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Monthly Archives: March 2012

Birthdays Are Awesome!

You know birthdays are interesting little things aren’t they? It is the one day in the year that symbolizes your age and it is that one special day to celebrate your existence in the world. The anticipation towards this one day can be pretty immense depending on the specific age or occasion and besides Christmas, it is the most important time of the year for most people. But when that day normally comes it can be an incredible experience. Being around your family and friends on that day is a great feeling because you are around people who love and care about you, also depending on how old you are you can get presents too which can be an exciting experience in itself.

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Birthdays, they are just an excuse to have fun 😀

Either way your birthday is the one day for you to be you, to enjoy life and celebrate the fact that you’ve made it one more day into a new age with new and exciting opportunities ahead of you. Well that’s what birthdays mean to me.

Just recently (yesterday in fact) I turned 22 and it was a pretty crazy lead-up to the day. I had been waiting for this day in particular since January when me and my faltmates had a flat party and went out for one of their birthdays and that was an incredible, unforgettable night and I wanted the same for myself when my night came around. Not only that but last year I never went out or did anything big for my 21st birthday so the event for my 22nd was gonna have to be big to make up for not doing anything last year. this year I decided to have a flat party with all of the people I have met since coming to Sheffield. So then Friday came along and I woke up to lovely birthday messages on my phone and Facebook. Then headed off to class in uni only to find out there was no class, so that annoyed me a little bit, but at the same time I was like “Yay no class!” So then when my second class came around I went into that and got a birthday wish off a friend and an even bigger and louder happy birthday off of my other classmate which resulted in several other people who I didn’t know giving me happy birthday wishes too, so that was unexpectedly nice 😀

 

So in class outside of doing work I had some interesting and funny conversations with my mates before heading back to my flat. Then I went out to the pub with my flat mate and some other friends and while playing pool one of my other classmates who had promised me cake finally sorted me some cake, it was incredible. I swear it was like one of the best moments of my life. I don’t get given many things from my friends, so the fact I got a whole cake from a classmate from university who I haven’t known for very long was very touching. She is definitely gonna be one of my best friends for life! So we continued to chill at the pub and had some food before rushing back to the flat to make a playlist and fix it up before the party people started showing up. Then people started coming, the music started playing (even if it wasn’t always from my playlist) and the drinking began. It was just a great feeling to be around all of these people who said that they were gonna come, I felt so loved. We all danced, drank, hugged and I took so many pictures it was insane. It was a beautiful atmosphere of smiles and chaos. So much stuff got messed up. Stools moved up and down the hallway, me and my flatmates’s rooms keep being invaded, two of my mates were dressed in wonzies at one point and the drinking game known as “Battleshots” was mad. Though the night didn’t end there, we eventually went out on the town and danced and raved it up in the clubs of Sheffield it was great. There was a lot of last night I don’t remember, but luckily from what I do recall I did have fun, probably the most amount of fun I’ve had in a long time.

So yeah I just wanted to share with you people of the internet my delightful birthday experience. This birthday more than made up for my 21st and even though it was my first birthday away from home and my family, my parents did call me and I got a funny text off my sister too so it was all good 🙂 I just wanted to say that birthdays are awesome and they can be fun for anyone if you let them be 😀

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2012 in Life

 

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Films I’m Looking Forward to in 2012: The Amazing Spider-Man

Yo yo ladies and gents of the world and welcome to another instalment of Films I’m Looking Forward to in 2012. Today I just thought I’d share with you my thoughts on the upcoming Spider-Man film reboot entitled The Amazing Spider-Man.

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Now if you are like me then you love Spider-Man, I think he is the best superhero in the world. While loads of other comic book fans would say the Batman or Superman, Spidey is the one for me. It’s been that way ever since I was a kid and it’s just my personal preference. And if you’re like me then you would have liked the Sam Raimi Spider-Man film trilogy. Granted that there were a good number of changed to the origin story, characters, costumes and some terrible choices made in the third film… But regardless of those factors Spider-Man 1 & 2 are still great films by most live-action superhero film standards, they helped build the basic formula for superhero films and they actually made them cool to watch. I loved the first to Sam Raimi films, with Tobey Maguire giving a great performance as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, along with other great actors and actresses like Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, William Dafoe, Alfred Molina, JK Simmons, Bryce Dallas Howard and Elizabeth Banks to name a few. I think the films did a great job of capture the life and times of Peter Parker through all the ups and downs, juggling his double life and trying to safe the world, The films really were fabulous with some great storylines, amazing fight sequences, wonderful characters with great development. Obviously the films unfortunately took a turn for the worst when Spider-Man 3 came out and through in too many stories, characters, butchered Eddie Brock/Venom and Gwen Stacy too. So this series did end on a slightly weak note, but before this reboot came along I think most people were in agreement; that Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films besides number 3 were great… That was until this reboot thing came into play.

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The Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy, it really wasn’t that bad especially with the brilliance that is Spider-Man 2. Still one of the most highly regarded comic book films in existence.

So obviously after a while it was confirmed that Sony were gonna go ahead and attempt to redeem themselves with Spider-Man 4 with Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire as Spidey again against John Malkovich as The Vulture. It sounded great, however the plug was pulled on that project by Sony and then they decided to go for the reboot option instead. Some fans were completely outraged, while a surprising amount of people supported the idea. To be honest I thought that there was many other film series of Marvel characters that needed to be rebooted more than Spider-Man. Fantastic Four, Daredevil or Ghost Rider anybody? But it went ahead anyway and the announcements were made. Firstly Sony said that the film would be directed by Marc Webb, director of 500 Days of Summer and they also gave a date for the reboot which was July 3rd 2012. Then we found out about the plot, hearing that Peter Parker would be heading back to high school, again. Except this film would focusing specifically on that part of his life as a young Parker as he discovers his powers similar to the story that got told in the Ultimate Spider-Man comics. Also there would be another aspect taken into play which hadn’t been covered before; Parker’s parents and the mystery surrounding their lives. Over the latter half of 2010 we got our new cast for the film with british actor Andrew Garfield taking on the role of Peter Parker/Spider-Man, we had the lovely Emma Stone originally thought to be Mary Jane Watson, then confirmed to be Gwen Stacy and we had Rhys Ifans as the new Dr. Curt Connors/the Lizard.

Now let’s talk about Andrew Garfield. He’s a british actor of a fairly high-caliber and done a lot of good work in films like Lions for Lambs, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Boy A and Never Let Me Go. However as good as those films were if you were outside of the UK then chances are you wouldn’t see them so you couldn’t judge his acting skills unless you searched him out. I don’t think it was until The Social Network came out that people started to pay attention to Garfield and while that’s pretty bad, that’s the way it happened for a lot of people. Luckily he was bloody brilliant as Eduardo Saverin, he gave a very convincing american accent and gave a wonderful performance in the film. I think after that point no one was worried about him playing Parker in the new film.

Before any images of this reboot film came out everybody never wanted this film to happen, most people either wanted Spider-Man 4 or just wanted the film series to die. But slowly after filming started and the interviews started coming in the new film started winning people over with great casting for the main and supporting cast, a much more promising story which is closer to the source material and a good few pictures and videos from the filming on-set. And speaking of pictures let’s look att he first official one that came out in January 2011.

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This was the official picture for the new Spider-Man film and this was the defining feature at the time that would determine how the film was going and whether you personally would approve of it or not. Most people I saw from forum to forum to any other place on the internet where you could leave a comment hated the costume. A lot of people complained about the tampering oft he original style of the costume or some complained that Garfield’s Spidey was too skinny and so on and so forth. Though there were many who liked the new style of this new costume commenting on the new material on the red and blue areas and liked the sleek, rough-cut and edgy new design. I have to say I was apprehensive about the progress of this film at first with all of the changes that were made to the costume and the choice of casting for Peter Parker, but the more I looked at it I started to like it. Though when I saw some of the set photos that came out and saw the costume in full I was like “What the hell is this? Where’s the belt area on the costume? And why does his shoes have this stupid silvery metal bits on the bottom?” Many complaints were fired at the costume, but eventually the fans calmed down, well the sensible ones at lease haha.

The film eventually adopted the name “The Amazing Spider-Man” as its official title and that was appropriate as it was in line with the title of the original ongoing comic books series. It was a smart move as it again established its closer connection to the source material especially to the Stan Lee & Steve Ditko era of the Spidey stories. Over the course of 2011 we learnt a lot about the film, from the story direction to the characters that were going to be used and how they would interact with each other. We also learnt that the film was being film in 3D because Marc Webb described that the film was going to fully immerse you in the vision of Spider-Man and that the 3D would enhance the film rather than take away from it. We also learnt that Peter Parker would return to using his web shooters rather than his organic webbing he got in the Raimi films. Marc Webb went with this choice to showcase Parker’s level of scientific intellect. From set pictures we learnt that Oscorp would be involved in the film and so would the Daily Bugle, but J. Jonah Jameson wouldn’t be involved in the film and Peter wouldn’t have his normal job at the Bugle just yet. As I said before there was a loads of photos and videos from around the late point of 2010 when principal photography started, there was a great number of pictures of Andrew Garfield in and out of the suit and we learnt that this version of Parker has been modernised with the choice of clothing and especially with the skateboard he carries around. We also saw many pictures of Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy in many different locations and we also got to see shots of Rhys Ifans as Curt Connors. But fans were really interested in were the set photos of Garfield in the costume. We saw shots of him fighting criminals in very strange positions to swinging the very impressive physical web-slinging which again reinforced what Marc Webb said about trying to create a more realistic Spider-Man film saying that CGI would only be used for visual enhancements.

So after a good number pictures and videos we got our first trailer for the film in July 2011 after it was leaked online and aired at San Diego’s Comic-Con International. What we got from the trailer was a really massive teaser trailer, though it did establish the tone, atmosphere and style of this upcoming film which felt completely different from the Sam Raimi films. In that trailer there was a great emphasis on Parker’s parents and the fact that he was a loner and had no one that he knew friend-wise besides Gwen. We see a different take on how he got his abilities and then we were treated to a fist-person perspective as Spider-Man running along the rooftops of New York which looked very much like the game Mirror’s Edge. While it was a neat thing to add into the trailer it did kind of feel like a gimmick for the 3D aspect of the film. Though it was a decent trailer, fans demanded more, though it was clear from the amount of stuff we saw that there was still a great deal of work and post-production touch-ups that needed to be implemented and expecting a lot while the film was still being made was a bit of a long shot. Overall the first trailer got us all talking, while it wasn’t a the best trailer ever and a lot of fans wanted a lot more from the trailer, it did grab our attention. Watch it here:

So then we came into 2012 and the information for this film just keeps coming from each comic related event. With loads of official new pictures from the film and we even got the official plot synopsis:

“The Amazing Spider-Man is the story of Peter Parker (Garfield), an outcast high schooler who was abandoned by his parents as a boy, leaving him to be raised by his Uncle Ben (Sheen) and Aunt May (Field). Like most teenagers, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and how he got to be the person he is today. Peter is also finding his way with his first high school crush, Gwen Stacy (Stone), and together, they struggle with love, commitment, and secrets. As Peter discovers a mysterious briefcase that belonged to his father, he begins a quest to understand his parents’ disappearance – leading him directly to Oscorp and the lab of Dr. Curt Connors (Ifans), his father’s former partner. As Spider-Man is set on a collision course with Connors’ alter-ego, The Lizard, Peter will make life-altering choices to use his powers and shape his destiny to become a hero.”

It sounded all too interesting but at the same tine it wasn’t anything we hadn’t read about before. Along with this plot synopsis we finally got full-on looks at the Lizard and his more humanoid form very much similar to the original comics and less like the later versions with the long snout which is the fan favourite. Many don’t like the look of this Lizard, while others have learned to accept what they’re given. Either way I don’t think it was until this second official trailer came out that The Amazing Spider-Man became an actual contender for a good summer film. Check it out here:

I already did a video on this trailer a little while ago when it came out in last month but needless to say it looks miles better than the last trailer in every way shape and form. It’s dark, its serious and it packs a lot of weight into everything that you see from the scenes of action to the conversations between the main characters. It also seems like there is proper connection between Connors and Parker, not only from Peter’s parents but also what happens to Connors to turn him into the Lizard. The use of location in this film is so diversion and the use of lighting colour really gives off and realistic tone to the movie. The Spider-Man in this trailer looks like the coolest guy ever. I mean Spidey’s web-slinging is very fluid and a lot faster than the previous films, plus he looks so badass throwing down against his enemies and throwing web in such a fancy fashion. It also seems like this version of Spidey is even more agile, flexible and moves around a lot more when it comes to combat and evasion. And finally, finally, finally he has his trademark humour back in place. We can see that the police will have a greater role in this film with Captain George Stacy ordering an arrest for Spider-Man so that should be interesting also. If this isn’t a good indication of good stuff to come then I dunno what is.

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In conclusion I’m hopeful for The Amazing Spider-Man, the film went from being something I’d watch because I felt it was mandatory to something I am genuinely interested in watching. I’m hyped. There is a lot to like about this new take on Spider-Man, the filmmakers are bringing back Gwen Stacy and the Lizard, plus the Spidey’s trademark humour, the web shooters, they’re doing physical stunt work for web slinging too. Along with a gritty and darker tone than before and more involving character story Spider-Man’s return to the big screen this summer could be pretty badass. What I’m properly interested in is the way in which they tackled the characters because it’s been said in many interviews with the director and the actors that the characters are key to this film and that they happen to be the driving force of this film, especially the relationship between Peter and Gwen. I hope that materialised in this film and it translates well and that the filmmakers can do Spidey justice. Let’s hope Marvel don’t let us down. BRING IT ON!!!

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2012 in Films, Media

 

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Terminator Salvation Review

Howdy people, today I come to you with another film review from the past and this one comes in the shape of Terminator Salvation aka Terminator 4. Now I saw this film in the cinema back in the summer of 2009 and to be honest I liked it back then, it wasn’t great but it was tolerable. However times have changed and I wanted to offer up my new opinions instead in the year 2012.

The History

Now for those not in the know let me give y’all a little history lesson. It all started in 1984 when the first Terminator was created. Directed by James Cameron (now known for his work on Titanic and Avatar), the film featured Michael Biehn as Kyle Reese, a man set back from the future to protect Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) and her unborn child from the unstoppable cybernetic robot assassin The Terminator T-800 (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) who has been sent back to kill her. The film revolves around Kyle and Sarah running away from the Terminator and while on the run we find out that Sarah is meant to have a child who is meant to safe the future from Skynet, a computer system that takes over all electronic technology. The story of this film set up one of the most interesting and confusing plots I’ve ever witnessed in cinema with the concept of time travel and time paradoxes. It honestly wouldn’t come any better then this. The film was a cross between science fiction and horror and on paper this was a risky project. The budget was low, the story had some complex issues and Arnie at the time wasn’t exactly a big actor yet, but times did change. Luckily The Terminator was a well recieved film back in the 80s. The music was scary, the action was beautifully done, the sense of danger was constantly there and the movie propelled Arnie into stardom. With the film being an overall success financially and critically there was room for a sequel… and boy was there a sequel.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day was the follow up film that showed up in 1991 again directed by James Cameron. This film saw Sarah Connor’s character change dramatically, she was now a badass chick who knew what the future held and she prepared herself and her son through childhood for the future that he would undertake. Unfortunately due to her efforts in trying to stop Skynet (attempting to bomb a computer factory), she was arrested and put into a mental hospital. While in there we see the now 11 year old John Connor living with foster parents, but he is a little rebel skipping school and doing as he pleases (to a degree due to his age). As fate would have it, a new Terminator comes from the future to take out John due to his future duty as the leader of the resistance against Skynet. This Terminator is the T-1000 which has many upgrades over Arnie’s model with a liquid metal that allows it to take the appearance and voice of any person it comes into contact with; it has a higher level of durability then the previous models. The original T-800 Terminator comes back, except this time he has to protect John from the T-1000. After busting Sarah out of the metal hospital, John, Sarah and the T-800 move quickly to avoid death and to take out the place where Skynet came into existence. Now let me tell you now, this is the best Terminator film out of the all of them, it’s the definition of badass! The film is bigger and better then the last, showcasing even more memorable action sequences, more interesting story elements and even stronger visual effects which at the time were amazing. The film outgrossed the original and was considered to be even better then the last film by many fans and critics and even won 4 Oscars at the 64th Academy Awards.

Then after a long while in 2003 we got Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. In this film it focused on John Connor’s adult years which lead up to the future we’ve heard about. Basically after Skynet failed to kill Sarah Connor before John was born, it sends back another Terminator, the T-X, to try and kill John’s associates. Since Judgment Day has only delayed rather then averted, John Connor still knows the what’ll happen in the future and has been living and constantly on the move. The T-X is even more advance then the model in T2, with an endoskeleton with built-in weaponry, a liquid metal exterior similar to the T-1000 and the ability to control other machines. Luckily Arnie was back again as the T-850 model, having the same attributes as the previous versions, but now has a different power source. This time he protects John Connor and his future wife Kate Brewster (who is also a target for the T-X). Even with Arnie back in the game, a sexy new female cyborg and action set pieces that looked great, the plot, characters and overall film wasn’t strong enough. It was just impossiblt to live up to Terminator 2, T3 as much money as the previous films and only got an aveerage to negative reception.

In truth after that film it seemed like there was never going to be another Terminator. T3 more or less filled out the connections between the future and the present. Arnold Schwarzenegger had quit acting and become Governor of California and there was no word from series originator James Cameron whether the franchise would get a new film. So when i heard that a fourth Terminator film was in the works i felt hope in my soul again. Okay I’ve blabbered on for far too long, it’s about time i actually started talking about the new film.

The Review

When it comes to story it goes something like this: Salvation is set in 2018 and focuses on the war between Skynet and humanity, with the human Resistance fighting against Skynet’s killing machines. The film focuses John Connor as a a Resistance fighter before he becomes the legendary leader that is known from the first and second films. On the other side of things there is a cyborg called Marcus Wright who used to be human who then got transformed, he has no memory of his past and in the film he spends most his time trying to hunt for the answers. The film also introduces us to a young Kyle Reese and give us the origin of the T-800 Model 101 Terminator.

With Terminator 4 now under the direction of McG and the promise of a dark gritty film with many ties to the first and second films, you think this film would be brillaint right? Wrong! To be honest back in 2009 I thought the film was pretty decent but then I watched it again in last year and man, this film is nothing like I remember it and if anything it seems worse. Now I understand that first Terminator was a horror film, the second film was an action thriller and the third was more of an action film. And this film was a war film. Unfortunately I didn’t really feel like the whole war concept was translated into the film very well. Sure it was there, but its execution wasn’t very good at all. T4 was just a dark, depressing film for all the wrong reasons, it was lacking in character charm or originality which all the previous films had.

The characters in the film were okay but for the most part they’re pretty bland. I mean you’re only paying attention to 3 or 4 of them throughout the whole film because everybody else doesn’t really matter. Christian Bale plays this version of John Connor and in my opinion he was not a good choice for this character. The way he speaks, urgh! Damn yo so annoying. The guy seems to whisper when he talks or he sometimes uses that horrible raspy voice from the Batman films! His overall look just seems to deviate too far from the original John Connor, he seems a little skinny in the face and it makes him seem older then he should look and i wish that John didn’t have a fat mustache. On the other side you have Marcus Wright, a man turned machine that lives his life without knowing the truth. Sam Worthington is a little better than Bale’s character because he’s got a much more interesting backstory and you can kind of attach to him, but again after a while he gets really boring. And lastly we have Anton Yelchin as Kyle Reese. Now I thought that this was a one of these kinds of characters that the actor didn’t get right. Now don’t get me wrong, I loved Anton Yelchin in Star Trek as Pavel Chekov, but in this film he was a just okay, but pretty weak in prescence and I did not feel the connection between him and the version from the first film. The rest of cast were just forgettable. Other characters like Kate Connor, Barnes, Blair Williams, and General Ashdown… I didn’t care about them, they were bland and irrelevant. It may be harsh but that’sjust the way I felt. I really got into that mode of just seeing action and skiping past anything to do with the human scenes. I just wanted to see explosions and robots. And speaking of robots, let’s talk about them.


The T-600s were pretty nice, sure they were slow, unorganised and nowhere near as cool as Arnie’s T-800 model, however I felt they were a nice  little edition to the series. I couldn’t tell exactly where the T-700s were because between them and the T-600s they’re hard to tell apart because they’re not clearly labelled lol. And then there’s the T-800s, they still rock, nuff said. The other flying and water machines were okay for what they were and it’s good that tehfilmmakers tried to add more types of machines, but in the end I reakky didn’t really care for them. The only new robot that really deserves kudos is the Harvester, that colossal beast is cool, just moving about in slow motion shooting the crap out of stuff, badass. The visual style of the film is pretty interesting, it based in a baren wasteland that is the future version of Earth due to the war and it is nicely done. And in terms of the presentation the locations do look dark and dreary and i think it’s a look that works fairly well, although i was hoping for fights at nigh time like in the previous films. But the look very a little dull and uninteresting. The GCI in the film is pretty good, but that’s to be expected in films like these and there was some good use of praticle models for teh Terminator robots too, although there are a few inaccuracies which are clearly noticeable. The T-800 models are done very well for something that only mainly moved with skin covering it or moving in stop motion animation. With the action scenes and sequences, they were alright and nice to look at, though they wasn’t anything that left an impression or properly memorable.

Conclusion

In the end Terminator Salvation aka Terminator 4 wasn’t complete a load of crud, but it wasn’t the film fans or critics wanted. There is some things to like about the film like the action sequences and the unstoppable Terminator robots/ There wasseveral points of the film where I was left thinking “Oh come off it! How is that thing is still moving? Impossible!” The Arnie cameo is great even if it is through CG editing and even if he’s there for 2 minutes. Unforunately the film is just not the same with out the full-on awesomeness that is Arnold Schwarzenegger! He makes the films; without him, there is no Terminator! The film did okay without him considering the circumstances, but it had it’s own share of problems with a pretty weak and inconsistant story, boring chaarcters and overall feeling like a film really devoid of any life or feeling. McG was a bad choice as the drector and this film has sort of shot the Terminator series into the ground. I don’t think there should be any other films after T4 and if there is i will send an angry letter to James Cameron telling him to get his ass in gear and prevent this franchise from being completely destroyed.

Rating: 5.5/10

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2012 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Those Crazy Uni Days!

Howdy ladies and gentlemen and welcome to another blog post. Tonight’s post is going to be a little simpler in nature to most of the hardcore film and video game posts I’ve been doing recently. It’s literally gonna be me talking about me and my recent crazy perspective on my life in university.

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University life… Yes, it is all it’s cracked up to be and then some. It has certainly impressed me and passed my expectations.

Since coming to university in Sheffield back in September and being initially shocked at how big the city was, how many things there were to see and do and also shocked by the whole nightlife. However a lot of time has passed and now I have a much better perspective on things and looking back on things even though I have suffered greatly, have metal breakdowns and been on the edge of sanity at the same time I’ve had so much fun and have so many stories to tell, in the end I’m so glad I came here.

From September I came here and got to know my flatmates, we’d gone out in the first initial weeks of uni and we danced, we got drunk and raved into the early hours of the morning. Me and my flatmate Craig also found the gaming society in our uni and became part of that and since then they have become part of my family, just hanging out and gaming, good times, nothing comes close to a good game session with good people 😀 With the game society we’ve gone to Quasar (Lazer Quest) twice and gone a good few nights out in socials and just on general nights of clubbing. It’s been fantastic. And speaking of clubbing… Man, I have gone out so much its unreal. While not every night out has been perfect or completely memorable, when a good night has come along, my god, they have come and been some of the best times of my life in the company of brilliant people I’m glad to call my friends. Even if we’re not going out and raving it up, I’m just chilling inside in my flat with my flat mates gaming, messing around or having dancing sessions or sometimes we go out to meet our mates at their houses or meet up in the park and do more hanging. Also one of the best things about the people I have met up here in Sheffield is that some of those friends I met have now become the lovely people I shall be living with next year in our new house that we’ll be transferring into in July and to be honest I couldn’t have asked for better people to leave with. We’re all so similar, firstly we’re all gamers which is like the best thing ever in my life, plus we’re all into cartoons especially Adventure Time and we seem to gel really well as a group but also as individuals, it’s just fabulous.

And obviously the course I’m taking at university does come into play somewhere haha and to be honest its pretty good. I mean at first in the first few months leading up to Christmas I really didn’t like what we were doing all that much, there was a lot to do with blogging, essay assignments and working with complicated and frustrating animation software like 3DS Max and Adobe Flash which annoyed me to the highest heavens! Though there was some nice things to do like doing screencasts and actually learning how to animate in the second and third dimension because I had never tampered with anything like that before coming to university. Luckily the course finally picked up after January started with us doing some stop motion animation and though the experience was just as frustrating as it was in college, but thankfully it was a much shorter and funnier experience. Then we moved onto doing 2D animation again, but this time it was with a program called Pencil and it was a hell of a lot easier to use than Flash. Using this software we had to do walk and run cycles. Plus it was a completely new experience as I was working with tablets. Though I had used one briefly in college, art tablets are just alien to me. The project was finished recently and it was fun but caused be a great deal of stress when my work decided to disappear, become corrupted or the software would crash on many occasions. I had to deal with so much hassle on the night before and on the day of the work deadline. Luckily like a don I preserved and got my work on time because I’m frigging awesome! It really was a close call but as I put it “I bet the system!”

As I said before while I have had so many great moments in university, I have also faced some of the darkest days I have ever seen in my life. I have been in the deep end with coursework, having awkward moments of friendship with people and been in financial ruin on several occasions to the point where it nearly destroyed my world. It really did affect my life and the way I acted for a long time. Luckily I have the support of my family and friends that has kept my spirits above the pont of drowning into a state of depression and I’ve never been more thankful for their existence.

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Family and friends, the most important people in my world, especially in the last few months.

In the end even though my first year of university isn’t quite over yet, it’s been a turbulent rollercoaster ride of different emotions, situations, scenarios and life-changing stuff. And though some of those of experiences I wish I’d never lived through, I don’t regret it because they say whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger and I believe I am a much stronger individual because of my trials and tribulations. all I can do now is look forward to the future which is looking pretty bright, I have the MCM London Expo to look forward to, plus I’ll be moving into my new house in a little while, plus The Avengers will be out next month and lastly it’ll be my birthday in 2 days!!! Hooray for me, I can’t wait!!

Thanks for reading yo 😀

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2012 in Life

 

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Films I’m Looking Forward to in 2012: The Expendables 2

Howdy ladies and gentlemen and welcome to another instalment of Films I’m Looking Forward to in 2012 and today’s blog post will be on the upcoming sequel action film The Expendables 2.

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Now out of all of the films coming out in 2012 this may be a strange choice. I mean most of the films I have posted about before have had a lot of great aspects about them and have genuinely got me and a lot of other people in the world excited to see what comes out of them. But now we have The Expendables 2 and in a way it does sound like a bit of a questionable film that may be fun and action-packed, but beyond that it may not hold up.

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This is the crazy film that started all of the madness and it’s hella good! Just pure entertainment.

Anyways let’s go back to the first film. Back in 2010 we had The Expendables, a crazy loud and proud action film with a 15 certificate staring an immense cast including Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Mickey Rourke, Jet Li, Gary Daniels, Randy Couture, Jason Statham, Terry Crews, Steve Austin and two cameo appearances from two of the most legendary action stars in cinema; Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger. I mean damn the cast was massive and immense and there was a lot of testosterone and epic manliness in that film. While there was a plot in the film, to be honest the point was irrelevant, it was only there to give the characters a reason as to why they wanted to run and gun and blow things up and boy did they do a lot of that. The Expendables was a film of just insane amounts of action and chaos from the fight scenes to the fire fights and all of the explosions that took place over the course of the film. While the film’s story was a bit weak and the actors won’t get awards for their performances in the end it was just a fun summer movie for fans of the 80s and 90s action films of yesteryear. The Expendables opened to mixed reviews from critics and casual film-goers, it also wasn’t the perfect action film that so many had hoped for and there was a good few action stars missing from the cast. However, it was still a commercial success at the box office and loads of people were talking about this film in the summer of 2010 and I watched it in the cinema when it came out and I thought it was awesome fun. So much brutality, killing and explosions, good god I loved it, though the film did drag and lacked a lot of great action sequences, it is all made up for by the last third of the film which is just a massacre of destruction. Beautiful, beautiful destruction. And so now 2 years down the line its time to summon these action stars back in a sequel, but this time with additional help…

Enter The Expendables 2 which boasts a cast that in a lot of way is even more impressive than the last. While you have Stallone, Statham, Lundgren, Li, Couture and Crews returning, you also have Willis & Schwarzenegger coming back in much more substantial roles! You also have the addition of new cast members Liam Hemsworth, Yu Nan and Scott Adkins too. Then add into the mix the awesomeness that is Jean-Claude Van Damme and the legendary badass of badassness Chuck Norris!!!! And then its like the film has become a completely different beast entirely. And again like last time there are a good few people missing from the cast like obvious choices Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Vin Diesel and Steven Seagal to name a few. But Stallone has his reasons for his casting, so I can’t argue with that, plus if there’s a third film then these other action stars may make an appearance.

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Three badasses of action films finally together again to kick some ass in The Expendables 2. This should be fun 😀

In terms of plot it does sound familiar, but also inviting. Just have a read at the Wikipedia plot summary here:

After taking a seemingly simple job for Mr. Church (Bruce Willis), the Expendables find their plans going awry and one of their own is brutally murdered by rival mercenary Jean Vilain (Jean-Claude Van Damme). The Expendables set out into hostile territory — with their new members Billy the Kid (Liam Hemsworth) and Maggie (Yu Nan) — to put a stop to a deadly weapon and gain their revenge against the villain who killed their brother.

Sounds like a simple plot about revenge and for this genre of film it works. One just has to wonder if this film will be either as good as the original or better (which it really should aim to be)? I hope that this film will build upon the foundation of the last film by using its cast effectively throughout the story and action scenes and sequences. I also seriously hope Jet Li will get more screen time and more opportunities to show off his proper martial arts skills. I hope all of the fights has interesting and impressive choreography and that the fire fights play out well and have some kick ass explosions! Personally I think the cast will pull through, I mean you have Chuck Norris, Bruce Willis & the epic return of Arnie the frigging Terminator!! This film has to be at least decent to watch. Either way I’m just excited just to see all these action stars come together and create some chaos! In summer 2012 The Expendables will return and kick some ass in this sequel, let’s hope that it was worth the wait.

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2012 in Films, Media

 

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John Carter Review

Good day to you ladies and gentlemen, today I come to you with a new film review and it will be on the recent sci-fi action film John Carter.

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Never before have I ever seen a film of such a high magnitude fall victim to such a questionable situation with its critical reception and box office numbers. I mean from what I know John Carter as a film is adapted from very rich source material called Barsoom which was a 11-volume series of novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs. And it is was that source material from the novels that influenced directors like Jame Cameron and George Lucas when making Avatar and the Star Wars films. So with all of this influential material and the novels looking like the basis of every great science fiction adventure film, it is hard to believe that the material could be adapted into something bad. Upon the film’s release there were critics that said it was great, while many others said that it was just okay while many others said it was terrible. But I believe the main thing that hurt John Carter was the box office numbers. So far it’s failed to rake in enough cinema-goers to make its money back, it cost $250 million to make which is an absurd amount of money and currently it’s just short of that at around $234 million which is pretty tragic really. So is the film really that bad? Well read on into my review to find out.

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The plot of the film is set in the 1800s and it focuses on the main protagonist, John Carter. A man from Virginia, he’s a natural-born fight whose fought in the Confederate Army and at that current point in time he was tired of war, didn’t take shit from anyone and was obsessed with finding his treasure of gold. However through a series of events he happens to find a medallion, say some magic words and gets transported to Mars (also known as Barsoom to inhabitants of that planet). So when he’s on Mars he discovers that he jump higher and has increased strength due to his higher bone density and Mars’ lower gravity. He then comes across a race of green aliens with four arms who witness his newfound powers and take him in, meanwhile on the other side of the planet there’s a princess called Dejah Thoris who is being forced into marrying the antagonist in the film because with that deed done he can end the war with his power, but the princess isn’t down with that so she attempts to escape, then meets up with John Carter and then they get to know each other and form an alliance. And now moving onto the antagonist Sab Than, a man who’s been given a great power called the Ninth Ray and under the influence of ancient powerful entities called the Thern he is destined to take the princesses hand in marriage to end the war. So somehow Carter is drafted into this war, while he is also trying to find a way of getting back home…

Confused much? Well if you said yes then you are not alone. I know that wasn’t a very good plot description but the fact of the matter is that there is many layers to John Carter, it would be hard to talk about the film without going into specific details about characters and story. The film’s main problem is that it has too much story. There’s too many layers and its mashed together in a very choppy and unorganized manner. John Carter’s story starts on Earth and there’s a lot of story there involving a lot of characters past and present, then you have the several events that take place on Mars and all the characters he interacts with, some of which have their own backstories and then you have the history of Barsoom (Mars). That’s a lot of material to cover in around 2 hours. There was too much source material to work with and while the story gets clearer as events play out on Mars, it still gets lost in translation at many points. I reckon that this film could have been split into 2 halves, though finding a clear-cut off point would be difficult, but I feel that approach would have benefitted the film much better especially with all of the back story that comes with Barsoom and Carter’s history on Earth.

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The cluttered story also makes for some awkward pacing over the course of the movie. It really felt like the film didn’t allow you to process the information it was trying to give you, much like Clash of the Titans and Green Lantern. I mean you are given the whole history of Barsoom at the beginning of the film, but it feels like it was breezed over and not given enough breathing space.It would have worked better at a later part of the film through a descriptive back story by one of the inhabitants that Carter encounters. You also have John Carter being on Mars, adjusting to the fact that he’s on another planet with light gravity, he then comes into contact with the green aliens just a little while afterwards, then there’s another new storyline with Dejah thrown in, and then there’s the whole thing with the Thern and Sab too. And the way you cut from scene to scene without enough time to take in is very frustrating because there are moments of emotion and good action, but they are all too brief and over in a flash. And it is because of this awkward pacing that we don’t get time to properly get invested in the characters or believe the budding relationship between Carter and Dejah, such a shame.

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Also when the film was going through like the first act on Earth I was like “What the hell is all this shit? Where’s all the action and adventure from Mars? When does he get to Mars? Skip this shit, I wanna see Mars!” When you are thinking about all of those things before a film has even gotten into its element then you know its got problems. Basically the first part of the film dragged, it had awkward editing, pretty dull characters and that part of the plot I didn’t really care about. And even after we get to Mars and things become more interesting, there’s still awkward, choppy and incomplete moments that arise.

Other failings of the film come in the form of its dialogue, characters and the film’s overall tone. Some of the stuff that happens in this film is actually weird or completely ridiculous regardless of whether its meant fictional. The dialogue is okay, but a lot of it is cliché and pretty lame at points. Secondly the characters in the film are the kind we’ve seen a good few times before except a lot better in those other films, Taylor Kitsch as John Carter is alright and did what he could with the role, but I feel like he was just a bit boring at times and Lynn Collins as Dejah Thoris was pretty and not half bad acting-wise but overall just a tad annoying and lacking in likability. Willem Dafoe as Tars Tarkas was probably the most memorable of all the characters because he had personality and was actually pretty cool and when it comes to Dominic West as Sab Than he was just the generic villain, no layers to him whatsoever and Mark Strong as Matai Shang was just Mark Strong being himself, an interesting character but a little dull. But the third and final thing that bugged me was this whole lighthearted Disney feeling that was sprinkled all over the film, from the comedic scenes to some of the dialogue or the choice of music. It felt very Disney-like, like watching old Disney animated films. That atmosphere created made John Carter feel like it was intended for children and dumbed down for adults, it was quite annoying like some of the scenes from the Pirates of the Caribbean films.I made a good few comparisons to Disney’s Aladdin due to the characters, plot and setting. But then the tone of the film keeps switching between kiddie and then adult when there are scenes of war and violence, especially when you see people being killed and decapitated. So you have to wonder what kind of tone was this film going for.

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Remember all this chaos and action-packed scenes from the trailers and posters? Well you have to wait for all that stuff and sit through half of a film that feels like its part of another film.

So after all of this hateful comments I’ve given to this film you probably think I hated it right? Well I didn’t. Before this film came out I thought it was just another Conan the Barbarian except it’s in space, but luckily it wasn’t nearly that bad. When I left the cinema screen I was bemused, I found myself liking the film, but it was hard to pinpoint the balance between how much I liked with how much I disliked. As I said before the film frustrates me because there are aspects of the film that do work, John Carter’s past and present story was a deep one and the adventure he goes on is pretty incredible, BUT that is offset but the execution of this film which defeats the elements that the film is trying to sell to you as an audience member. For a film that is meant to be basis of most other science fiction films it sure does pay homage to other films like the recent Stars Wars Episode 1 to Star Wars Episode 6 with the podracing and speeder chases sequences and there’s some obvious parallels to Avatar too.

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In the end John Carter meets somewhere in the middle; it isn’t completely rubbish or a masterpiece either. While it has some moments of genuine entertainment, it is also plagued with questionable dialogue, a very heavy and convoluted storyline, strange character personalities and awkward pacing. The film is just frustrating because it had a lot of potential and in a way you could see that it could be so much more, but unfortunately it’s just half a good film, half a mess of a film. Watch the film if you so choose, however I can’t recommend it because of how much it a disappointment it was to me.

Rating: 6/10

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Games I’m Looking Forward to in 2012: Monster Hunter 4

Welcome to another instalment in Games I’m Looking Forward to in 2012 and today’s game will be the next in the Monster Hunter series, Monster Hunter 4. Now I know Monster Hunter Tri G will be the next Monster Hunter game to come out, but since that’s just an enhanced version of the Wii game that came out in 2010 I’m not counting it and skipping ahead to this sequel instead.

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Now I think it was safe to say that it was a massive surprise to hear about this game’s announcement at Nintendo’s pre-TGS conference last year. It’s no surprise that the series would keep going after its successful track record in japan and it’s small, yet ever-growing fan base over on western shores. And with the big success with Monster Hunter Tri on the Nintendo Wii and the continuation of the MH series on the PSP with the last game, Monster Hunter Freedom (aka Monster Hunter Portable 3rd) another game in the series seemed likely. So then there was appearance of Monster Hunter Tri G which was an upgraded version of the Wii game, coming to the Nintendo 3DS with new features, weapons and monsters too. Seemed cool and another interesting games to add to the 3DS library. But what I don’t think many people expected was the fact Monster Hunter 4 was already in development and that it was a 3DS exclusive! That was the icing on the cake for me haha. 😀

Here’s the brilliant video:

I think that was the real shocker. The fact that the next game was coming to the 3DS was an unlikely choice, I mean at the time the 3DS’s sales weren’t that great and it’s library of games were pretty weak (besides Super Street Fighter IV and Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D) until the latter half of the year when Mario Kart 7, Mario 3D Land & Star Fox 64 3D had come out. But I guess it was great for Nintendo, plus Capcom have been making a good few games for Nintendo with game series’ like Mega Man, Ace Attorney, Resident Evil and Viewitul Joe to name a few and let’s not forget their collaborations in making some of the Legend of Zelda games too.

But now let’s move onto the trailer and what we saw in the footage that was shown off. It seemed like the same traditional visual style that’s part of the MH series was present here, but it seemed to boast a much richer and more vivid colour palette than previous games with very warm colours. I think that was due to the look of the creature, the environment and the sunset towards the end of the video. The trailer also showed off some new game mechanics that have never been in previous games like elements of platforming, jumping onto the creature’s back and attacking them Shadow of the Colossus style and there was also scenes of destruction to the environment too which is a nice aspect to add to the series. these are all interesting and nice stuff they are adding to Monster Hunter 4 and I can’t wait to see what else they implement into the game.

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For me Monster Hunter Tri was one of the best purchases I made in 2010, I played the hell out of that game on my Wii and truly felt like part of a gaming community when it came to the online experience which was incredible! With all of the features on the 3DS from the obvious 3D enhancements that could be made to the game to the use of the Gyroscope, Street Pass, the AR Cards etc. Capcom could really increase the power of MH4 to a ridiculous level and make a really memorable and fantastic game for the 3DS like the recent Kid Icarus: Uprising or Resident Evil: Revelations. I kind of wish MH4 was coming to a home console like the Wii U or to some degree the PS3 or Xbox 360 because I feel those kinds of games work better on a home console with a game controller and on a massive TV, but that’s just me. Well the last MH game that was on the PSP is being ported to the PS3 for a HD makeover so maybe there’s hope for a Wii U port of the game in the future? Only time will tell…

Now funnily enough even though this blog post is about games I’m looking forward to in 2012 I’m not sure that the game will actually arrive this year. Think about it for a second, Japan have a to be announced release date for the game, but it’s still attached to 2012 for them so chances are that they’ll still get this game before the year is out. But with the Western release especially with a game series like Monster Hunter, we normally don’t get the game for a bout a year or at best a good few months down the line after it’s been released in Japan. So who knows, if anything the western release of this game may not come around until 2013! And if that’s the case I’d cry, but in a lot of cases that may be the most logical thing to happen.

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2012 in Media, Video Games

 

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Films I’m Looking Forward to in 2012: The Bourne Legacy

Howdy ladies and gentlemen and welcome to another instalment of Films I’m Looking Forward to in 2012 and today’s film may surprise some of you as it the upcoming fourth instalment in the Bourne film series; The Bourne Legacy.

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Now if you’re like me and you’ve seen The Bourne Trilogy with Matt Damon then you know how brilliant those films are and the significance that they hold. While the films don’t revolutionize the world of cinema or anything like that, The Bourne Trilogy is well-made, perfectly executed and one of the most consistent trilogies in recent years along with the Toy Story and The Lord of the Rings. This trilogy first started in 2002 with The Bourne Identity starring Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, a man found in a critical condition with no memory of his past. After he is nursed to health he starts to patch things together and then goes on a mission to find his past, also add into the mix that he’s being hunted by assassins and the involvement of the CIA and you have a lot on your plate. Luckily Jason Bourne is up for the challenge. The Bourne Identity is one of those wonderful films that impresses you from start to finish, it’s not one of those thriller type of movies just for the sake of it. This film has all the codes and conventions of a great thriller film, it’s smart, with a well though out and thought-provoking story, it’s also action-packed and has characters you can get invested in and care about. Doug Liman did a fine job as the director, Matt Damon was awesome in the film and it was well-received by critics and the public audience.

And with the success of the first film, the Bourne series continued with the next two titles in the series; The Bourne Supremacy (2004) and The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), now both under the direction of Paul Greengrass. The next two Bourne films continued Jason Bourne story as he continued to search for answers to his past and dive deeper into the business with the CIA and Treadstone. Just like Identity, Supremacy and Ultimatum continue to impress and go from strength to strength developing the characters and creating a very interesting story full of a web of conspiracy, lies and deceit. And besides some issues with the “shaky camera” work from certain scenes The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum were well-received, commercially successful and The Bourne Ultimatum even won three Academy Awards for Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Sound Editing at the 80th Academy Awards. After this point the Bourne series had established itself as a pretty successful film trilogy.

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A solid trilogy… There was no need for a fourth film. Darn money-hungry film studios.

The films are partially based on a series of books by Robert Ludlum, and while I have never read the books personally I’ve heard they are pretty good. Now embarrassingly I didn’t get around to watching any of these films until around 2009 to 2010 I think, I’d always heard of them but had never really been interested. But after being in a media class and watching a number of thriller films I gave these films a watch and I fell in love with them. The current Bourne Trilogy is one of my favourite trilogies ever, it was perfect, consistent and fine the way it was. I could watch those films over and over for an eternity…

So imagine my frustration and to find that there was potentially going to be another film.

I am a firm believer that most film series should never go beyond a third film unless there really is a need for it like if the third film sucked or if there is much more story to divulge. The Bourne Trilogy was solid, there really wasn’t a need for another film. Sure there were still some questions left unanswered still leaving the door open for more material but I feel the series ended with enough closure. So in 2008 it was reported that Paul Greengrass was going to direct again and Matt Damon was going to play Jason Bourne again. Then in 2009 Greengrass pulled out as director and then in 2010 Damon pulled out stating that he wouldn’t make another Bourne film without Greengrass and also said that the next film for him wouldn’t be made for 5 years. At that point it seemed like Bourne was going to be left alone, well at least that’s what I had hoped. It was announced by the writer and new director Tony Gilroy that the new film would be going ahead under the name The Bourne Legacy. His words on the justification of this new film’s existence caught my eye though, check it out:

“This is not a reboot, it’s a whole new chapter. The easiest way to think of it is an expansion or a reveal. Jason Bourne will not be in this film, but he’s very much alive. What happened in the first three films is the trigger for The Bourne Legacy, and everyone who got into them will be rewarded for paying attention. I’m building a legend and an environment and a wider conspiracy. We’re going to show you the bigger picture, the bigger canvas… The world we’re making enhances and advances and invites Jason Bourne’s reappearance somewhere down the road.”

So basically this film would be building around the world that the first three films were set in? Hmmmm. While it was a smart way to stay connected to the previous films I was still wary. But I don’t think it was until 2011 when Jeremy Renner was announced as the new title character of the Bourne series. Right there and then I think many people on the internet became unhappy with the choice. I mean no offence to the guy, he’s a good actor and I know he can do action and thriller-based work from what I saw in The Town, but stepping into the world of Bourne just didn’t fit for a lot of us. I guess we were all too attached to Matt Damon. But then who wouldn’t be? Filming also started in 2011 and then Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton were cast and I was like “What? Really? Okay I’m a little more interested now.” Firstly Rachel Weisz is not only a great actress but she’s hot as hell and Edward Norton is great actor too full of talent, so if this film could attract them then this film might be worth checking out.

But my interest wasn’t properly caught until this short trailer came out in February:

I saw this trailer and I had to actually watch it twice, it was nicely stylized, had the same sort of tone from the previous films and it showcased Jeremy Renner basically doing what Matt Damon did before; basically going to get answers and beating guys up in stylish ways. But obviously in a totally different environment and under different circumstances. Renner certainly looked combat-ready and able to handle himself. However I can’t help but think that this film shouldn’t exist or that it won’t compare to the previous titles. I know that’s close-minded, but it’s only because of my opinions on film series’ being overstretched. I am really interested in The Bourne Legacy just to see what Jeremy Renner and crew do with this one, whether it’ll be compared the previous films and stand on its own or whether it’ll fail. I guess we’ll just have to wait until August to find out. Either way, this summer has just gotten hotter with another interesting summer movie.

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2012 in Films, Media

 

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Films I’m Looking Forward to in 2012: Prometheus

At first I was just curious about this film and was just keeping track of its progress from a distance, but now my this film is really intriguing me and I really want to see it, the film in question being Prometheus, the new film from Ridley Scott.

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Now as I said before, at the time this film was announced I was only partially interested because the concept of the film sounded cool, plus Ridley Scott was attached to the project, but beyond that this film wasn’t on my radar at all. Prometheus first started out as another film in the series of Alien films, a series of sci-fi films that Ridley Scott helped create by making Alien in 1979. While this did sound like an interesting concept I think a lot of people just wanted the franchise to be left alone especially after the Alien Vs. Predator films. I don’t think it was until Ridley Scott was attached the project in 2008 that people started to pay attention and though that this film might be good because it’s being directed by the man who basically established the franchise. The project couldn’t be in safer hands right?

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So there was a lot of talk and happenings in 2009 about the then unnamed upcoming Alien film. Firstly Fox studio stated that this film would be a reboot to the Alien franchise, then it became a prequel to be set 30 years prior to Alien but the original alien creature wouldn’t be in it and neither would Sigourney Weaver’s character Ellen Ripley. Fox also gave a little more information about the context of the film saying that it would involve discovery and the origins of an alien race of the space jockey. Then there were a load of different things that happened to the film during its developement like Ridley Scott becoming the director, to the film having a script revised that contested Scott’s original budget plan, so he had to reduce it so that it would be in line with 20th Century Fox’s budget. In 2010 the film finally got a tentative title under the name “Paradise”. In April Scott confirmed that the film would be shot in 3D and that he wanted to make two Alien prequel films, also by November of that year the film had gone into production according to visual FX designer Henry South.

In January 2011 the film got its official name Prometheus and scheduled to be coming out in 2012. It was also at this point when Ridley Scott started tone down the connection of this film to the Alien franchise saying “while Alien was indeed the jumping-off point for this project, out of the creative process evolved a new, grand mythology and universe in which this original story takes place. The keen fan will recognize strands of Alien’s DNA, so to speak, but the ideas tackled in this film are unique, large and provocative.” Some fans however didn’t take kindly to the fact that the film had been set up in a lot of ways as an Alien prequel but now was being downplayed as if the connections didn’t existence at all when they were clearly there. In June and July 2011 we got more information about the setting of Prometheus, we were told that the film takes place in the same universe as Alien and Damon Lindelof stated “a true prequel should essentially proceed [sic] the events of the original film, but be about something entirely different, feature different characters, have an entirely different theme, although it takes place in that same world.” So he and Scott were really adamant that Prometheus would be able work on its own as a film with elements of the Alien films within it, but not as a direct prequel to the first Alien film. Filming for this film begun in March 2011 and continued for several months until August when the film had gone into post-production. In December 2011 the film had undergone some additional dialogue recording and it was stated by Scott that the film would be edited into two versions; a PG-13 cut and a R-rated cut submitted to Fox when the film is finalized.

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Last December we got our first look at Prometheus in a teaser trailer and man it was pretty impressive. Straight from the outset it established itself with that same creepy vibe you got from the first Alien film. During the one-minute teaser we are treated to some fast-cut editing, many different scenes of action, chaos, destruction and people in danger and some distorted audio used on someone talking off-screen in the beginning, But the most intriguing part was when the lines started appearing on the screen that started to spell out the name of the film, the same way it was done in the first Alien. If that wasn’t a clear sign that this film was connected to the original Alien film then I don’t know what is. Either way it was pretty cool, interesting and creepy in atmosphere. At the time the film had my interest, but not my full attention…

That was until this recent trailer came out:

I mean damn! Did you see that? No, really did you just watch that? That has to be one of the best trailers I have ever seen. Okay maybe that’s over exaggerating a little bit but that trailer was pretty damn cool. the teaser trailer did well to establish the tone and atmosphere about the film but it left a lot to be desired in my opinion. I guess I just wanted more than a teaser trailer and wanted to get a better understanding of what the film’s plot and characters would be doing, well I got my wish with this full trailer. It was well-edited, completely unnatural, disturbing and eerie as hell and it set the tone of the film very well as a sci-fi thriller with action elements incorporated in there too. For a while I was wondering how this film would be executed, because the premise sounded great on paper but making a live-action film on it is different matter altogether, luckily from what I’ve seen in this trailer Prometheus is looking very good. It has that dark, creepy atmosphere with a varied assortment of characters getting into different situations and scenarios full of action, fear, suspense and most importantly mystery and hell there seems to be a lot of mysterious things going on this trailer that will get people talking. And with a great and varied cast consisting of Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, Logan Marshall-Green and Charlize Theron, this film is looking very great. I’m especially excited to see what Michael Fassbender does (I loved him in X-Men: First Class) and I’m hyped to see what Idris Elba does too, I just hope the filmmakers don’t pull a “kill the black guy first” thing, it’s so cliché and unnecessary and hopefully he has a useful in this film.

Man I thought the first trailer for Prometheus was cool, but this trailer kicks the crap out of the last one and it genuinely has me excited for the film. From being vaguely interested to being highly excited doesn’t happen to most films I’m interested in, but in the case of Prometheus it did and my summer has just become that much more interesting. Now with The Avengers, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Dark Knight Rises and Men In Black 3 all on my list for summer films I can now add Prometheus to the list too, June 8th couldn’t come any sooner.

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2012 in Films, Media

 

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Still in love with No Doubt

It’s funny how many artists/bands I have revisited and gotten back into after I came to university and one of the bands I have gotten back into and love more than ever is No Doubt.

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Now their music has always been part of my life since childhood right up into my late teens. It was at the age of 18 that I heard the Tragic Kingdom album and I fell in love with it! However after a while No Doubt had fallen off my radar when I started pursuing after music genres, but then in October last year I decided to start listening to them again and that was a turning point for me, it was at that point I realised that I love this band.

For you to fully understand what this band means to me I’m going to have to give you the full history of my experience with their sound and this takes us back to the 90’s. Back then I listened to so much music on the radio, TV and via the CDs my parents owned too so my music palette was pretty varied, but there was one song on the radio that I heard many times that I never forgot and that was “Don’t Speak” by No Doubt. It was one of those songs that not only had a great sound, but it also had great lyrics too, even though I was young I understood that context of the song and it’s always been one of my favourite nostalgic tunes.

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This is the cover art for No Doubt’s most famous single which solidified them in my life forever.

Another song I partially remember was “Just A Girl“, it was a loud and proud tune which had rocky kind of edge to it and I think that’s what I really love about the song upon reflection, I guess I’m really into rock music these days lol. But yeah “Just A Girl” really holds up well after all these years and love to listen to the song to be reminded of simpler times. Then it wasn’t until 2001 when No Doubt released the single “Hey Baby” featuring Bounty Killer when their music flew under my radar again. It was one of the best songs I had ever heard and it was super addictive, it was everywhere and had constant airplay on the radio from what I can remember and with the dancehall element of the song it made this song very enjoyable for me as a kid. And even today it’s a fun song me and my sister like to sing on the odd occasion.

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Hey Baby” is the second most dominant song in my life by No Doubt, it really left a big impression on me.

I also remember the single “Hella Good” coming out and though I remember the song being good, I haven’t heard it in years so I can’t recall much. But one song I can remember very clearly was No Doubt’s last single to be released and that was the cover of the Talk Talk song “It’s My Life“. Back then I never knew the song was a cover, I thought it was No Doubt’s own original material, either way I loved the song. It was soft with Gwen Stefani’s vocals and edgy with the rock element from the guitars too. I heard the song so many times on the radio back when I was 14-16 and it was cemented in my mind for eternity. I still love this version of “It’s My Life“, it just sounds so perfect and I think it’s beautiful, I didn’t hear the original version until I saw it on TV at some point in 2011 and I was like “What!?! This is the original?” Also this is the song where I first discovered the name of the band as No Doubt, because up until that time I never knew the band’s name. I know it’s terrible and it’s almost as embarrassing as the fact that it took me until 2005 to know U2’s band name.

So when I was around 18/19 when I listened to the whole of No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom and I fell in love with their ska-based sound, it was a heavenly experience. I’ve heard the album a few times since then and it was at that point that I constantly looked online to see if No Doubt would make any new material, though they had reformed after Gwen was done with her solo stuff and had started touring again there was still no sign of a date for any of their new material. Then fast forward to October 2011 when I rediscovered Tragic Kingdom and funnily enough I didn’t love it as much as I did before. Don’t get me wrong the album is still great and the songs “Don’t Speak”, “Just A Girl”, “Spiderwebs”, “Sunday Morning”, “Excuse Me Mr.?” and “Hey You” are my favourite tunes, but overall there are some other songs in the album that just don’t gel with me anymore.

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No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom… A brilliant album full of great songs and lots of nostalgia.

However when I listened to their follow-up album, Return of Saturn which is viewed by many as a weaker album when compared to the previous one, I actually enjoyed it a lot upon my first listen and replayed a few songs afterwards. Then I left the album for a bit and revisited it again in February this year and then I fell in love with it. With time I’ve found myself listening to several songs from the album, at first it was just the songs “Ex Girlfriend” and “New“, but after a few weeks I found myself becoming obsessed with some songs in particular. Firstly we have “Staring Problem” which I have to say is one of my favourite No Doubt songs ever, it’s so mad, loud and just incredible. The song is so addictive and feels like a rush of energy passing through you. Following straight after that song is “Suspension Without Suspense” which I think is my favourite song off of that album. I became obsessed with this song. After my second listen to this song I listened to it again another 8 times on that day and for me to listen to one song that many times is very surprising. The song is so beautiful, soft and heartfelt and descriptive when it comes to the lyrics. I just love it. Then there’s the song “New” which is just a great song with a lovely chorus and loads of replay value and the last song that has a great level of significance is “A Simple Kind of Life” which I swear is one of the most beautiful and heartfelt songs I have ever heard. You can’t help but fall in love with Gwen’s vocals here and the lyrics get me teary every time. Oh and one other track to mention is “Big Distraction” which has a very addictive sound to it, with Gwen’s brilliant vocals, a great chorus and an overall good sound and let’s not forget the instrumental version of the song “Too Late” that’s hidden on the second half of “Big Distraction” which is amazing and features some beautiful piano work.

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As you can tell I really love Return of Saturn,  I think it is much better than Tragic Kingdom because it’s much more involved in its themes, there are some absolutely beautiful melodies to be found and Gwen Stefani’s amazing vocals just capture the soul. It’s just my kind of sound and I highly recommend it.

So now that Tragic Kingdom and Return of Saturn have reinvigorated my love for No Doubt I can honestly say that I’m a fan of their work. I really want them to return with a new album and do a worldwide tour so I could see them live, it would make my life that much better. Now sure I haven’t listened to all of their material and some could say that’s not enough of a reason to yourself a fan, but say screw that. I appreciate No Doubt’s work and I will get around to their other albums soon enough, the point is for now I am discovering this band’s sound and letting it become part of my life. But I can admit right now I love No Doubt, they are one of my favourite bands in existence and their music will be forever part of my life! 😀

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2012 in Life, Media, Music

 

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