and had to finish it the next day. There are little peeks of color in the film to highlight events involving Jakob and the backdrop is beautiful and is a character in itself. I’m not familiar with the filmmaker or his previous projects this is based off of, but if you are, you’ll probably love this. It’s not bad, it’s just long and you need the right mindset to sit down and watch a period piece nowadays.

Next we have Hawaii Five-0: The Final Season. I only watch the show when it comes my way to review despite overall enjoying it. It was a show both my parents enjoyed watching when it aired though. I don’t think I realized it was ending until the DVD set came my way and I’m sad to see it go. It was one of the few CBS shows I didn’t mind watching. It’s pretty standard TV with good looking people solving crimes but the backdrop (Hawaii) certainly adds to it. There are some additions and subtractions to the cast in the final season. Episodes include a tunnel collapsing, McGarrett’s mom might have turned, a crashed plane from the 1980s is found, a driveless car is involved in a crash and heroin, a missile takes out a helicopter, a crossover episode with Magnum, a rancher is killed, Danny is abducted and Steve solves a 10 year old case his father left him. I enjoyed the show overall and if you did too, pick up the final season.

Last we have NCIS: The Seventeenth Season. Seventeen seasons in you know whether or not you’re a fan. I’m not, but my parents are. They watch it every week where I only watch it on DVD to review. The season starts out with Ziva and Gibbs because of her return after years of being considered dead. Other episodes include assaults on homeless veterans, a Petty Officer’s son is murdered, a musician in a NAVY band is killed, an F-18 crashes and the pilot disappears, another petty officer is killed but it’s the same way his parents were killed a decade previously, gunmen enter a diner, a man claims to be a Pearl Harbor survivor. If you are a fan, pick up season 17.

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