Category Archives: Movies

Movie: Merlin starring Sam Neill (1998, fantasy, medieval, humor)

Neill gives a great performance here, as do many of the other characters, including the goofy Martin Short. One of the best adaptations of Arthurian lore I’ve ever watched.


Title: Merlin ( 1998 ) (YT link) Uploaded by Sonic The Hedgehog 160.

Merlin starring Sam Neill – (1998) 5 stars

Run time: 3 hours. I loved this movie. This extra long production had something that you don’t see very often in today’s movies, namely acting. Sam Neill was excellent as the famed sorcerer Merlin. Many of the major and secondary roles were well played, both on the good guy and bad guy side. For the first half of this movie, I thought Martin Short as Fitch was going to steal the show. The story both stuck with and veered away from the traditional tales, but this was fine for me. They re-imagined quite a few concepts, but they did this well in that the producers established a specific mood and kept that going all the way through. Special effects, especially visual effects, were also excellent for a movie that was originally made for TV. Even some thorny subjects, such as adultery and incest, were dealt with in plausible ways and in keeping with medieval lore. The only character that I feel could have been portrayed better was Mordred. He came across as the most generic and plastic of the entire lot. Everything else gets a thumbs-up from me.

Movie: Five Centimeters Per Second (2007, Animation, Romance)

Beautiful movie. Highly recommended.


YT description: Told in three interconnected segments, we follow a young man named Takaki through his life as cruel winters, cold technology, and finally, adult obligations and responsibility converge to test the delicate petals of love.

Title: 5 Centimeters per Second (English Dub) (YT link) Uploaded by The Otaku TV.

Five Centimeters Per Second by CoMix Wave Films – (2007) 5 stars

Run time: 1 hour, 2 minutes. Ah, the joys and heartaches of young love. When that youthful crush is the most important thing in a teenager’s life. This video is two short episodes of a longer work, which put me off a little as it has no true ending, but it was a very good change of pace from what I’m used to watching. Deep, deep inside my soul, there is a yearning for me to see twin flames meet, fall in love and live happily ever after. The first story left me wanting to see the shy boy and the shy girl open up to one another and just let their love blossom. During the second story, I was thinking, no, no, no, don’t let the shy guy end up with this new girl, not when he’s got the shy girl living so far away and still in love with him. I usually pass on these fluffy, teen romance sort of flicks, but this one kept my interest both with the superb animation style and the profound emotional impact I felt. I even have a wallpaper on my computer showing the moped parked next to the pink blossoms, which I did not know came from this movie until I saw the scene. I really wanted to see a resolution here! Regardless of the open ending, this might just be the best animated love story I’ve ever seen.

Movie: The Hunt For Gollum (2012, Medieval, Fantasy, LOTR)

YT description: Return to Middle-earth with unofficial LOTR prequel The Hunt For Gollum – based on the appendices of The Lord Of The Rings. This redux version with enhanced sound and picture is the final director’s cut of this award winning independent adaptation.

Provided free to the Internet, this award winning film from indie film makers in the UK was inspired by Peter Jackon’s film trilogy and aims to dramatize an additional chapter in the Middle-earth saga for fans of the films & books. It was made on a budget of $5000 by a large team of volunteers in England and Wales. No original footage, sound or music was used in this film. The entire film was shot or created by the production team from scratch.

It is released not-for-profit to the Internet.

Starring UK actors Adrian Webster as Strider, Patrick O’Connor as Mithrandir, Arin Alldridge as Arithir & Gareth Brough as the voice of Gollum

Official site:

Title: The Hunt For Gollum – Full Movie Redux (YT link) Uploaded by LOTR Prequels.

The Hunt For Gollum directed by Chris Brouchard – (2012) 5 stars

Run time: 38 minutes. This production is as entertaining as another Lord Of The Rings fan film I recently watched, titled Born Of Hope. The scenery is incredible, the acting is above average and the costumes and characters range from very good to excellent. It is a slower paced movie, as most of it centers on the protagonist first looking for Gollum, and later carrying the creature around in a sack. The plot is very weak thanks to that premise. The battle scenes are a little contrived, such as when Aragorn easily overpowered a fellow ranger, or when he single-handedly dispatched a platoon of Orcs. Those instances can be forgiven, as the movie does very well in maintaining the lore of LOTR that has been established ever since Tolkien first published his books.

Movie: Born Of Hope (2009, LOTR, Medieval, Fan Film)

YT description: Born of Hope is an independent feature film inspired by the Lord of the Rings and produced by Actors at Work Productions in the UK.

Thanks to Chris Bouchard and the H4G team for putting the film here. For more films by the makers of this and BoH extras please visit.

Check them out for more videos regarding the film including the audio commentary.…

A scattered people, the descendants of storied sea kings of the ancient West, struggle to survive in a lonely wilderness as a dark force relentlessly bends its will toward their destruction. Yet amidst these valiant, desperate people, hope remains. A royal house endures unbroken from father to son.

This 70 minute original drama is set in the time before the War of the Ring and tells the story of the Dúnedain, the Rangers of the North, before the return of the King. Inspired by only a couple of paragraphs written by Tolkien in the appendices of the Lord of the Rings we follow Arathorn and Gilraen, the parents of Aragorn, from their first meeting through a turbulent time in their people’s history.

Title: Born of Hope – Full Movie (YT link) Uploaded by LOTR Prequels.

Born Of Hope directed by Kate Madison – (2009) 5 stars

Run time: 1 hour, 11 minutes. I started watching this movie some time ago, but at that moment I was looking for something with more action and special effects. I’ve come back to it now while taking it in as a drama, which it more closely represents. The big problem is that it is under the Lord Of The Rings banner. Most people will want to see it as a clone of the popular Hobbit movies, instead of as a medium budget fan film. As a fan film, I can forgive some of the roughly sequenced fight scenes, the limited number of actors when presenting a large battle, and the main premise of this movie as a, yuck, medieval romance. I mean, the last thing I want to see in a box office LOTR movie is the overused plot device of a love triangle between the hero, who is oblivious and dumb to the dark-haired heroine fighting at his side, and who becomes smitten with a stocky blonde who can’t really swing a sword, but she can, amazingly pick up a long sword with one hand. (That’s a big fail, by the way. Those things are heavy! That’s why they’re two-handed weapons!) Anyway, the smirky Arathorn is fine for the lead, and his blonde love interest is attractive in a motherly, pillar of the community sort of way. The secondary and contrived romance between two of the supporting characters was a waste of time. Past that, the director and actors did a very good job in presenting a more or less realistic view of life among warrior clans, based on what I’ve learned of them. Normally, there is a lot more infighting and competition for marriages, but the scope here was very narrow with a backdrop of looming threats and approaching Shit Hits The Fan portending doom. This is a great movie for a fan film.

Movie: Korath, Dawn Of Darkness (2015, medieval, short film)

YT description: Korath – Dawn of Darkness – Complete Season One

An original medieval fantasy short film.

Produced for your entertainment by:

Title: Korath – Dawn of Darkness – Complete Season One – Medieval Fantasy (YT link) Uploaded by Dead End Entertainment.

Korath, Dawn Of Darkness Season 1 – (2015) 3 stars

Run time: 25 minutes. I guess these were really short episodes strung together to create a half hour compilation. Overall this is a very amateur production based more on costuming and action than it is on story or character development. The costumes are beautiful, by the way, and even overkill, in a way. The action isn’t that good, as the moves are choppy and meant to come across as cinematic and grand. These are people who have never fought with weapons, and they just can’t make the swings and moves look credible. Here’s a tip: learn how to fight with a weapon, study a lot of fight videos, or watch some of the LARPing combat, and then film a better sequence. As far as the characters go, the rogue had a lot of potential for a strong, silent type, I really liked the elf’s bad accent and demeanor, but I hated his cartoon weapon, and the sorceress / witch was such an unconvincing actress I would have cast someone else for that part. The story… Well, what story? The production team didn’t really get that far. We got fragments from a video game.

Movie: Blood Reign – Curse Of The Yoma (2006, Animation, Horror)

2 episodes of the series, each one about 38 minutes long.


Title: Blood Reign Curse of the Yoma English Dub Anime Movie (YT link) Uploaded by William Afton.

Blood Reign – Curse Of The Yoma – (2006) 4 stars

Run time: 2 episodes of approximately 38 minutes each. While the animation style is a little dated, there is a lot here to make these two episodes a worthwhile watch. We have an Asian-inspired mythology circulating around the two main characters, embellishing the worn out plot of two kids who grew up together only to become mortal enemies as adults. Ho-hum, not that same plot again! Anyway, while the characters are fairly stoic and one-dimensional, the creatures are diverse and the violence really, really intense. A few times I saw twists I could use in my fiction, such as demons eating their way out of corpses, or demons dragging corpses into the ground. That’s exactly the kind of story I’m working on right now!

Movie: Afro Samurai starring Samuel Jackson (2007, Animation)

This is the director’s cut, extra bloody, full length animated movie, derived from a 2007 Spike TV series. Also check out my post on Dante’s Inferno starring Mark Hamill.


Description from Amazon: Afro Samurai (voiced by Academy Award® nominated Samuel L. Jackson) is an epic tale of a black samurai’s hunt for Justice (voiced by Ron Perlman: Hellboy Alien Resurrection ) who murdered his father. With music score by The RZA ( Kill Bill Wu Tang Clan) Afro Samurai blends traditional Japanese culture, funky technology and hip hop to create a brutally fresh entertainment experience.

Title: Afro samurai directors cut HD (YT link) Uploaded by Chroin.

Afro Samurai starring Samuel Jackson – (2007) 4 stars

Run time: 1 hour, 52 minutes. If you’re a non-thinker action buff, this is a movie for you. There are sword battles galore in this movie, with a plot as flimsy as a string of cheese. The artistry of this movie is the brooding main character Number 2, and in the many creative ways the animators thought up for him to chop up his enemies. If you like movies that make you think, you won’t get very far here. Past the animation style, there is no substance. Dude fights one opponent after another, with the nonsensical idea of using medieval swordplay against modern weapons, and somehow winning. Also, the tired plot of a hero having to fight his former master or childhood chums is taken to the level of the absurd, as Number 2 basically has to kill every person he ever knew when he was a child. But, if you put this into its genre of being inspired by martial arts movies from the 1970s and 1980s, this movie does carry the banner well. It is very good as an action flick and very good as an anime.