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E3 2018 Recap & Personal Hightlights

Howdy ladies and gents, how’s it going? It is currently June and we’ve just experienced what can be described as the Christmas-like period for al gamers known as E3. And even though I haven’t been feeling up to doing much blogging these days, there was no way I wasn’t going to comment on the recent happenings in video game news and reveals. So what I’ll do is discuss the conferences I saw and enjoyed and talk about the pros and cons, and then highlight my favourite games below. Okay with all that out

Press Conferences (Microsoft, Sony, Ubisoft & Nintendo)

With the press conferences I watched what was relevant to me, so naturally, I skipped EA because why not? I don’t play Bethesda games so I skipped that one (not that I hate them, I just don’t play their games). I’m not a PC guy so I skipped that show and since I knew most of Square Enix’s material would show up in other places I skipped that one too.

Firstly you have Microsoft, the press conference that I didn’t have much hope for, I mean I had a feeling Microsoft would show us something, but I feel like they went far and beyond with the conference just dishing out game after game after game with additional information about Game Pass, new developers they’d acquired and stuff like that. And while not all of the reveals were exclusive, the fact that they even got shown at all was really fun and compelling for the games I wanted to see. I really feel like Microsoft took what Sony did before and just blasted us with games and I loved it. And sure not all of them had immediate release dates, but to know they existed made me happy. Starting off the conference with a look at a new Halo game, Halo Infinite was pretty cool, and from there we were bombarded with game announcements with some of my favourites being the super cool-looking Sekio: Shadows Die Twice, Devil May Cry 5, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the Cuphead DLC, Jump Force and the gorgeous-looking Ori and the Will of the Wisps. Also seeing stuff like a new Battletoads or another Kingdom Hearts 3 trailer was cool, and Forza Horizon 4 looks absolutely amazing

Ubisoft was also really good, well, for the stuff I liked anyway. The way they started with the Just Dance sequence was strangely interesting at first but then went on for too long and after a while, I was wondering when they were gonna end it. The stuff I liked started with the Mario and Rabbids Donkey Kong DLC which looked really fun and I’m definitely considering picking it up later in the year, seeing Trials Rising was really cool as I really liked playing Trials Fusion a few years ago at uni and Beyond Good and Evil 2 used another cinematic trailer, but it was far more story-driven and cinematic and made me way more interested in the game than I was last year. Starlink: Battle for Atlas was another game I saw last year and liked the look of and the inclusion of Star Fox has only made my interest increase, but the real surprise was Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, I honestly wasn’t expecting the game to be all that intriguing, but I was quite taken back by the visuals, gameplay and story elements. I haven’t played an Assassin’s Creed game yet but I really am curious to see how this one turns out later on in the year.

As for Sony I’m not gonna lie, they disappointed me this year. I understand what they were trying to do with their stylised presentation and wanting to focus on specific major games. But the way it was presented was pretty bad, it just felt clunky, slow and took a little while to get going. That being said, when it did focus on the games we were treated to some good stuff. Last of Us 2 looked very compelling and brutal and Death Stranding still has me with more questions than answers but I enjoyed what I saw. But the two games that really stood out to me was Ghosts of Tsushima and Spider-Man. With Tsushima, we had the cinematic trailer last year but no gameplay, but this year we saw the game in action and it looked gorgeous with such striking camera angles, lighting, beautiful art and interesting story and gameplay elements. I love samurai stuff so to have a big budget game tackle this kind of subject matter has me hooked. And then there’s Spider-Man which has only gotten better each time its been shown and even though the game’s out in September, I still found myself gushing about the new story and gameplay elements. But the real surprise was Resident Evil 2, after hearing about the remake for so long, to see it finally revealed was great.

I thought Nintendo did well, but I have seen online that the reception on the Direct was very mixed, some loved it, while many were disappointed. So let me just say this, I think some people expected a lot and were disappointed by the lack of appearances from certain games like Yoshi and Metroid Prime 4, which were both teased last year but have had no additional details. Animal Crossing fans didn’t get their new game and none of the rumours surrounding the Star Fox racing game, F-Zero and some other stuff didn’t come to light… So yeah if you’re not overly hyped for Smash and some of the other game reveals then I can understand the disappointment. That being said, I LOVE Smash Bros., and while I didn’t expect it to be covered for so long, it’s pretty much the big release of 2018 so I was delighted to see so much of it. The rest of the Direct had some cool stuff especially with Daemon x Machina, Super Mario Party, Fire Emblem: Three Houses and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 DLC, and third-party games in that montage. And while the leaks definitely took away a lot of the surprise, I was still happy to see Dragon Ball FighterZ and Overcooked 2 shown. The Treehouse segment really did well to highlight Pokemon Let’s Go in action and good gravy the nostalgia started to hit me hard when I saw Viridian Forest and Pewter City, the visual enhancements are insane from visual aesthetic to all the minor and major detail in the animation and art direction, but it was really the music that grabbed me, good gravy I need to get this game so I can listen to the music.

My Game Highlights

Now I’m just going to list all of the games that stood out to me or that I am super looking forward to from now until next, and this was a tough list to construct in some ways but I think I have a solid list here.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

This was easily the first game to jump out at me and grab my interest. I LOVE action adventure games and samurai stuff, and the fact that it is coming from the developers of Dark Souls makes me happy and nervous. I’m excited for the gameplay that looks fast, intense, methodical and satisfying with movement and combat, but because it is coming from FromSoftware, their games are hard as hell and I dunno if I want to jump into that kind of game just to have my ass handed to me on multiple occasions. We’ll see. but the game does look hella cool.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

I think I recall seeing this game last year and I thought it looked good, but I don’t recall it looking this great. Ori and the Blind Forest is a game I’ve been wanting to play for a few years now, but this game just looks like it’s on another level with its sense of scope, colour scheme, lighting and overall beautiful and atmospheric visuals. I know graphics aren’t everything but those graphics really are stunning and it just looks even better in movement in gameplay with the combat and platforming. I’ll be keeping my eye on this one for sure.

Jump Force

Just a few weeks ago I was talking to my friend about Jump Super Stars and Jump Ultimate Stars on the DS and how I had hoped that they’d make another game, and while this isn’t a 2D Smash Bros-like fighter like the games I just mentioned, it is a crossover fighting game featuring the noteworthy characters from Shonen Jump in an arena-based fighting game and I’m down with the idea. When I saw the trailer and saw Naruto and then the appearance of my boys Luffy, Goku and Frieza I got very giddy. Now so far from what I’ve seen this game has potential with the super over-the-top attacks, scene transitions and fast combat speed, but the movement also looks very choppy and animations needing a lot of refinement. I know this is an E3 build of the game so they have plenty of time to polish things up, I just want something fun to play with some of my favourite anime characters.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

I’ve only become a fan of the new Tomb Raider games last summer after playing the first game last summer, I still haven’t played Rise yet, but I will. Either way, I really liked what I saw of this new game especially when it comes to the story. To see Lara is such different mindset, so hasty, self-centred and causing chaos in pursuit of her own interests is very intriguing to me. Beyond that, I am curious to explore this new world that is apparently much bigger than the previous games and I really want to try out all those new combat mechanics. I was pretty stealthy when it came to playing the 2013 reboot, but there are so many more options for distraction, camouflage and stealth kills which are so much more brutal than before. I’m very excited about this one.

Kingdom Hearts 3

What can I say about Kingdom Hearts 3 that hasn’t been said already? I want it, I need it, sure it sucks that we have to wait until January 2019 to play it, but with the amount of the game that we’ve seen I think its close completion so we can actually play the bloody thing after all the years of waiting. I didn’t expect there to be multiple trailers released, I watched them all and the game still looks fantastic and crazy with the Keyblade transformations and summon abilities, but it was the new worlds revealed that really caught my eye. With Frozen it was an inevitability that it’d make its way into KH considering how big that film is not only for Disney but just in general. I think the world and characters look great, but I was actually more interested in the return to the Pirates of the Caribbean world with Jack Sparrow and all of those characters look so much prettier and the world having such a great sense of scope.

Resident Evil 2 Remake

I had heard a lot of talk about this remake for a while and I wondered when we’d get around to seeing it, I just didn’t expect that it would drop during Sony’s press conference. The game looks SO good, I don’t even play Resident Evil games, but I’ve appreciated them from afar and have waited for this particular remake for a while and man it is delivering with its modern gameplay aspects, but still keeping the spirit of the original and horror elements intact.

Ghosts of Tsushima

If it wasn’t for two more games below this would be my game of E3. Last year when this game was teased I knew it’d be something to look out for, but I did not expect something on this level of polish and detail. The game looks absolutely stunning with the lighting, camera work and fluid animation and the combat is just how I’d imagine a samurai fight going down with fights that have precision, weight and timing, what they showed in that E3 demo was so beautiful. This is the samurai game I’ve always wanted, and at the same time, it is the one I didn’t know I wanted as well. I watched a panel with some of the developers on the game and it was so insightful and you could see that these people really care about the source material they are drawing from and want to make a deeply captivating and immersive experience that pays homage to Japan and the samurai films it draws from.

Spider-Man

Oh Spider-Man, what can be said that hasn’t been said already? It looks great, the web-slinging looks amazing, the combat looks varied and creative with what you can do upfront or in a stealthy manner. I am seriously digging the E3 trailer that showed off The Raft prison and several of Spidey’s key villains including Shocker, Rhino, Scorpion, Vulture and this mystery guy we couldn’t see off-screen. I am just in love with the game with everything I see and hear about the game, I just need it to be September so I can grab this game already haha.

Fire Emblem: Three Kingdoms

I remember when this game was announced last year and I was really hyped to see what a home console Fire Emblem game would look like after playing Awakening and Fates on 3DS and Three Kingdoms looks really good. It is essentially taking the core mechanics from the 3DS games and upgrading them not only in the visuals but with some cool extra game mechanics. The visuals look lovely and I like the new sense of scope and verticality with the environments that obviously couldn’t be done on 3DS but can be done in HD. I also love how the transition from the grid to watching your attack animations also has multiple soldiers on the battlefield with you enhancing the feeling of your fights feeling like a major battle. And I’m really liking the new squad formation attacks and special moves that you can perform now, oh Spring 2019 can’t come fast enough haha.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Holy crap, like dear god, what even happened when this part of the Direct dropped? I had so many hopes and fears for Smash 5 in terms of the roster, whether it’d be a new game or an enhanced port and what kind of stuff would be shown. And Sakurai and Nintendo just blew my frigging mind. Seeing the game’s new shiny visuals were great, and all the new stages, music, assist trophies, Pokemon, and tweaks to the game mechanics were great. But it was that roster that really got me. When they said everyone was available, I bloody lost it. 😛 I got so giddy to see Snake and Wolf come back, but then there was also Young Link, Ice Climbers, Ryu and Mega Man and more, and they all looked great. And to top it all off they frigging added my girl Daisy and then bloody RIDLEY at the end!!! Good god, it was like every wild dream come to life, fan service overload!!!!! It feels so surreal that it’s real, but all I can say is that December can’t get here quick enough! I NEED SMASH!

Conclusion

All in all, I’d say I had a good E3 viewing experience. The games I wanted to see exceeded my expectations, for the most part, I got what I wanted and while there wasn’t much in the way of surprises, what did catch me off guard was very pleasant. I’d say the future of gaming looks bright for us gamers for the next several months and good gravy by the end of the year my wallet will be destroyed because of all the game I need to buy haha.

But anyway how about you? What did you think of E3 2018? Was it good, bad or indifferent for you? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comment section below and I’ll see ya on the next blog post, laters! 😀

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Posted by on June 15, 2018 in Media, Video Games

 

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So What’s Happening With Me & This Blog?

Howdy ladies and gents, how are you keeping? If you follow this blog then you may have noticed over the last few months this blog hasn’t been nearly as active with content as it has been especially when compared to last year. So today I just wanted to address what’s going on and what the potential future of this blog will be.

Rise of the Podcast

One of the main factors that have changed the way I operate on this blog is due to my podcast; Film Focus. Before 2016, I had wanted to get back into doing audio-based reviews of films like I did on YouTube before I fell off in 2014. The only problem was I didn’t know how to get back into the groove. After a while of debating and listening to John Campea on YouTube I bite the bullet and set a podcast on Soundcloud, and slowly over the last two years I’ve found my groove doing what I love; which is talking about films in a loose, fun and unfiltered manner (well for the most part). And while I have had scheduling issues here and there, I do feel like it is my true passion project and it has certainly taken priority over the blog on multiple occasions.

Lack of Passion

Now I started this blog almost seven years ago, and while they may not be a long time to some, it feels like a heck of a lot for someone in the blogging space. I had a lot more free time when I started because I was a uni student with so much free time, these days I have a job with hours that don’t afford me the kind of freedom I’d like. On top of that, I have watched a lot of change in the world of blogging in terms of the way in which things are done, a lot of people come in and out of blogging, and just seeing how much quicker you have to move in order to stay relevant and that kind of stuff. And in addition to that you need to have the passion to talk about what you’re interested in, otherwise, you might as well not bother as your work won’t be of the best quality. And that’s part of my current predicament. I still love, TV, video games and so on and I love to talk about that stuff. But most times when go to I sit in front of my laptop to write, I just don’t feel the need to write like I used to. And that’s why I do the podcast just so I can still get my thoughts out there into the world so those who are still interested in my opinion can hear me.

Lethargy

Lethargic. That’s the word I would use to describe myself these days. Since last summer when I came back from Canada, I honestly haven’t felt the same on a physical and mental level. I have occasionally felt tired, but what I feel these days is like advanced tiredness. I used to a night owl working best between 11pm to 4am. But now I can barely stay awake after 6pm and crash out on multiple occasions. I can just about watch a film or a bit of TV, but these days I have shifted to doing things in the morning and afternoon because I can’t draw, edit or play games at night because I am just too tired. The lack of energy has also contributed a lot to the lack of content on this blog which is why you haven’t seen as much from me as I would have liked.

Possibly Packing It In

Before some of you fear that this is the last post you’ll see from me on this blog, don’t worry. I’m not shutting this down just yet. However, in the last year, I have given it some thought. I’m not nearly as swift as I used to be with the latest film reviews and I don’t review TV shows because I have fallen behind and have too many to catch up on, and those two things made up the majority of the content on here. I’m only on here these days to promote the podcast and to talk about the occasional trailer. I could almost shut this place down and start over with another website dedicated to Film Focus specifically… That being said, I couldn’t dash this place that easily. Blogging on WordPress intrinsically part of my life and I love to do it, and to walk away from over six years of work especially considering how many drafts that need to be completed would probably bother me for ages.

Conclusion

In the end, I’m not sure what’s gonna happen, I know that this blog won’t disappear any time soon, but for anyone still following this blog I would say just please be patient and know I haven’t given up on this project just yet. Okay so if you’re still here after all of my rambling, thanks. I appreciate it. Laters. 😀

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Double Review – Deadpool 2 & Solo: A Star Wars Story

Howdy ladies and gents, how’s it going? Today I return with not one but two reviews in the form of Deadpool 2 and Solo: A Star Wars Story via my podcast, Film Focus!

Timecodes:

02:23 Deadpool 2 Review
18:37 Solo: A Star Wars Story Review

Check out the review below:

I was originally going to do a written review for Deadpool 2, but time got away from me and with Solo coming out a week later, I thought it’d be better for me to just pack both reviews together, and like I have stated beforehand, I feel like I can communicate my raw thoughts on a film much better than a written piece of work.

You can listen to the podcast on Soundcloud at https://soundcloud.com/film_focus or on iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/film-focus/id1114233892?mt=2

Anyway if you have any thoughts on Deadpool 2 or Solo, whether you like or dislike either, be sure to drop them in the comments section below! :D, until next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2018 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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PODCAST: Film Focus Episode 53 – Avengers: Infinity War Spoiler Discussion

Howdy ladies and gents of the internet, as some of you may have seen, in 2016 I started a film podcast entitled Film Focus and on this podcast, I talk about various topics in film and reviews as well on a biweekly basis. And the latest episode is a spoiler-heavy discussion on Avengers: Infinity War.

Anyway here’s the episode 53:

I’ve done already done my posted my original review, however, unlike most reviews I do there is a written and audio-based review. But I felt that because Infinity War would be a film I would be naturally excited about, I wanted to make my main review audio-related so that you all could understand my feelings towards the film in its purest form. And I also had so much fun recording with Drew that I felt like a written review would come across a bit redundant. However, that recording wasn’t the only episode recorded, as we also did a spoiler-based discussion talking about all of the major talking points from Thanos to the funniest scenes and character interactions to the character deaths and what the end of this film could mean for the MCU going forward.

Now I actually dropped this episode online last week, but because of timing issues I didn’t share it on my blog, plus I feel like a fortnight is plenty of time to wait before busting out the juicy spoilers haha. So yeah if you’re curious to hear the fun, interesting and fun thoughts on Infinity War from Drew and I then you’re in the right place. It was one of my favourite episodes of the podcast so far! 😀

As I mentioned before I’ll cover a different topic or review in each episode and since I don’t have much in the way of listeners or promotion, I’m here to spread the word about my podcast. 🙂

You can find my main site on Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/film_focus

Or if you’re on iTunes subscribe and rate me on there: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/film-focus/id1114233892?mt=2

So if you have some spare time on your hands and would like to listen to the ramblings of a passionate/strange man then please check it out, and share it with your friends if they are fans of film discussion. Also, you have any feedback or if you’d be interested in joining in future episodes be sure to let me know, until next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2018 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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Avengers: Infinity War Spoiler-Free Review

Howdy ladies and gents of the internet, how is it going? So yeah this review is up a little later than I had wanted but let’s just say I had a hella busy weekend, but putting that aside, I am finally here to share with you my thoughts on the latest Marvel Studios, Avengers: Infinity War! Now I did consider doing a written review, but I feel like my podcast would be able to better describe my feeling about the film in a more vivid and raw manner. So my review will be presented via my podcast Film Focus and features a returning guest, my homie Drew from Drew’s Movie Reviews.

Anyway here’s the episode 52:

Now I will admit this review was largely unscripted and since we were trying to avoid spoilers, there is a fair amount of vagueness to our comments, that being said we do cover a good deal of material in the story, character and presentation departments highlighting the highs and lows of the film, and generally just gushing about how much we liked the film haha. It is a good listen and I hope that you’ll enjoy the episode because I know Drew and I had a lot of fun making the episode. 😀

If you haven’t checked out my podcast before you can find it here: https://soundcloud.com/film_focus

So have you seen Infinity War and if so what did you think of it? Did it meet or exceed your expectations? OR were you disappointed? Drop your thoughts in the comments section below and I’ll see ya in the next review, until next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2018 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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QUICK THOUGHTS: Venom Trailer

Howdy ladies and gents, how’s it going? So yeah I know it has been a while since I posted anything on this blog and the lack of content will be addressed in a future post soon, but for the time being, let’s move onto the to the topic of hand; that new Venom trailer. Now I have been very sceptical and uninterested in this film since it was announced, and it was only Tom Hardy that kept my attention, and it also didn’t help that the first teaser trailer was a whole load of nothing. I know a teaser trailer is meant to give you a small piece of the film, but what was teased back then was dull as hell. Fast forward to now with a proper trailer that looks a heck of a lot more promising, and today I’ll just share my brief thoughts on it.

Check out the trailer below:

So my initial impressions were this, “Oh well this looks a heck of a lot better than I expected, I’m curious now.” Let’s just get the main talking point out of the way first; Venom, we get to see him in all his creepy/beautiful glory and he looks accurate to the comics and that is all I could have asked for. The face and transformation look solid and the voice sounds good too. Now I’m curious how long it’ll take before we see Venom and how much of him we’ll see throughout because I’m sure a lot of people will be disappointed if his screen time is relegated to the final act of the film or something. In addition to that, I like the direction of the story with Eddie being some kind of secret reporter who gets into an unexpected and dangerous situation and then has the symbiote starts to take over him, that’s cool. I’m not gonna lie though some of the story beats I saw in this trailer felt familiar and not in a good way but hey I guess we’ll wait and see. Also, so far this film films like an isolated solo adventure, there are no references to Spider-Man, New York (as far as I can remember) or the MCU (which I didn’t expect there to be because that was made apparent before the film went into production), so I am curious to see how a story with Eddie Brock/Venom adventure will operate without Peter Parker/Spider-Man being around to be the catalyst. Will it be a unique, captivating and interesting story about a guy thrown into a villain situation or will it be generic with questionable story elements? Whatever the case is I’ll be watching regardless because this trailer genuinely has my interest now.

So have you seen the trailer for Venom and if so what did you think of it? Did it meet or exceed your expectations or were you underwhelmed? Let me know in comments section below and I’ll see ya in the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2018 in Films, Media, Reviews

 

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PODCAST: Film Focus Episode 51 – Double Review – Ready Player One & Pacific Rim Uprising

Howdy ladies and gents of the internet, as some of you may have seen, in 2016 I started a film podcast entitled Film Focus and on this podcast, I talk about various topics in film and reviews as well on a biweekly basis. And the latest episode features a double review for the Ready Player One and Pacific Rim Uprising.

Anyway here’s the episode 51:

I was going to do a written review for Ready Player One, but I didn’t have the time and since I saw it pretty close to my viewing of Pacific Rim 2 so I decided that my podcast would be an easier and better way to talk about both films. But that’s not all, I have also included my small yet notable thoughts on Annihilation and Isle of Dogs, again films I really wanted t review on this blog, but because of timing I couldn’t do it around the time of release so I added my thoughts to the podcast before getting in the meaty reviews later on.

Here are the time codes:

  • 02:34 Annihilation Mini Review
  • 04:09 Isle of Dogs Mini Review
  • 08:19 Ready Player One Review
  • 23:50 Pacific Rim Uprising Review

As I mentioned before I’ll cover a different topic or review in each episode and since I don’t have much in the way of listeners or promotion, I’m here to spread the word about my podcast. 🙂

You can find my main site on Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/film_focus

Or if you’re on iTunes subscribe and rate me on there: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/film-focus/id1114233892?mt=2

So if you have some spare time on your hands and would like to listen to the ramblings of a passionate/strange man then please check it out, and share it with your friends if they are fans of film discussion. Also, you have any feedback or if you’d be interested in joining in future episodes be sure to let me know, until next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2018 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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So it’s Birthday Time Again, Yay!

Howdy people of the internet, how are you? So as you can see from the title of this blog post today is my birthday, I am one year older and as is tradition I feel the need to blog about it haha. 😀

You know what? I’ve been writing these posts for a good few years and I never have a clue how to write these things out, there’s no proper format, I just wing it and hope for the best haha. And so far today has been nice and relaxed. I have received 3 birthday cards all of which have been great especially the one from my bestie from Sheffield 😛 And I have spent most of my day in the cinema so far firstly rewatching Black Panther for the 4th time and finally checking out Isle of Dogs; with the former I still really like the film a lot, for my full thoughts I recommend reading my review, but in short I love the characters, themes, the film score, some of the cool combat scenes and traditions and visual style. As for Isle of Dogs, I have a fair amount to say about the film which I will dish out in an upcoming review, but what I will say it was very unique and different from I expected, but the visual material was incredible and the voice cast was really good. So with my films so far I’ve enjoyed myself.

Right now I’m pretty much chilling listening to some nostalgic sounds of Earth, Wind & Fire and plotting my movements for tonight when I head out for some night time shenanigans with my friends haha. I also have some fun stuff planned for tomorrow and potentially on Sunday too so hopefully this feeling of happiness and good times carry on through til the end of the weekend. 😀

Other than that I’m thinking I really gotta sort my life out, I’m pretty close to 30 and I only have a handful of achievements to my name, and I know there’s no set way to live life, but I do feel like I need to be doing better and I have gotten a few things worked out with my podcast and illustration material in full swing at the moment. So hopefully 2018 will be a year for change and progression, but I guess we’ll see and take things as they come. Anyways I’m gonna go finish some illustration stuff and look forward to my review for Isle of Dogs which will be coming soon, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2018 in Life

 

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QUICK REVIEW: Fantastic Mr. Fox

Howdy ladies and gents, time for a new film review and today I get to talk about a film I’ve wanted to review on here since I think 2013, and that is Fantastic Mr. Fox! So yeah I know this film is not new, it is from 2009 and I saw it in the cinema and I really liked it at the time and said to myself that I’d rewatch it again at some point. And yet even after buying the DVD around 5 or 6 years ago while at university I never got around to it just because of timing and being in the right mood. That being said, since 2014 I’ve really gotten into Wes Anderson’s films and with Isle of Dogs coming out tomorrow here in the UK I thought I’d rewatch my first Wes Anderson film and see if it still holds up.

The story for the film can be summed up as the following:

“The film is about a fox who steals food each night from three mean and wealthy farmers. They are fed up with Mr. Fox’s theft and try to kill him, so they dig their way into the foxes’ home, but the animals are able to outwit the farmers and live underground.”

I like the story because it has a lot of layers, there is the main narrative that goes on throughout the film, but there are also a number subplots introduced that eventually come to a head as the film progresses and what I like is that all of these plot elements are character-driven, have significance and the payoff feeds back into the main plot. And for a film about animals dealing with dangerous humans, it introduces some interesting themes dealing with breaking habits, doing what you’re good at, living up to expectations, being different and a number of other elements that are easy to relate to. And it is presented in a story that has a strange, quirky and fast-paced nature to it, and it very funny on numerous occasions and comes at just the right point with incredible timing, however, it also has brilliant moments of seriousness, darker moments and slows down just enough to have these special moments between the main characters.

As for the characters they are all very fun, interesting and feel like well-rounded individuals even if they’re secondary characters. George Clooney is fabulous as Mr. Fox, Clooney brings his natural charm to this character who is charismatic, daring yet selfish and not fully aware of his actions. Meryl Streep as Felicity Fox is a strong, smart and caring woman, but is also very stern and doesn’t take any shit from anyone. Jason Schwartzman stands out as Ash Fox, I guessed Schwartzman in this role just because Ash reminded me of Max from Rushmore in the sense that Ash is another young man with personal issues that lead to awkward relationships with others, but here Ash is a lot younger and immature and his journey through the film is quite engaging despite his rude and insensitive nature. Bill Murray was delightful as Clive Badger and had some great moments with Mr. Fox, Willem Dafoe’s role as Rat was unexpected, funny and strange and Wallace Wolodarsky as Kylie was one of the most memorable characters due to his subdued yet hilarious nature. And finally, Michael Gambon as Franklin Bean made for a strong and memorable protagonist, Gambon has such a presence with his voice and puts it to good use in humourous and intimidating scenarios.

From a presentation point of view, the film’s incredible. Visually the film’s use of stop motion animation is fluid, stylish and unique. While stop motion has a certain type of movement due to the way it is created, this film goes a step further by presenting movement in a number of ways that looks like frames are missing, but the movement is dynamic, exaggerated and elastic giving them a great sense of charisma and realism at the same time. The choice of camera angles and the general cinematography looks like a mixture of a stage play, a normal film and old film techniques used during driving sequences. I also want to talk about the character models and set design, the models have such an intricate level of detail for the fur and clothing and the sets vary from being large or very small, but they are all well-crafted with a lot of attention to detail from the foreground to background material looking realistic but also stylised. It is elaborate, grand in scale and has such incredible scene transitions. The film score by Alexandre Desplat is wonderful and works very well in each scene it’s used in and the soundtrack is filled with a great variety of songs that really enhance the scenes they’re used in the way that only Anderson can pull off.

In conclusion, Fantastic Mr. Fox is still a wonderful film and perhaps foolishly I was surprised how well it held up after so many years. I may be biased as I really LOVE Wes Anderson’s approach to filmmaking, but even if I was to take that element out of the equation, the film is not a conventional animated kids film, but that’s why I love it. The film, it is fun, exciting, engaging, quirky and hilarious, and yet it also has an engaging story, with fully formed characters that you can understand and relate to. If you haven’t seen this film I highly recommend it especially if you like Wes Anderson films.

So have you seen Fantastic Mr. Fox and if so what did you think of it? Drop me your thoughts in the comment section below and I’ll see you in the next review, so until the next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2018 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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Marvel’s Jessica Jones Season 2 Review

Howdy people of the internet, time for my first TV review in ages and today I get to talk about the second season of Marvel’s Jessica Jones. I’m not gonna lie, my interest in this season hasn’t been nearly as high as the Netflix Marvel shows that came out beforehand even though I really enjoyed season 1, but after watching the first new trailer and rewatching season 1, I got really hyped to revisit these characters and see how they develop. 😛 So after seeing the second season, I’m ready to pass judgement in this spoiler-free review.

“New York City private investigator Jessica Jones is beginning to put her life back together after murdering her tormentor, Kilgrave. Now known throughout the city as a super-powered killer, a new case makes her reluctantly confront who she really is while digging deeper into her past to explore the reasons why.”

The second season of Jessica Jones presents a lot of new an interesting scenarios for Jessica in dealing with. Seeing Jessica trying to live in a world after the events of the last season was interesting because of the way it affected her, the people around her and the people of New York City. Like Daredevil season 2, this season of JJ also features flashbacks that help flesh out Jessica’s backstory and it features some of the strongest material of the season with the character development of Jessica and Trish and the emotional history they’ve had individually and together. Unfortunately, the show doesn’t have a central focus until I think around episode 3 or 4 there are a good few things happening here and there, but nothing to tie it all together. And once the story and characters finally start to come into focus, my level of engagement and interest fluctuated a lot. There were plenty of points where I loved what I was watching, where the drama and emotion were on-point and I was captivated in Jessica and some of the other main characters’ stories… However, there are several points where certain storylines felt unnecessary or random and took away screen time from more important ones, also I feel like a great deal of the conflicts, danger and general issues felt fabricated rather than progressing in a natural manner. And this leads to scenarios that were a little silly, unrealistic or frustrating, and sometimes because of the way there are picked up and dropped from time to time. By the end of the season, I felt like a lot had happened, but I was in two minds about how I liked it, I feel like the ideas were there, but the execution could have been better.

Favourite episodes:

  • AKA Start at the Beginning
  • AKA Freak Accident
  • AKA Sole Survivor
  • AKA God Help the Hobo
  • AKA I Want Your Cray Cray (personal favourite)
  • AKA Three Lives and Counting

The cast was really good with the returning cast being pretty good and some of the newcomers settling in with the old ones pretty well, however, it is the way that some of these characters were handled which lead to a mixed bag of people you may like or dislike. Firstly Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones was great, she carried the show with her tough, sassy and witty persona, she has a lot of stuff to deal with and at times I just wanted to shake her and tell her to get her shit together, but even when she annoyed me, she ends still works as a damaged character who had to confront the issues of her past and present. Rachael Taylor as Trish Walker was good, Trish was one of my favourite characters from last season despite her bad decision-making and in this season we learn more about her his backstory, insecurities and weaknesses and interesting relationships with Jessica, her mother and some other people. At certain points I really liked her, but then she made some absolutely terrible choices which made her insufferable. Eka Darville was really good as Malcolm, his character had a good sense of progression from season 1 and I liked how active he was in the plot helping Jessica and doing things for himself, and while he ends up doing certain things I didn’t like, he was still really engaging. And of the returning cast I ended up really liking Carrie-Anne Moss as Jeri Hogarth more than I expected, in the last season she was very cold, calculated and self-serving and that was still the case for this season, however, they took her character in an interesting direction that made me feel for her in ways I didn’t think possible and maybe that was purely due to Moss as an actress, but I found Hogarth’s story to be quite compelling.

I’m only going to talk about a few of the new cast members. Firstly J.R. Ramirez as Oscar Arocho was fine, as soon as I saw him I knew exactly what his purpose would be and sure enough things played out as I expected, that being said he did have a lot more going on in his personal life that made me like him more. Terry Chen as Pryce Cheng was someone who had my interest at first but then became irrelevant and annoying as the season progressed, and the same sort of applied to Leah Gibson as Inez Green, she had an interesting part to play and while she wasn’t all that likeable, she had a more significant role to play than Cheng. And finally Janet McTeer as Alisa was an interesting character, I can’t say how she ties into the main story but she does play a pivotal role which at times was very intriguing and scary and on other occasions quite frustrating too. When it came to the presentation it is pretty good. Visually the show is shot well, and the fight scenes and visual effects look better than before and the use of colour was still pretty good. Also, the soundtrack by Sean Callery was still pretty good with some of the themes being and general sound being carried over from last season in a wonderful way, and season two has some nice new material, but it is not nearly as great as what’s come before.

In conclusion, Jessica Jones season 2 was a decent season to watch, that being said after finishing the show I felt disappointed. There were some compelling story elements, great character development and wonderfully deep and emotional material throughout the season. However, the lack of Kilgrave, the different storylines that had varying levels of interest and frustrating character arcs and choices left this season feeling far less captivating.

So have you seen Jessica Jones season 2 and if so so what do you think of it? And how do you think it compares to season 1 and the other Netflix shows? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below and I’ll see ya in the next review, laters. 🙂

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2018 in Reviews, TV Reviews

 

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