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Monthly Archives: May 2017

ONE PARAGRAPH REVIEW: Ip Man 3

Howdy ladies and gents, time for another one paragraph review and after reviewing Ip Man and Ip Man 2, I’m finally getting around to seeing this film after having the previous film fresh in my mind and I was very curious to see how this film turned out after the 5 year gap and with the introduction Mike Tyson. So how did this film turn out? Read on and find out.

The plot can be summed up as the following: “When a band of brutal gangsters led by a crooked property developer make a play to take over a local school, Master Ip is forced to take a stand. In addition to that Ip Man has to deal with a new challenge from another Wing Chun fighter.” After I finished Ip Man 2, I wonder where Ip Man’s story would go afterwards and this film was another interesting chapter in his life, though not as compelling as what’s come before. While there are certainly challenges for Ip Man and some of the other main characters to overcome, it didn’t feel as intriguing or thought-provoking as what’s come before, to a degree a lot of what happens in the story feels a little too safe or familiar. That being said when the plot works it really can be fun and engaging, especially with one plot element that I don’t want to spoil, but when you see it you’ll know, it got me pretty choked up. The cast was pretty good, though some stood out more than others. Donnie Yen did a great job again as Yip Man, he handled his action scene with force, style and grace, but also had some dramatic moments that worked well too. Zhang Jin was really impressive as Cheung Tin-chi, here we have another Wing Chun student who is becomes Ip man’s rival and he had an interesting story arc and was incredible in his action sequences, such a beast! The stand out star might be Lynn Hung as Cheung Wing-Sing, as Ip Man’s wife she’s always been good, but not as notable in her role until now, the character’s given a significant story arc which pushed her to the forefront and Hung’s performance was so good, make me want to cry especially with her scenes with Yen. The return of Kent Cheng as Fat Po was good, Danny Chan was good as Bruce Lee, while I’m not overly familiar with Lee’s early life, from what I’ve read and heard in interviews and podcasts it felt natural. And finally, Mike Tyson as Frank, that was interesting. I thought Tyson did well to speak chinese and handle his action scenes with Yen which were pretty intense, however it was disappointing his character wasn’t in the film more and in a way you could have taken him out oft he film and it wouldn’t have made much of difference. The presentation for this film is really good. I will admit that the action sequences weren’t as impressive as the previous films, however, when the action is on point it is stellar. The fight choreography is chaotic, fast and fierce and it is captured really well in the cinematography. Kenji Kawai returned for the film score and did a great job at incorporating the key themes from the previous films, and it is effective especially in the dramatic scenes with Ip Man and his wife. In conclusion Ip Man 3 is another good entry in this film series, while it lacks the finesse and intensity of the previous films when it comes to the story and action, there’s still plenty to enjoy and when the action and drama works, it is truly wonderful.

So have you seen Ip Man 3 and if so what do you think of it? Be sure to leave your thoughts on the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! πŸ˜€

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Posted by on May 22, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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ONE PARAGRAPH REVIEW: Kung Fu Killer (Kung Fu Jungle)

Howdy ladies and gents, time for another one paragraph review. Today I get to talk about a film that’s been on my watch list for around a year and half; Kung Fu Jungle, but since it’s titled Kung Fu Killer for us in the UK I’m going to stick to that title in this review.

The plot can be summed up as the following: “A martial arts instructor from the police force gets imprisoned after killing a man by accident. But when a vicious killer starts targeting martial arts masters, the instructor offers to help the police in return for his freedom.” I’ve never seen a proper modern martial arts film from China so this was an interesting experience how the filmmakers were able to preserve the core elements of what make these films so enjoyable not only with the action, but also incorporating some story and character material that is notable with films of the genre. I liked how this film was essentially a story of revenge and a race against time to find the killer before he took out a number of unsuspecting victims. While I’ve not seen all police dramas in film and TV, once you’ve seen a good amount of them, certain plot elements can be recognised and predicted and that was the case with this film. That being said it was still enjoyable when it came to interesting drama and some mysteries were revealed in the third act. The cast was pretty good all round, firstly there’s Donnie Yen as Hahou Mo, he did really well with not only his physical material, but he was also convincing with his acting showing some depth in his dramatic scenes too. Wang Baoqiang was really crazy and good as Fung Yu-Sau, his backstory was really interesting and Yu-Sau was very captivating to watch, Charlie Young was very good as Luk Yuen-Sum and I also enjoyed Michelle Bai as Sinn Ying who had some funny moments and a great action scene too. Oh and finally it was great to see Louis Fan from the first two Ip Man films as well. As for the presentation it was really good. Visually the film looked really beautiful with some good lighting, wonderfully framed exterior shots and during the action sequences the editing, close-ups and tracking shots were fantastic. And speaking of the action, the fight scenes, good gravy they were lovely, whether it was hand-to-hand combat, using weapons of interacting with the sets, it was handled with great choreography, intense and varied in the techniques. The film score by Peter Kam was pretty solid and worked well in the emotional and action scenes. In conclusion Kung Fu Killer is a really cool and intriguing action thriller, and while it does have a good few conventional plot elements, it balances the police drama with the martial arts material very well with solid performances from everyone involved especially Donnie Yen and the action is wonderfully choreographed. I recommend it for sure.

So have you seen Kung Fu Killer and if so what do you think of it? Be sure to leave your thoughts on the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! πŸ˜€

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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QUICK REVIEW: Alien Covenant

Howdy ladies and gents, time for another review and today I’m talking about Alien: Covenant. Now I wasn’t the biggest fan of Prometheus (review available here), I’ve only seen that film twice I think and while really beautiful, the story and characters didn’t grab me at all. So when Covenant began its marketing I wasn’t overly keen, but the trailers did pique my interest. Now that I’ve seen the film I’m ready to pass judgment.

The story can be described as the following:

“The crew of a colony ship, bound for a remote planet, discover an uncharted paradise with a threat beyond their imagination, and must attempt a harrowing escape.”

The story did well to get back to the basics of what made Alien and Aliens so much fun by having a plot that was more familiar and straightforward, but in addition to that this film took certain plot elements from Prometheus (the previous film), and attempted to answer some of the lingering questions that film left up in the air. What I liked about this film was not only how it strengthened some of the plot elements from the last film but also made both feel naturally connected rather than forgetting what had come before. It was suitably dark and mysterious and brought up some interesting themes about the morals and ethics of creation, life and death and the need for humans to prolong their existence. It is unfortunate that not all of the answers from Prometheus were answered and there were certain plot details that Covenant brought up that weren’t properly clarified or felt left out in the main story. Plus this story doesn’t do much in the way of creating new material for this universe, sure there are some minor interesting additions to the mythology, however this is a story and set of scenarios you’ve seen before so if you were hoping something fresh you may be a little disappointed.

As for the cast there were fine, for the most part I liked this cast more than the Prometheus crew minus David, however, these characters were fine to forgettable as you can tell a good few of them are going to die at some point and sure enough they do. There are only a handful of people that stood out. Michael Fassbender once again was the best of the cast playing both as David and Walter, the android from the first film and the current android with the Covenant crew. Fassbender did well to portray these different characters both with different personalities and agendas, and I just loved watching him. Katherine Waterston was better than I expected as Daniels “Dany” Branson, since watching the trailers I thought the film was setting her up to be a Ripley-like character and while she does embody some of the those traits, Dany was a little more unique and she went from being someone a little dull to being quite captivating towards the end of the film. And Danny McBride was a surprise standout as Tennessee, I’ve never really like McBride, I’ve always found him annoying and repetitive in most of his comedic roles. But this role was very serious, aggressive and grounded and he was engaging in a way I never expected.

When it comes to the presentation it was pretty damn good. Just like Prometheus this film looks incredible, the art direction, cinematography, digital and practical effects was incredible. I also really liked the gruesome nature of the violence and action and the sound design really helped with that. As for the film score by Jed Kurzel it was pretty effective, channelling feelings of wonder, tension and discovery, while not always as effective as I would have liked, overall it was good.

In conclusion Alien: Covenant was not all bad and was actually better than I expected. While it didn’t do much to reinvent the wheel, it was a solid film much more in line with the first two Alien films with good violence, grim atmosphere and a great performance from Michael Fassbender. If you’re curious give it a watch. πŸ™‚

So have you seen Alien: Covenant and if so what did you think of it? Did you like this film more or less than Prometheus? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to drop them in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! πŸ˜€

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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Remembering the awesomeness of Chris Cornell

Howdy ladies and gents, how’s it goin? For me, not too jolly. Alas another great individual in the world of music has passed, its been reported over the course of several hours today that singer Chris Cornell most known for his work with Soundgarden and Audioslave had died. Details on his passing at the time of me writing this post hasn’t been made clear, but there’s been talks that it could be related to suicide. Whatever the case is, I’m very saddened by this news and just wanted to share my thoughts/memories on what Cornell brought to my life.

A few hours ago I was skimming through my news feed on Facebook and a mate posted a BBC article about the passing of Chris Cornell and I was vocally like: “What? No! No way!” Unfortunately it was real once I looked it up on Google, I was gutted. It was just the other day I was thinking about Audioslave and Soundgarden and thinking that I wanted to go back to their material for the long walks I do when I go to and from work, but now knowing that Cornell is gone, it hurts, it hurts real bad. Now I’m not gonna at like I was the biggest fan of all of Cornell’s endeavours, but I’ve listened to his music a lot since I was 18 and I couldn’t imagine my life without the music he helped create.

I first became aware of Chris Cornell’s vocals when I heard “Black Hole Sun” in my childhood/teenage years and the song really resonated with me, the was a powerful and melancholy nature to it that as strange as it sounds made me feel at ease. Along with Staind’s “It’s Been a While” A’s “Nothing” and Simple Plan’s “I’m Just a Kid“, I had these rock songs that helped me cope with any troubled thoughts I had when I’d heard them. I then heard Cornell’s brilliant vocals again with his song, “You Know My Name” from 2006’s Casino Royale, and I frigging loved it! It was a dramatic change in the types of James Bond theme songs we’d had in the past, but considering that it was a reboot with a hard-edged and more realistic take on the character it suited so well and ended up being in my top 3 Bond songs. Fast forward a few years and then I found Audioslave in college, like I mentioned in a previous blog post I didn’t start listening to Audioslave in 2008/9 and I fell in love with their sound immediately. While there was a lot to love with the self-titled album, it was Out of Exile that hooked me. I adored that album and it was just the synergy of Chris Cornell’s vocals and the former Rage Against the Machine’s music that made it extra special. And finally there’s Soundgarden, I started listening to them after they released “Live To Rise” for The Avengers soundtrack, a lot of long-term Soundgarden fans hated the song and thought it was too soft, but I loved it. And so I went through Superunknown and discovered so much joy especially with the badassery of “Spoonman“! And then with King Animal, that became something of a special album for me, hearing the band sound old and new at the same time and knowing that Cornell hadn’t lost anything as a vocalist. What I love about Cornell’s singing is how you can hear the passion and intensity, how he could be super soft and then aggressively screaming, it had a unique, distinct and recognisable sound and I it was SO good!

So here’s some of my favourite works from Chris Cornell:

In conclusion I just want to say that I love you Chris Cornell, I cannot thank you enough for what you contributed to the rock genre and I will miss you a lot. RIP.

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2017 in Life, Music

 

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ONE PARAGRAPH REVIEW: Ip Man 2

Howdy ladies and gents, time for another one paragraph review. Now recently reviewed Ip man, one of my favourite martial arts films and today I’m going to talk about the first sequel, Ip Man 2 from 2010. I recall seeing the trailer for this film back in college and thought it looked insanely cool, but I just never got around to it, so after years of being busy and some procrastination I’m finally getting to share my thoughts. πŸ™‚

The plot can be summed up as the following: “The film centers on Ip Man’s movements in Hong Kong, which is under British colonial rule. He attempts to propagate his discipline of Wing Chun, but faces rivalry from other practitioners, including the local master of Hung Ga martial arts.” The interesting things about Ip Man 2 is that in a good few ways it is similar to the first in terms of its themes, story structure and certain character progression, yet at the same time it finds ways to advance the story and provide all of the key characters with struggles physically and internally hat they must overcome. The way this film handled its story was very effective, I appreciated how difficult, dark and complicated that period of time was for everyone whether it was due to the economy or certain individuals in power who could manipulate those below them, key themes of honour and racism are brought to the forefront and it has some dramatic and emotional ramifications which were really good. As good as the story was I felt it didn’t have the dramatic weight or realism that the first film applied, however, when the story was on-point it was very entertaining. Acting-wise everyone was pretty good, though some performances were a little questionable. Firstly Donnie Yen as Ip Man was amazing, he has solid handle on this character and performs his fight scenes so gracefully, but also has some really beautiful dramatic moments too. New to this film is Sammo Hung as Hung Chun-nam, he’s a master of Hung Ga and has asthma, he was a really compelling and interesting character to watch, I was also a massive fan of Sammo in Martial Law back in the late 90’s so to see him flex his kung-fu muscles was really awesome for me. Ip and Hung have some great chemistry and their scenes together either exchanging words or blows were some of my favourite scenes in the film. Lynn Hung and Simon Yam return as Cheung Wing-sing and Chow Ching-chuen, and they both do well in their roles. Huang Xiaoming was also really fun and endearing as Wong Leung, and seeing the return and progression of Louis Fan as Kam Shan-Chau was really great. The only people that suffer are the english speaking cast as they seem to be overdoing it with either the overall performances or just the speaking parts, the best of the bunch is Darren Shahlavi as Taylor “The Twister” Miler, his villain role while a little generic, was fun to watch. As for the presentation it was great. The visual side of things is once again fabulous, with lovely cinematography and fight choreography that is so fluid, fast, intense and all sorts of insanity to watch and with the incorporation of more makeshift weapons and certain interior and exterior locations, it is a marvel to watch. As for the film score it is once again handled by Kenji Kawai and while it doesn’t have the same level of impact that the last film had, it still had some really moving moments. In conclusion Ip Man 2 is one fine sequel, while it lacks the dramatic force of the first film, it has story worth telling with a mixture of drama, humour and culture, plus the acting and martial arts is still incredible. Check it out if you’re a fan of the first film.

So have you seen Ip Man 2 and if so what do you think of it? Be sure to leave your thoughts on the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! πŸ˜€

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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My Podcast; Film Focus is One Year Old!

Howdy ladies and gents, how are you? I’m just posting today to let y’all know that my podcast that I started last year is celebrating a year anniversary and I wanted to share it with you all.

So yeah I’m slightly off by a few days because according to iTunes and Soundcloud I released my first episode on the 3rd of May last, but regardless I am happy to think that I’ve been doing this podcast for as long as I have. It did take a while to find a sense of rhythm with the recording and goodness knows that scheduling was an issue when I started as I went from weekly episodes to all sorts of scattered released and eventually settled on a biweekly format instead. Either way I have persevered and while we’ve had highs and lows, I feel happy with what I’ve done so far, but I do feel like we good advance to higher heights and I would like to think that some of you out there will join me on that journey. πŸ™‚

Okay with that in mind I just wanted to share some highlights on my podcast from the last year with some of my favourite episodes

Captain America: Civil War

So here’s the episode that started it all, while I was pretty nervous about doing the whole audio review thing again after my absence from YouTube, it felt good to get back into the groove of reviewing films again and this episode was a lot of fun to do.

The Jason Bourne Trilogy

By this point I was starting to find my footing with this film discussion stuff but was still trying to a balance of being informative and casual, and I enjoyed doing this review because I felt like I was able to fully convey my love for the Jason Bourne films while also explaining why they needed to be seen for fans of the action thriller genre.

Hopes & Fears For The Sonic Live Action Movie

This specific episode was important to me not only because of my love for Sonic the Hedgehog, but also because it tied into the department of video game adaptations. I still think the Sonic live-action/GCI hybrid is a bad idea, but I hopefully brought up enough important points to make this discussion worth having.

Is It Too Late For A Black Widow Film?

Every Marvel film fan has been asking for a Black Widow film since Avengers in 2012, and Marvel Studios say that they’re still down with the idea of making the a solo film for the character, however, I present the question of whether it is too late or not? While I think that if Marvel announced a Black Widow film tomorrow everyone would be down for it, I try to bring up some points as to why it may be too late and why Marvel should hurry up and make it happen.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Review

Rogue One was one of my favourite films form last year and getting to talk about it on this podcast back in December was so much fun.

Assassin’s Creed Review

This review represents the first major review I did for the podcast that was primarily negative, that actually frustrated me and it was a lot of fun to do, but not as fun to watch. Assassin’s Creed was all sorts of disappointing and boring and not since probably my Transformers 3 review for my old review cannel on YouTube have I wanted to rip on a film so bad.

Triple Review: Split, XXX: Return of Xander Cage & T2 Trainspotting

And here he have the episode that has the most plays out of all my podcast, I’m not sure why everyone gravitated towards this triple review because I thought it might be too long-winded for some people but luckily people checked it out and I am very grateful.

Well thanks for reading and if you haven’t checked out Film Focus on Soundcloud or iTunes I’d love your support and feedback, and if you have listened to any of my ramblings I would extend a big old thank you and hope that you’ll continue to show me some love haha. Until next time people, laters! πŸ˜€

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2017 in Films, Media

 

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ONE PARAGRAPH REVIEW: Ip Man

Howdy ladies and gents, time for a one paragraph review and today I get to talk about one of my all-time favourite martial arts films, Ip Man. I remember watching this I think in my final year of college back in 2010 and being blown away, so I thought I’d give it another go to see if it still resonates with me and sure enough it did and I’m going to tell you why it is so awesome in this review.

The plot can be summed up as the following: “During the Japanese invasion of 1937, when a wealthy martial artist is forced to leave his home and work to support his family, he reluctantly agrees to train others in the art of Wing Chun for self-defense.Ip Man to me is perfection or as close to it as you can get. It tells a story of hardship, honour and determination, it is well-paced and fascinating given the time period and people who interact with Ip Man over the course of the film whether they be friend or foe. What I love about this martial arts film besides the action is the story, not many films in this genre have a very engaging story with several characters you engage with or has depth and emotional moments that hook you, but Ip Man does and that is partly due to the fact that this is a biographical film, however it also helps that the writing, acting and direction is really well done. The acting is all top-notch with everyone portraying their characters in a fun, graceful and engaging way, I really liked Lynn Hung as Cheung Wing-sing, Gordon Lam as Li Chiu, Fan Siu-wong as Kam Shan-chu and Hiroyuki Ikeuchi as General Miura. But the key man is Donnie Yen as Ip Man, he is simply incredible. Not only does Yen carry himself with an air of confidence, strength and charisma through his fight scenes, but also acts with such conviction especially through body language, facial expressions and an intensity that you can feel when things get serious. As for the presentation it was on fire! For me Ip Man has some of the best fight scenes in any martial arts film period, the fight choreography is masterful, it is like watching an elegant dance except with punches, kicks and an assortment of weapons, every movement is tight, sharp and has force. It also helps that the cinematography captures the action perfectly from a distance with little cuts in between so that you can see exactly what’s happening, oh and the sound effects have the perfect about of impact too. Also the film score by Kenji Kawai is beautiful, so incredible and matches the tone of the film perfectly. In conclusion Ip Man is one of the finest martial arts films ever made in my opinion, not only because it provides some of the best cinematography and fight choreography the genre has ever seen, but also because there is a story with heart, drama and realism that is very engaging and realistic. This film is a must-see for martial arts fans.

So have you seen Ip Man and if so what do you think of it? Be sure to leave your thoughts on the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! πŸ˜€

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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PODCAST: Film Focus Episode 31- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Review

Howdy ladies and gents of the internet, as some of you may have seen, last year I started a film podcast entitled Film Focus and on this podcast I talk about various topics in film and reviews as well on a biweekly basis. The latest episode of the podcast features my review of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. πŸ™‚

Anyway here’s the episode 31:

Now I already did a written review for this film last week and this episode is around a week old now, but since Guardians 2 getting being released in the US this week it felt appropriate to release a post about this episode to hopefully increase its visibility.

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

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

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

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

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2017 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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