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My Quick Thoughts On Star Wars Rebels

Howdy people of the internet, how are you all? With Star Wars Rebels set to return to TV next month with its second season I thought I’d just give you my thoughts on the show since I have been watching since the beginning but haven’t had the chance to review anything that I’ve watched.

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Initially I was hesitant to watch Rebels, I mean I had a lot of concerns. While the show had some interesting ideas and was focused on the most respected side of the Star Wars films (the Original Trilogy), the show still had a questionable art style, a kid friendly approach and a batch of new characters that I wasn’t sure I could get attached to. But Rebels, once it found its feet got better and become a show I wanted to watch out of choice rather than just being something to watch because of the “Star Wars” label.

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From the time I started watching with Spark of Rebellion I knew that this was a totally different beast from The Clone Wars series. For me TCW just had stories, characters and a tone I wasn’t too interested in, plus it didn’t help that the art and animation just didn’t agree with me either. And while there are a few similarities when it comes to the visual presentation, Rebels just sported a much sleeker and polished look. The art was a little more detailed, use of colour and lighting was more noticeable especially when it comes to locations and action sequences, and while the fluidity of 3D animation looked a little questionable at times, for the most part it was more impressive than TCW. But beyond the visuals, Rebels just had the spirit of the film embedded into the stories and characters more so than the former show, and it had more interesting scenarios to discover. I will say that I didn’t love this show at first, I liked it, but around halfway through the show really started tapping into the Star Wars mythology, but also started developing its own stories too and got a little more serious in tone too. By the time I’d watched The Siege of Lothal I knew shit was getting real, that film really raised the stakes and drama, and having Darth Vader appear and show why he’s a force not to be messed with was awesome.

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But what would a show be without its characters? Luckily Rebels has a great bunch of main characters but also has some cool secondary characters and utilizes other famous faces in guest appears too. When it comes to the main protagonists you have Ezra, Kanan, Sabine, Hera, Zeb and Chopper, they’re a group of individuals who are totally different, but at the end of the day they’re family. The reason they work is as a team is because they are fleshed out characters, either having episodes dedicated themselves or having interactions that build them up. This especially the case with Sabine, Kanan and Ezra. Ezra especially was a character I didn’t think I’d like but he grows, gets better and becomes someone you want to root for. I love characters like the Inquisitor, Agent Kallus and Minister Maketh Tua who are essentially the bad guys, but they are portrayed in such a way where you’re just as curious to see what they’re up to, how they fit into the grand scheme of things and whether they’ll succeed or fail. Also inclusion of characters like Senator Bail Organa, Lando Calrissian and Grand Moff Willhuff Tarkin are great too.

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To conclude Star Wars Rebels a show I like a lot, it started out little okay but it got better and now I’m really looking forward to seeing how this show progresses with man characters and how it will continue to tie into the film universe as well.

So have you seen Star Wars Rebels and if so what do you think of it? Be sure to comment below and let me know and I’ll see ya on the next blog post, laters! :D

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2015 in Media, Television

 

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QUICK REVIEW: Straight Outta Compton

Howdy ladies and gents, time for another new film review, and today I’ll be talking about a film I’ve been waiting to see for a good while now; Straight Outta Compton.

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The story can be summed up as the following:

“The group NWA emerges from the mean streets of Compton in Los Angeles, California, in the mid-1980s and revolutionizes Hip Hop culture with their music and tales about life in the hood.”

I thought the story was great, as someone who really wasn’t aware of what was going on at that point in time, this film serves as an interesting history lesson as to what was going on in America at that time, why NWA were such a big deal and how they changed music and the world with their presence. Obviously there will probably be some dramatized elements or stuff that gets left out, however for the most part everything felt real, authentic and was handled with a great deal of care. I like how the film gave enough time to focus on each of the three key characters (Eazy-E, Dre and Cube), but also sprinkled in references to other rappers and projects they’d be working on, and some of those references are hilariously well-placed. The story doesn’t hold back much, there’s nudity, death, violence, racism and it can be brutal and intense, and it’s just crazy to believe that the world used to be that way with the abusive police and turf wars between gangs. At the same time, like Selma and Fruitvale Station, this film sort of depicts some of the crazy shit that’s still going on today which makes it even more relevant.

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As for the cast, they were all great and there really wasn’t anyone who gave a best performance in my eyes. Firstly there’s O’Shea Jackson, Jr. as Ice Cube, damn! If there was ever someone who was cast perfectly to play a real life character in biopic, it would be this guy. Jackson does really well portraying his father with his body language, mannerisms and the right amount of sass and aggression, it’s almost completely uncanny. But beyond that Jackson does well playing this creative individual who has dreams and aspirations, but wants things to be equal and the guy has a bit of temper too. Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre was really good too. While Hawkins looks nothing like Dre, the guy does one hell of a job acting like him. In the film Dre is someone who is really into music in terms of the rhythm, composition and overall sound and you can tell that he’s got talent and aspirations to change the world of music. But the person who steals the film is Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E. I’d heard a lot of hype about Mitchell before seeing this film, but even I have to admit that guy was great. Eazy is a fun and smart individual, however he doesn’t always have the right kind of ideas and because of the nature of the stuff he gets involved with he goes on a really crazy, destructive and tragic journey, and I have to say that Mitchell killed it offering a performance that was handled really well. I also enjoyed Aldis Hodge as MC Ren and Neil Brown, Jr. was hilarious as DJ Yella.

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And then of course there’s Paul Giamatti as Jerry Heller, Giamatti was really good here offering a character who was funny and loyal, and yet sneaky, manipulative and questionable.I also have to say that R. Marcus Taylor who played Suge Knight was awesome, that guy, bloody hell, he was scary, he could be all calm one minute and then would explode if the littlest thing pissed him off. Oh and shout out to Keith Stanfield who did a great job as Snoop Dogg.

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In conclusion Straight Outta Compton is pretty badass film. It has such a great sense of pride, brutality, intensity and realism, and it also helps that the story was compelling, the acting was excellent and the music was awesome.

Rating: 8.5/10

So have you seen Straight Outta Compton and if so what did you think? Please be sure to comment below and I’ll see you on the next review, laters! :D

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2015 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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QUICK REVIEW: Hitman: Agent 47

Howdy ladies and gents, time for a film review, yeah I still write those for new films haha. Today I’ll be talking about Hitman: Agent 47, the second adaptation of the popular video game series. I had a lot of hope for this film or at least hoped that it’d be good enough to be considered a decent video game adaptation, but after the bad reviews came out I wasn’t too interested in watching it. Well I saw it last night and now I’m ready to pass judgement.

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The story can be summed up as the following:

“An assassin teams up with a woman to help her find her father and uncover the mysteries of her ancestry.”

I thought the story was interesting but incredibly clichéd. There were certainly moments of intrigue and mystery, but once Agent 47 and Katia got together and the story surrounding her father and the Syndicate is revealed, things get pretty dull pretty quickly. Whether it is the dialogue, specific reveals and plot points or the way in which the film ended, it was really lame, generic and lacking in originality. I’m not sure who to blame, but I do believe that having Skip Woods on as the writer was a bad idea. This man has been attached to several bad films including the original Hitman, Die Hard 5 and the craptastic X-Men Origins: Wolverine. What really bothers me is that this film feels like the same kind of bullshit story details that I’ve seen in other video game adaptations, I don’t understand why it is so hard for certain gaming franchises to be adapted when there is such good source material to draw from. But actually, I do, it is because the filmmakers that are hired don’t have the right kind of talent and/or have people that don’t understand the source material too well. I just know in the hands of a more talented screenwriter and more confident director this film could have been so much more.

As for the cast, they vary from being good to being kind of lame. Rupert Friend is the main saving grace as Agent 47, Friend has the right kind of mannerisms, action chops and emotionless face to be this badass assassin. Hannah Ware was decent as Katia van Dees, at times she felt annoying or dull, but Ware did well with the material she was given. Zachary Quinto as John Smith, this was a mixture of good and bad. At certain points Quinto looks like he was tapping into his old Sylar persona and he was pretty intimidating, but then he starting getting a bit over-the-top. Ciarán Hinds was as Dr. Litvenko, but didn’t add much to the film for me. And finally Thomas Kretschmann as Antoine LeClerq was lame, Kretschmann is a do like a lot and after being wasted in Avengers 2 earlier in the year, here he’s reduced to a boring antagonist who does little more than make threats, sit around and rarely adds anything significant to the film.

When it comes to the presentation it was decent. Visually the film is good, they was some decent hand to hand combat, nice shoot outs and some good cinematography and editing with certain sequences. Plus I appreciated some of the creative ways Agent 47 dispatched certain people just like the games. However I feel like there could have been much more done, and the use of CGI felt completely unnecessary as it was far too obvious when something was real and when it was fake, and it doesn’t help that the CGI looks like it was made for TV on multiple occasions. And the soundtrack by Marco Beltrami was good, it wasn’t great but it had moments where it sounded pretty nice.

In conclusion Hitman: Agent 47 is an alright film with some nice moments of action and intrigue and good central performances from Rupert Friend, however even those elements can’t save this film from its bad story, unoriginal ideas, dull characters and overuse of CGI. I don’t hate the film but I probably won’t be watching it again any time soon.

Rating: 5.5/10 (harmless fun)

So have you seen Hitman: Agent 47 and if so what did you think? Be sure to comment below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! :D

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2015 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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QUICK REVIEW: Concussion Trailer #1

Good day to you ladies and gents time for my first trailer review in ages and today I’ll be talking about a film I’ve been wanting to see more from for a while now, Concussion.

Check out the trailer below:

So my thoughts after seeing trailer? I’m down, I like it.

This is a film I’ve been following for a while now since the initial premise was put online, but since there wasn’t nearly as much attention on this film as there was Will Smith’s last film, Focus, I wasn’t sure if it was going to see any proper marketing. But FINALLY there’s some footage for this film and I have to say I’m hyped and intrigued. I love films based on true events, especially those where that have corruption and truth being withheld, and this film looks like it has that. This film looks like it’ll be a drama with some thriller elements as well, and I’m sure that it’ll be an emotional journey and I would hope that filmmakers have made the film informative and handles subject matter with care.

I’m just really interested in seeing Will Smith in a serious film again. Smith is a great actor who’s known primarily for his humour, but unless you’re a film fan of the older variety, you’ll probably not have seen some of Smith more serious work. Ali, Pursuit of Happyness and Seven Pounds are the best examples of Smith going into some pretty dramatic territories and demonstrating that he’s someone to be taken seriously. Some people have forgotten how good he is an actor after the likes of After Earth, and this film looks like Smith is going hard in this role. But I think the main talking point of this trailer will be Smith’s accent. As Dr. Bennet Omalu, Smith is doing a Nigerian accent (at least that’s what I’ve heard its supposed to be) and at first it was distracting and hard to adjust to, but I think I’ll get over when the film comes out. I think this will be the make or break aspect for some, as there are already talk online about the authenticity of Smith’s accent, to me it sounds a little off, but sometimes it can be legit and I just don’t know any better. Another thing to note, Will Smith sometimes has a habit of being seen as just Will Smith (similar to what happens to Tom Cruise), but here I just see the character he is playing, he is deep into this role and I’m convinced he’ll turn in a good performance. Besides all my gushing about Smith, I also LOVE the fact that Alec Baldwin is in this film. Baldwin, regardless of his status in the public eye, has done really great work in film and TV and I really like the guy in most things that I see him in and it looks like he’ll be great here too.

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In conclusion Concussion looks pretty good. It looks super dramatic, has a great cast and a story that has me intrigued. I hope this film is good and will be seen by enough people.

So have you seen the trailer for Concussion and if so what did you think of it? Are you down with Smith’s accent or is it not convincing enough for you? Please be sure to comment below and I’ll see you on the next review, laters! :D

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2015 in Films, Media, Reviews

 

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What I’m Currently Watching #3

Howdy ladies and gents, and welcome to post #3 on What I’m Currently Watching where I give you a tiny update on what TV-based stuff I’m watching and give mini reviews/impressions on them. With that out of the way let’s go!

Z Nation

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This is a show I literally watched because my sister told me about the ridiculous stuff that went down in the first episode, a few weeks later and I’m still watching. Z Nation is absurd, silly and crazy and yet that’s what makes it so fun. I’m sort of over zombies these days in terms of their ‘cool’ factor, but there are certain TV shows that keep me coming back (The Walking Dead and iZombie primarily) and I can add this show to the list. I’m only around 6 or 7 episodes in but so far it’s fun. I would like to actually finish the show quicker but since I’m watching it weekly on TV with my family, it’ll take ages before I finish it haha.

Blue Mountain State

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I’m honestly not sure why I’m still watching this show. I’ve started season 2 and it’s more or less the same as before except with a few new faces and the loss of some previous ones. I’m only a few episodes in and so far the show is has moments when it feels like I’m actually enjoying it with the jokes and changes, but it is still not a very good show. I mean it’s tolerable, but all the issues that plagued the show before are still present like the raunchy humour and unlikable characters. It is the kind of show that’s made for people that enjoy a unique brand of humour, but since I’ve started this madness unless it pisses me off I’ll probably finish it haha.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer

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So I’m FINALLY getting around the final season of Buffy. I’ve only seen six episodes and I’m having fun so far. I won’t say too much here because I’ve got a review on the back-burner, but I will say that this season is very interesting. There’s a lot of change but also nostalgia, certain aspects of previous seasons are coming to pass now and I’m finding the journey of Buffy and the rest of the main characters very dramatic, emotional and fun. I can tell that things are gonna get pretty crazy later on and I’m prepared for the worst. :P

House of Cards

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Last time I did my blog post related to House of Cards I’d just started, well this morning I just finished it and I have to say so far so good. With it being one of the most talked about TV shows of the last two years its nice to finally get to see what the hype was about. I won’t go into too much detail primarily because I may do a review of the first season in a separate post later in the week, but I will say that it was good, but not as amazing as I’d hoped. There’s certain things I loved, some stories and characters that were really compelling and awesome, but then there were a few issues I took with specific plot points and characters as well. But that’s all I’ll say for now. I’m super curious to see how season 2 pans out.

So that’s what I’ve been watching, if you have any thoughts on anything that I’ve been watching be sure to drop a comment below and let me know, oh and do be sure to let me know what TV shows you’re watching at the moment too. Until next time, this is me signing out. Laters! :D

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2015 in Life, Media, Television

 

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Superhero Themes in Film – Do They Still Matter?

Howdy ladies and gents, time for another superhero-related post. This is a subject matter I’ve wanted to talk about for almost two years now, With superheroes being one of the most popular genres of film in modern times, the topic of theme songs have come up in discussions in online videos and comment sections I’ve seen across several websites. And there have been discussions about which popular themes are the best or why newer films don’t try harder with to have more memorable main themes. So with all that in mind I wanted to focus on the subject of superhero themes are whether they still have relevance today.

With superheroes, in most adaptations they have a theme song (sometimes referred to as a main theme) which you associate with the hero as much as you do their name, costume or catchphrase. These themes will either play in the opening or ending credits of a film or TV show or will appear during the film in a heroic/iconic moment.

What Are The Popular Themes?

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Its should come as no suprise that most notable themes come from the most popular superheroes of all time, Batman and Superman. Besides the fact that they’ll be sharing a film next year (which is still strange to wrap my head around), long before their epic meeting, they had separate films with quite iconic themes that can be recognised even by general film fans. The most famous of the two is the “Theme from Superman (Main Title)” from the godly John Williams and the “Batman Theme” from the amazing Danny Elfman. Just have a listen below:

With the Superman theme I think it transcends the film it is part of, this is honestly one of the most recognisable pieces of music in film and you don’t even need a visual aid to know what it is. I think that is the beauty of John Williams; the fact that he can craft such incredibly, uplifting, beastly and memorable music that can stand the test of time. I hate to gush on about this theme, but it honestly gives me goosebumps because it’s that badass.

When it comes to Batman’s theme, it feels approach for the Dark Knight. It is dark, mysterious, its loud and bombastic, yet soft, quiet and it swells and then explodes. I think the reason why this theme is so popular is because it just feels like it belong within the realm of Batman and has the right tone and gives you something fun, atmospheric and really cool. Elfman creates something so special that feels so perfect, but I think why I appreciate this theme so much is because it was the inspiration for the intro theme for Batman: The Animated Series which is still til this day, one of my all-time favourite themes to anything ever.

But the themes don’t end there. Have look below.

Main Theme From The Dark Knight Trilogy

We also have the main theme from The Dark Knight Trilogy too. Now while this film series doesn’t have an official track that says ‘Main Theme’, the song that’s pretty much the key theme throughout this film series is “Molossus” introduced in Batman Begins. That theme is dramatic, aggressive and so intimidating, its like the badass theme to end all badass themes, and Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard did such a good job.

Main Theme From Man of Steel

And then of course there’s the main theme from Man of Steel known as “What Are You Going To Do When You Are Not Saving The World?” This theme is pretty famous because it was in trailers and pretty much helped sell this new incarnation of Superman. I think it may be the most epic superhero theme in existence as its so quiet and calm, and yet it builds and builds and then explodes into this beastly theme that makes you shiver and get all giddy about the epicness you’re listening to. While I didn’t love Man of Steel, I cannot deny the badassery of this theme.

Ignored Main Themes

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Main Theme Spider-Man

Now some may wonder why I’ve put one of the most popular superhero themes in the ignored segment, and it is simple. This theme isn’t talked about or recognised nearly as much as the ones mentioned above. I think it is no mistake that Danny Elfman was brought on to do another superhero theme after what he did with Batman in the late 80’s, here he crafts a theme that is eery, mysterious, heroic and badass. This theme oozes of charisma, beauty and awesomeness in an indescribable manner, and while I prefer the instrumentation of the Spider-Man 2 version, there is no denying the epicness of this song.

Main Theme From The Avengers

Much like Spider-Man’s theme, this theme is pretty awesome and yet doesn’t get nearly as much love as it should. “The Avengers” by Alan Silvestri is the definition of a good theme song. It has a classic sound to it, and it’s so uplifting, magical and heroic, but it is towards the latter half around 1:05 into the song where it turns badass and grows into orchestrated awesomeness. When this theme comes into play in Avengers and the team are seen together for the fist time on-screen it is a special and epic moment and music just elevates it to another level. This track is short but it has a sense of epicness that cannot be denied.

Main Theme From X-Men

While this particular track is pretty long, it has the main theme right at the beginning and towards the very end of the track. John Ottman was the first composer to leave an impression on the X-Men films series and it wasn’t until Henry Jackman came around that I heard another soundtrack that stood out, that being said Ottman’s theme from X-Men 2 still kicks ass. It’s intense, dramatic and awesome, and this theme must be pretty notable as they brought it back for X-Men: Days of Future Past (which made me SO happy).

Main Theme From Iron Man 3

The Iron Man films up until this point hadn’t had an official main theme, but in 2013 we got given “Iron Man 3” by Brian Tyler. Now with Tyler his soundtracks tend to be a bit hit or miss, but this was definitely a hit as he finally gave Iron Man a theme that was dramatic, hard-hitting and epic. The inclusions of the angelic backing vocals and something that sounds like a hammer hitting metal, it is just so beastly. Make no mistake, Iron Man 3 as a film has its problems for sure, but this track really is something special. I will say that I prefer Can You Dig It as it is way more sassy, jazzy and feels like it belongs in a 1960’s spy show.

Main Theme From Ant-Man

Ant-Man may not be universally loved by fans, but I liked it and one of my favourite aspects of the film was the soundtrack by Christophe Beck and “Theme from Ant-Man” is just awesome. This theme is sassy, bombastic and it just has such a nice sense of style and identity. Beck is another one of those composers that’s a bit up and down with his soundtrack compositions but this theme is kick ass.

Main Theme From Batman Forever

I think I may lose a lot of people by including this track, but screw it! Batman Forever may be the starting point for the decline in quality for the Batman films in the 90’s, but Forever, I still kind of like it and the theme song is definitely a big part of that. “Main Titles & Fan Fare” by Elliot Goldenthal has such a sense dramatic flare, charisma, style and its over-the-top but because of the nature of Forever as a film, this theme sounds just right.

So Do Themes Matter?

So now for the big question; do superhero themes matter? I would say yes for sure. It’s always nice to have music to associate with your favourite superheroes and while that’s been available in cartoons and certain live-action shows for a while now, I think it is just as important in films so you have another key aspect that makes your protagonist more memorable. Now for current superhero films they aren’t a requirement as fans and critics aren’t that fussed and will give a pass to a superhero film if the story, characters and presentation are top-notch. That being said, it was around 2012 when some people started saying that the. With big films like Batman V Superman and Captain America: Civil War coming out next year there will need to be theme songs or key tracks in the soundtrack to enhance the action on-screen or I think some fans and critics will feel robbed. And then in the future we’ll see the like of Wonder Woman, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Justice League and Avengers Infinity War parts 1 & 2 and those will be films that will require themes and soundtracks that are interesting, dramatic and memorable or I believe it will be a wasted opportunity.

So that’s my feelings on this subject, hopefully you’ve found this informative and like what I’ve had to say and share. But now I pass it over to you, what do you think of superhero themes in film and do you think they’re still relevant? Please be sure to comment below and let me know. Until next time, laters! :D

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2015 in Films, Media, Music

 

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My Thoughts on the First Image of Michael Fassbender in Assassin’s Creed

So Assassin’s Creed, it feels like the talk of this film being adapted into live-action has been going on forever, however after various setbacks and talk, this film is finally going into production and has a pretty solid cast. But we’ve yet to see what Michael Fassbender would look like in the popular assassin attire, but today an image dropped online and feel the need to talk about it.

So here’s some information on the film and the image below from ComicBookMovie:

After being in development for many years due to minor setbacks, the Assassin’s Creed movie is finally moving forward and is all set to commence principal photography on Monday, August 31. And now Yahoo has even released our first look at the big-screen video game adaptation which features leading man Michael Fassbender as Callum Lynch, an original character. Instead of retelling stories from the games, the film will apparently bring all new characters to that world, per Yahoo:

Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) discovers he is a descendant of the secret Assassins society through unlocked genetic memories that allow him to relive the adventures of his ancestor, Aguilar, in 15th Century Spain. After gaining incredible knowledge and skills he’s poised to take on the oppressive Knights Templar in the present day.

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So let’s talk about that image above first. Okay, looking at this objectively or as a person who is not well-versed in the Assassin’s Creed series, they may find this first image of Fassbender pretty cool. I mean the costume is pretty badass, is really detailed and looks similar to the original. But then there’s the only side of the coin, if you’re a hardcore fan your first impressions will probably be one of disgust. Fassbender doesn’t look like Altair, Ezio, Conor, Edward or Arno and the costume doesn’t match any of theirs either, and so far on a few sites I’ve seen most fans dismiss this image completely and think that the film is doomed indefinitely. As for me I’m not a hardcore AC fan but I have followed the series from what my friend has shown me and what I’ve researched over the years, so when I saw this image I had a good look stare. And my main impression is: Nice. I mean Fassbender looks a little slim in the costume when compared to the assassins in the games, but overall I like the pose, the costume and the placement of the hidden blades. This is one of those “inspired by” costumes that feels like an amalgamation of what’s come before but also like its crafted something of its own.

As for the story, considering how long the series has gone on for and the amount of mythology that now exists, this film would have plenty of material to draw from. However from the description it would seem like the filmmakers have decided to create and original story and characters, but are keeping the core elements of the game intact. I was hoping for a more direct adaptation of the games with the Italian era of Altair and/or Ezio, but I guess we’re going to Spain instead. I just hope the story is good.

In the end I’m down for this film, I’ve always been curious and costume makes me a little more interested in the film. Though I am curious to see how the fans take to it online and whether they’ll warm up to the film or if they’ll tear it apart. So people what do you think of the first image of Fassbender in Assassin’s Creed? Please be sure to comment below and I’ll see ya on the next blog post, laters! :D

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2015 in Films, Media, Video Games

 

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SIMPLE REVIEW: Jack White – Lazaretto

Howdy ladies and gents, time for an album review I’ve been meaning to do for a while and its for Jack White’s second solo album, Lazaretto. Now I remember reviewing Blunderbuss back in 2012, I was obsessed with it and some of those songs are still very dear to my heart. That album definitely jump started my love for all music White was involved with and waiting for this album had been one of the most painful waiting periods ever. I was meant to review this in June 2014 but time just got away from me, however now is as good a time as ever to talk about this album. Oh, and before I begin, like I’ve said before, I’m not a music critic, I’m just a guy with an opinion so don’t rip me apart if I’m not using correct terminology or genres, okay? Good, let’s continue.

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So Lazaretto, the best way to describe this album is that it is a similar yet different sound from what has come before. This album feels a continuation of White’s unique musical interests that he expressed in Blunderbuss. However, in addition to that this album feels like a bit of everything White’s done before and there are certainly moments where you can hear a bit of The Raconteurs and Death Weather to name a few. In terms of the album’s sound I would say its a combination of the alternative rock, folk and country genres, and there feels like there was a bigger appearance of folk and country sounds than before and it certainly makes for an interesting listen. Personally I’ve always liked White’s music when it was more rock-focused because I love his material when its loud, aggressive and full of charisma, however, the quieter moments have also stuck out. Songs like “As Ugly As I Am“, “Together“, “On and On and On” and “Hypocritical Kiss” some of my favourite jams because of their lyrical content and emotional and retrospective qualities. This album makes me feel happy, melancholy and excited, however it also allows me to think and reflect on my life too.

Three Women” has a wonderful sound and starts the album off well, while “Temporary Ground” is soft yet beautiful and has a gorgeous chorus. “Alone in My Home” and “Entitlement” are very different yet both stand out for their musical quality and lyrics. I will still say the title track “Lazaretto” stands out as my favourite just because its upbeat, stylish and very fun to listen to on repeat. Songs like “Just One Drink” and “Would You Fight For My Love?” have a great sound and are good, but just don’t connect with me on that emotional level. One song I’m not sure that I like it “High Ball Stepper” it is an interesting instrumental song which I really disliked on first listen, but a year later and four album listens on there are times where I like it and others when I don’t. The rest of the songs are good but just not on my radar.

Favourite tracks:

  • Three Women
  • Lazaretto
  • Temporary Ground
  • Alone in My Home
  • Entitlement

In conclusion Jack White’s Lazaretto album is different experience to Blunderbuss, and while there are certainly similarities to be found in the music styles, this is album has a very unique sound and it is a lovely one. The versatility, passion and beauty can be felt in all of the tracks and I would recommend it for anyone who is a fan of White’s material.

Rating: 8/10

So what did you think of Lazaretto? Did you like it or hate it and how do you think it fares when compared to White’s previous solo album? Whatever your thoughts be sure to leave them below and I’ll see ya on the next review. Laters.

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2015 in Media, Music, Reviews

 

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Reevaluating My Views On The Star Wars Prequels

Good day to you ladies and gents, time for a special little blog post dedicated to the Star Wars film universe. Since The Force Awakens (Episode VII) will be out in cinemas in the coming months I’ve been recently catching up with the previous instalments in anticipation, and yes that includes the prequels. While there are a large number of fans that continue to act like those films never happened, I’m not one of them and I don’t hate those films either. Are they perfect? Heck no, but I’ve always found aspects of those films to be enjoyable. So with that in mind I wanted to give you all my thoughts on the prequels and how they’ve changed.

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My Thoughts in the Beginning

For the longest time I had very specific thoughts on the Prequel Trilogy, but in recent years I’ve had time to learn and understand the process that comes with making such epic films and learn about the production behind each of the Star Wars films. What was once awesome to me as a child doesn’t look that awesome these days and I’m not talking about the special effects only, these were films I liked watching (well at least episodes 1 and 3), but after watching so many online video reviews and other forms of analytical videos criticising the prequels I have changed my opinion somewhat. Though a lot of my feelings have been changed from watching the Original Trilogy in recent years and seeing what new filmmakers have been able to do with stories, sets and technology.

So with that in mind I’m going to give you my thoughts on each of the prequel films starting with The Phantom Menace!

Thoughts on The Phantom Menace

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Technically I’ve already given my thoughts on this film around 3 years ago, but for those who haven’t read that review I’ll try to sum up my thoughts the best I can. The Phantom Menace is infamous for being the film that ruined SW for a lot of fans with its focus on politics, a child Anakin Skywalker, Midichlorians and Jar Jar Binks and most consider it the lowest point in the series. When I first saw this film I thought it was awesome. I never paid attention to the story, all I saw was lightsaber fights and Podracing, and that’s all I needed. Bare in mind I was around 9 or 10 years old when first saw this film and I was very much into my action and spectacle coming off of films like Terminator 2, Jurassic Park and Aliens to name a few. TPM was a film I watched a lot until my late teens, I didn’t see the film again until it was re-released in 3D, it was at that point I really saw the film for what it was; a film with good special effects, action and music, but nothing else. The plot isn’t overly interesting as the starting point of the series and there are just a lot of odd decisions made for the characters and overall mythos. One thing that was super apparent was the lack of practical sets and real locations, there’s so much green screen and CGI, it just makes you wonder if the people behind this film were afraid to use anything but computers to craft their new worlds. As for Jar Jar, I used to thing of him as harmless, fun, but seeing TPM a dew days ago I can understand the hate. That guy is ridiculous, he’s like a frigging Looney Tunes character who has no business being in a SW film and even as the main source of comedy you don’t find him funny, he’s more infuriating than anything else. Oh and the additional scenes added to TPM don’t really add much to the film and are really noticeable when it is a scene with CGI. A lot of the acting is questionable ESPECIALLY from Natalie Portman as Padmé Amidala, she’s so monotone and boring. With all that being said, everything I like about this film still stands, I love the lightsaber fights, the special effects are good, Darth Maul is cool, I like Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi and the soundtrack is great especially “Duel of the Fates“.

Thoughts on Attack of the Clones

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Attack of the Clones, oh dear. While there is still this consensus out there that this film is better than its predecessor I respectfully disagree. While AOTC rectified some of the issues with the first prequel film, it still followed the same mistakes while creating a whole new bunch of them too. My thoughts were quite strong on this film when I first saw it when I was 12 years old and 13 years later not much has changed. This film wins points for having closer ties to the older films with interesting references, first appearances of classic characters and locations, and there was an overall sense of progression towards the Original Trilogy with the choice art design, costumes and locations. Also I appreciated some of the drama this film tried to create especially with Anakin, you can see what Lucas was trying to do and in more capable hands this could have been so much stronger, but I will give props to Lucas for the scene when Anakin and his mother are reunited briefly. That scene was pretty decent, it was a quiet, subtle moment and I thought it worked (even with Hayden Christensen’s acting skills), and what I really like is that Anakin’s found his mother and she’s alive just long enough to see him grown up, but then she dies and Anakin pretty much loses his shit on the Tusken Raiders with that beastly John Williams music swelling in the background. Other things I still like about this film was the improved CGI, cool action sequences, McGregor again as Obi-Wan and the introduction of Count Dooku played wonderfully by the late Christopher Lee. Oh and seeing Yoda actually battle in a lightsaber fight, awesome. Some people found it ridiculous and terrible but I found it hilariously badass…

HOWEVER! A lot of the good/decent aspects of this film are undone by the bad stuff, and trust me there’s a lot of it. This film’s main issue is the love story between Anakin and Padmé as it is one of the worst love stories ever put to film. The dialogue is terrible, there is no chemistry and acting is beyond bad. Their relationship just doesn’t come together well and feels forced, rather than a natural progression of a friendship into a partnership, and it doesn’t help that every line spoken between these two is really awkward or painful. That being said, I’ve memorised the dialogue to the point where I’ve quoted it with my SW friends and taken the piss so much that when I watch the film I can’t help but laugh. There are also wasted opportunities when it comes to Jango Fett, adding new mythology and the final battle between Obi-Wan, Anakin and Dooku (especially with Anakin and Dooku, that fight was half decent, half weird with spinning lightsabers). And like before the overuse of CGI and green screen when it comes to locations is very apparent, I think there were more real set locations than in the last film, but it was crazy how much of it I noticed with my film studies brain switched on.

Thoughts on Revenge of the Sith

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Okay so now we arrive at the final film in this series and I still like it. Now back when I saw ROTS in the cinema 10 years ago, I thought this film was SO cool and after I got it on DVD I watched a fair amount until my early twenties. This film more so than the previous films creates a tale full of action and drama that for the most part works, sure the love story aspect is still questionable and some things happen without explanation, but overall it is the most creative and strongest of the newer films. What I appreciated about this film was the darker tone, sense of scope and of course the closer ties to A New Hope. This film does a really good job with marrying the new with the old with the appearance of classic characters, costumes, set design and spacecrafts. I also love the action sequences, whether it is the introduction with that space battle, the lightsaber fights or the battle on Kashik, it is all handled in a really cool manner with awesome CGI and cinematography. Oh and the lightsaber fights are the bets so far. I loved the fight between Obi-Wan and General Grievous or Yoda vs. Dark Sidious or the final battle between Obi-Wan and Anakin, that stuff gets me giddy every time. Some other stuff I liked was the introduction of General Grievous, Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine/Sidious, the line “Unlimited Power!” and the ‘Execute Order 66′ montage. And once again I have to say that Ewan McGregor kills it as Obi-Wan Kenobi, he’s the most consistent aspect of the prequels and with each film he gets better and by this film his performance was very in line with Alex Guinness’ performance.

Of course this film is safe from scrutiny. The film still has some of that bad dialogue not just for the scenes between Padmé and Anakin, but for some of the other characters especially Dark Sidious, and speaking of Sidious… Ian McDiarmid, he was clearly having fun with the role in this one, but sometimes he was hamming it up a little too much and sometimes you can’t take the guy seriously. Again this film has some good ideas with the story, specifically with Anakin’s transfer to the dark side and his issues with Padmé, but again the execution was questionable and left a lot to be desired. The use of special effects is great but again you can see that there wasn’t much that wasn’t green screen of CGI. Oh and Darth Vader, I loved his introduction and seeing him get angry, use the force, stumble along, but that “NOOOOOOO!” line, damn, it just ruins that scene really.

Well that’s my take on these films. I can tell there’s a lot people who won’t agree with my opinion on these films and I say bring on the hate. These films haven’t always been looked at in a positive light but I’m seeing more and more these days with people voicing their favourable aspects of the prequels and I want to add to it. :D But anyway how about you lot? Do find anything redeemable about the prequels? Do you even like the prequels or do you despise them like everyone else? OR are you like, “Huh? What prequels?” Please be sure to comment below, laters! :D

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2015 in Films, Media

 

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QUICK REVIEW: Paper Towns

Howdy ladies and gents, it is time for a new film review! After missing a good few films here and there today I bring you a review of a film I actually had no intentions of seeing; Paper Towns. I looked at the trailers for this film and saw that it was from the same people who adapted The Fault In Our Stars and was instantly turned off because I thought it was another love-focused drama. Even with the mystery element to it I wasn’t interested, but thanks to one of my best friends I ended up seeing it to today and now I’m gonna give you my thoughts on the film.

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The plot can be summed up as the following:

“After an all night adventure, Quentin’s life-long crush, Margo, disappears, leaving behind clues that Quentin and his friends follow on the journey of a lifetime.”

The plot for this film is one that delights and yet also frustrates me. What I like about the film is that it is an adventure, a quest for love and there’s an emphasis on living in the moment, staying true to yourself and keeping the bonds with your friends close. There are also some life lessons to be learnt, but more so than that there’s a lot of common sense lessons to be learnt too. However, what I wasn’t so keen on was the elements that dealt with infatuation and obsession, misdirection and a conclusion that didn’t feel as satisfying as I would have hoped. But going back to what I liked was the fact there was many parts to this film, it was comedic, it was part road trip, part coming of age and when the drama went down it was heavy and relatable to anyone who has ever had strong feelings for someone or has had a great set of friends they love. Besides the stuff I mentioned before my only other issues was the fact that the pacing dragged a little in the middle and there were just a  few aspects I would have liked to have seen cleared up before the film ended. Oh, and I have to mention that this film wins major kudos for the Pokemon references, there’s one moment in particular, that if you’re a hardcore Pokemon fan you’ll appreciate it. :)

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As for the cast I thought they were good. Nat Wolff as Quentin “Q” Jacobsen was good, Wolff did well with his material as this likeable guy who has love for a girl and will go out of is way to find her. Cara Delevingne as Margo Roth Spiegelman was also pretty good too, I was watching Delevingne closer (because she’ll be in Suicide Squad next year) and I was pleasantly surprised at how well she acted. Margo was this pretty, adventurous and mysterious girl who on the surface was seemed easy enough to figure out but you see that there’s hidden layers to her too. I will admit that both Quentin and Margo exhibit behavior that doesn’t make them very likeable (Margo more so than Quentin), and at points I questioned their intentions and where their loyalties lied too. Austin Abrams and Justice Smith were lovely as Ben Starling and Marcus “Radar” Lincoln. They were Quentin’s best friends and provided a lot of moments of fun, comedy and drama. Abrams and Smith had great chemistry as did Wolff when he was with them too. Halston Sage as Lacey Pemberton was quite good offering a character who could have easily been a throwaway person, but instead added to the main trio adventure. And finally Jaz Sinclair as Angela was quite fun too and like Lacey, Angela added another nice flavour to this mix of characters.

PAPER TOWNS

In conclusion Paper Towns is a film that I really liked. It had an interesting story, great characters and some heartwarming and fun moments, however there are a few questionable choices with the story and character moments that just kept this from being something that I truly loved.

Rating: 7/10

So have you seen Paper Towns and if so what did you think of it? Please be sure to comment below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! :D

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2015 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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