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QUICK REVIEW: Raya and the Last Dragon

Howdy ladies and gentlemen of the internet, how’s it going? So earlier this week I checked out Raya and the Last Dragon; the latest animated film from Disney and now I am here to share my review via my podcast Film Focus.

Now I’m always down for a good animated film and I’ve been interested in this film since its announcement. So with an interesting setting, beautiful presentation and solid reviews prior to its release, I was pretty hyped. So how does the film fare Well, check out this episode to find out!

P.S. I do discuss some small spoilers during a section of the review, so if you wish to avoid them skip minutes 14:20-16:19

Anyway here’s the review:

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

So have you seen Raya and the Last Dragon and if so what did you think of it? Drop your thoughts in the comments section below and I’ll see ya in the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2021 in Film Reviews, Films

 

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QUICK THOUGHTS: Mortal Kombat Red Band Trailer

Howdy ladies and gentlemen of the internet, I know I haven’t been on this blog for a while, but I have resurfaced for a good reason. Recently the gods graced us with goodness in the form of a red band trailer for the elusive upcoming video game adaptation of Mortal Kombat. So today I am here to share my casual thoughts on the trailer via my podcast Film Focus.

In episode 115 of Film Focus, I share with you my thoughts on the first red band trailer for the upcoming Mortal Kombat film. Now normally I don’t do trailer reviews on the podcast, but considering how long I waited for footage for this film and how much hype, caution and curiosity I have about this film as well, I had to show up and say something. So join me for some casual thoughts on how I think the film is looking so far.

Anyway here’s the review:

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

So have you seen the first trailer for Mortal Komabt and if so what did you think of it? Drop your thoughts in the comments section below and I’ll see ya in the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2021 in Films, Media, Reviews

 

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End of Year Review 2020

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Good day to you ladies and gentlemen and welcome to my annual End of Year Review where I look back on the year and highlight certain things that were interesting to me. So 2020, I think we can all agree that this year has been a bloody disaster, but in the midst of the chaos and despair, there has been some bright spots for sure. So as per usual, I will talk about the year as a whole from my perspective, break it down into sections and then conclude with a summary. So without further ado let’s begin.

Video Games

2020 has been an interesting year for us gamers, even though the pandemic really messed with a lot of development and left certain games released incomplete or pushed back to next year, there have been a number of good releases across all consoles, and we even got the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, well sort of as there was a lot of scalpers.

As for me, I ended up playing quite a few games, some old ones and a few new ones as well. Since getting stuck back in the UK in March I was able to play my PS4 and finally play Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and Horizon: Zero Dawn, the former I enjoyed besides some crazy game-breaking glitches and the latter which was fun but not as captivating as I had hoped. I even back to some of my older Nintendo Switch games like Child of Light, Terriria and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (especially after sephiroth came out).

But what about new games? Well like everyone else I jumped in on Animal Crossing: New Horizons and had stupid amounts of fun messing around on my island and reconnecting with friends online. Streets of Rage 4 had a wonderful presentation and was pretty good even if I didn’t play it as much as I would’ve liked. Also Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition was a delight and though it got a little hard at times, I frigging love the gameplay and the beautiful upgrades to the visuals and audio. A Short Hike came out of nowhere to be one of my favourite relaxing gaming experiences since I played Animal Crossing: Wild World in 2008. And then, of course, there was Spider-Man: Miles Morales, which even on PS4 was a visual delight with a badass soundtrack, cool quality-of-life upgrades to the established gameplay and story which was captivating. Now sure the game got a little glitchy and it probably could’ve been priced a little lower, but I had a great time regardless. And finally Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is a game I’m still working my way through, but I’m having a lot of fun with because of the varied combat options for the characters, the awesome music and nice character moments in the story. It is a little repetitive towards the 20-hour mark, but I will hopefully I’ll get back to it the next week or so. The only game missing from this list is Final Fantasy VII Remake, I did buy it in the summer, but wanted to dedicate time to Animal Crossing and play through the original FFVII up to the point where Remake ends, so I’ll probably play it January.

Top 6 Games

  1. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
  2. Spider-Man: Miles Morales
  3. Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition
  4. Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
  5. Streets of Rage 4
  6. A Short Hike

Films

Watching films in 2020 has been weird. I can still remember being in Canada near the start of the year watching Bad Boys, Birds of Prey, Sonic and The Invisible Man, then the pandemic hit and everything got shut down (well it did in the UK). Some films were pushed back to the end of the year, some moved to streaming services and some have no release date at all. The pandemic really hit the industry hard with a lot of cinemas getting closed down from indie theatres to big chains like my very own Cineworld. And since watching films at the cinema is one of my favourite things to do it has left me feeling pretty sour. Though it wasn’t all doom and gloom as there were a number of films that showed up on streaming, from Netflix to Amazon to Disney Plus and so on, and while I was late to the party with a lot of these entries, I was glad that I was so inquisitive as I ended up finding a lot of surprising films online this year.

Top 10 Films of 2020

  1. Over the Moon
  2. The Trial of the Chicago 7
  3. Soul
  4. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  5. Da 5 Bloods
  6. Elona Holmes
  7. The Way Back
  8. The Devil All the Time
  9. Gretel & Hansel
  10. Leftover Women

So this list was incredibly hard to put together and I imagine if I had more time I’d be shuffling these around and adding more films from this year’s slate especially if I were still able to go to the available cinemas in Vancouver. But hey it is what it is. I am only sad I had to take The Invisible Man off of my list as I had SO much fun with that film, however, the films I ended up with resonated with me on a higher frequency. I’m sure I’ll be doing a lot of catching up next year so I look forward to that.

Honourable Mentions

  • The Invisible Man
  • Robin’s Wish
  • Bad Boys For Life
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Extraction
  • The Social Dilemma
  • Borat 2
  • Fatman
  • Bill and Ted Face the Music
  • Tenet

Television

When it comes to TV it’s funny, I haven’t watched that much, to be honest. You’d think with a pandemic that kept me indoors for the majority of the year I would have watched a lot more. But to be honest not too many things really tickled my fancy besides returning shows. I mainly went back in time and rewatched all of Parks and Rec, and I’m still working my way through Grimm and Fringe with my family. I also found myself finally getting around to Hunter x Hunter which has been really fun so far, I also finally saw the second season of Mob Pyscho 100 which was amazing and I’m also going through Outlaw Star the whole way through too.

The only new show I saw was Close Enough, another beautifully wacky show from the creator of Regular Show. Beyond that, I really loved The Boys season 2 which was suitably insane, violent, layered and entertaining throughout. Closely followed behind would be The Mandalorian‘s second season which was more cohesive and had some great character development for Mando, gorgeous music and incredible world-building with the introduction of Clone Wars and Rebels elements. The new season of Umbrella Academy was pretty good, Lucifer returned and was decent, but not as engaging as before, and Big Mouth continued to be vulgar and uncomfortable, but also incredibly accurate and relatable to the troubles of adolescence and race.

Top 6 TV

  1. The Mandalorian Season 2
  2. The Boys Season 2
  3. Close Enough
  4. Umbrella Academy Season 2
  5. Big Mouth Season 4
  6. Lucifer Season 5

Music

Unlike last year, music has been my everything and I also believe this is the year I have put the most amount of work into finding new music and luckily I’ve found some great stuff old and new. I have found myself consumed with Anita Baker, Level 42, Issues and Foo Fighters, alongside the new and classic sounds of Calvin Harris, John Paesano, Drama, Victoria Monét and SG Lewis. I’ve found new and delightful music in all sorts of unexpected places, from Lecrae’s Restoration album to Another Sky’s album, I Slept On The Floor. It was actually tough to put a list together because I had too many choices, but below I believe those are my favourites from the year.

Top 5 Albums

  1. Lecrae – Restoration
  2. Another Sky – I Slept On The Floor
  3. Drama – Dance Without Me
  4. Victoria Monét – Janguar
  5. John Paesano – Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Top 10 Favourite Songs

  1. SG Lewis – Feed the Fire
  2. Victoria Monét – Experience
  3. Kid Cudi – Leader of the Delinquents
  4. John Paesano – New York’s Only Spider-Mn
  5. deadmau5 – Pomegranate
  6. Calvin Harris – Over Now
  7. Yebba – Distance
  8. Janelle Monae – Turntables
  9. Pharrell – Entrepreneur
  10. Wiz Khalifah – Speed Me Up

My Experience

Man, I think it goes without saying that this year has been a big fat mess. I was in Canada, flew back to the UK for a quick excursion in March and got stuck here, I have gone through multiple funks, had creative block while working on projects and a general lack of enthusiasm especially towards the summer. That being said, through all the negativity of this pandemic stuff, especially here in the UK, there has been a lot of positives that have come to pass as well. I wanted to highlight the main points below:

  • I turned 30 this year and was lucky enough to have a birthday gathering before the first lockdown happened
  • I reconnected with so many friends online
  • I really got into my artwork and even got paid for it

Its funny, not a lot has happened and yet so much has changed for me especially with my creativity and mindset being way more focused and positive than ever before. That being said I have missed al my peeps in Canada, I miss my job, the food, locations and vibe of Vancouver and I have no clue when I’ll be able to return. But overall I’m still rocking and very positive about the future

Conclusion

In conclusion, 2020 has been a bit of a shit show but some good has emerged and has had a positive effect on me. So I’m sure next year will be filled with so much creative content for me. But like everyone else I’m ready to kick this year to the curb and never speak of it again, so I’m gonna go back to my drinks and I’ll see ya in 2021!

Well, thanks for reading. So how was 2020 for you? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below and finally, have a safe and happy new year and I’ll see ya in 2021. Laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2020 in Films, Life, Media, Music, Reviews, Television, Video Games

 

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PODCAST: Disturbing Films

Howdy ladies and gentlemen of the internet, I’ve returned with a topic I have wanted to talk about for a while now and it relates to the upcoming Mortal Kombat reboot coming out in March 2021. And I’ll be sharing my thoughts via my podcast Film Focus.

On episode 103 of Film Focus, I discuss disturbing films alongside my newest guest and friend Ross. Each of us has 4 films which we find disturbing in a specific way and as we discuss them, we also link each film with a unified theme including:

  • Films that are tough to watch but worth watching
  • Feelin bad for the characters
  • Good atmosphere
  • A bold introduction

The films we’ll be discussing are The Nightingale, Perfect Blue, Requiem for a Dream, Climax, Annihilation, Seven, Don’t Look Now and Our Evil. So join us on a casual discussion of these troubling yet entertaining films. Oh and be aware that we’ll essentially be talking spoilers for all of the films involved to varying levels. That being said Annihilation and Seven were the films we talked very specific spoilers and they were at 51:05 and 1:01:02.

Here’s the episode:

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

So what did you think of our choice of disturbing films? Drop your thoughts in the comments section below and I’ll see ya in the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2020 in Films, Media

 

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Importance of the Cinema Experience

Howdy ladies and gentlemen, how is it going with yall? So after around 2.5 months of being MIA dealing with personal stuff, I have returned with a new film topic talk about on my podcast Film Focus.

On episode 102 of Film Focus, I talk about the importance of watching films in the cinema. While COVID19 has pretty much shut down most forms of outdoor entertainment, especially watching films at the cinema, it got me thinking about not only how much I miss it but also how pivotal it is. So join me a casual discussion about my own experiences and why I think its still the best way to experience new and old films alike.

Anyway here’s the episode:

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

So what are your views on the cienmatic film experience? Do you think its important or not? Drop your thoughts in the comments section below and I’ll see ya in the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2020 in Films, Media

 

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QUICK REVIEW: AFI – The Missing Man

Howdy ladies and gents, it seems like I’m always coming back to this blog every once in a while, and that’s obviously no good for people who which to get consistent material from me and for that I apologize. However, I’m back to talk about some music and today I’ll be discussing AFI’s EP from 2018; The Missing Man.

After I heard “Get Dark” and reviewed it, I was hyped to hear more AFI and I bought the EP and listened to it a few times. I even had a review I was drafted in mid-December of 2018. However, I just never got around to writing it up due to my work shifts during Christmas and after personal activities that kept me busy. But I have always wanted to share my thoughts on this EP and now that I’m listening to music a lot more I have thoughts that I want to share so here we are.

Now The Missing Man feels like a continuation of the sound AFI has been delivering since Burials and AFI (The Blood Album) with a balance of songs that rock hard, some more moody material and more melodic material. How much you enjoy this EP will depend on what era/sound you like from AFI. Anyone hoping for the crazier sounds of the past will be disappointed, this is definitely more in line with their recent work and feels like a combination of their last two albums sound. I personally love Burials safe for a couple of songs, while AFI (The Blood Album) only had a handful of songs I liked (I will discuss that album in the future). With only 5 tracks this EP is over by pretty swiftly but there’s something special about this sound that’ll make you want to go back for more.

The EP opens with “Trash Bat” and it’s great. Its loud, upbeat, in your face and has the exact kind of sound I like from this band. I love the chorus with the sound of the guitars alongside Davey Havok and the backing vocals. It’s over pretty quickly but has such an addictive sound that makes you want to hit the repeat button. “Break Angels” feels like it could have been on Burials, and I like it but mainly for the chorus. “Back Into The Sun” is a slower-paced song which at first I wasn’t sure about, but after a while, it really grew on me because of the chorus and heavy guitars. Next up is “Get Dark“, simply put I love this song. It’s super fun, loud, catchy, swift in pace and has a catchy as hell chorus. This was the oomph that their last album was missing. And finally, there’s the title track “The Missing Man” and it’s my least my favourite song on the EP. It starts out well and I do like the overall moody tone and there’s a bit in the middle that sounds good, but overall it doesn’t grab me. It lacks something distinctive as the final track.

Best Songs:

  1. Get Dark
  2. Trash Bat
  3. Back Into The Sun

So to conclude The Missing Man is solid EP from AFI, it’s familiar yet different and if you’re open to hearing new sounds from the band then I think you’ll enjoy it. It’s a short yet fun experience and it definitely resonates with me more than their last album. So have you heard this EP and if so what did you think of it? Drop your thoughts in the comment section below and I’ll see you next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2020 in Media, Music, Reviews

 

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The Good Sounds of SG Lewis

Howdy ladies and gents, its been a while since I’ve posted on this blog that wasn’t film-related. But since I’ve been on lockdown for just over a month and won’t be flying back home any time soon, I’ve had a lot of time to think and I’ve wanted to start writing about music again. So I wanted to start by talking about one of my favourite artists I’ve found in the last few years; SG Lewis.

My Discovery & Journey

So I discovered SG Lewis while I worked at the airport in my home town 4 years ago. His song “All Night” was on the radio and it caught me ear, so I put some of the lyrics on my phone and then found the song online. I became obsessed with the song for months. Then later that year I bought his EP Yours and found new songs to jam to and in 2017 I found Shivers which was also a nice listening experience. In 2018 I heard Dusk and that was my favourite EP so far with its gorgeous sounds and I was in love especially with the song “Aura“. And in 2019 I heard both Dark and Dawn and they were awesome as they had that familiar gorgeous sound but had progressed in new and exciting ways. And on top of that, I got to see him live TWICE! Once at ONBlackheath music festival in London and then around 4 months later at Fortune Sound Club in Vancouver. Both experiences were such awesome sessions, but the Vancouver show as extra special as I got to meet him in person which was just amazing!

Why His Music Is So Good

So I’ve given you a condensed version of how I found Lewis’ music and my listening experience so far. But now its time to tell you I believe his music is so good. Now, as I’ve stated on previous music-related blog posts I am no music aficionado, though I try to do my best to communicate my points through sound and feeling. So SG Lewis’ music in the broadest of terms is essentially electronic, but because of the variety in his music, you can get vibes of R&B, disco, house and the 80’s feeling with the use of synth. Lewis’ music has an immediate effect on your ears because it’s so infectious. Once you hear that beat or specific melody it has a way of getting into your head and then you just want to hit the repeat button. Also, the songs never outstay their welcome, they’re always just long enough to leave you wanting more. And one of the key things that make his music so accessible for me is how he has a song for any situation. Whether you’re chilling and vibing to the sounds of “No Less“, “Golden” or “Rest” or you want to dance to the sounds of “Aura“, “Hurting” or “Coming Up“, there is always a song to suit your mood. And then there’s hearing his songs live which adds a new dimension to the songs because of the live vocals, improvisation, extra bass from the speakers and joy you feel from being able to dance with likeminded individuals. There’s nothing quite like it.

Recommendations

So it comes to recommendations and this is where it gets tricky as I would say just listen to everything in chronological order as you’ll enjoy the ride and see Lewis’ progression as an artist. But if I had to narrow it down I would say it would be down to the following EPs: Yours, Shivers and Dusk. Each of those has my favourite listening experience from start to finish with Dusk being the best in my opinion. It’s just something special, you just vibe with it on another level, its instantly replayable, and again it has to be stated how good “Aura” is, it is a perfect jam for dancing.

Now from the EPs to specific tracks and while it’s hard to narrow it down, the following 10 songs are my favourites that I believe are essential and you should listen to right now. Check them out below:

  1. Aura
  2. Dreaming
  3. Lighter
  4. All Night
  5. Holding Back
  6. Yours
  7. Hurting
  8. Meant to Be
  9. No Less
  10. Coming Up

And that’s it, I hope my words and examples have spurred you on to check out some of SG Lewis’ music as he really is one of the best artists out there that deserve more love. If you’re a new or an established fan of Lewis, let me know what which song are your favourites in the comment section below. Thank you for reading and I’ll see you in the next post, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2020 in Life, Media, Music

 

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QUICK REVIEW: SG Lewis – Chemicals

Good day to you ladies and gentlemen, it has been a while since my last post, I’ve been dealing with a severe case of creative block in recent times. But today I just had to remerge to share my thoughts on the latest song from SG Lewis; “Chemicals“.

Now I love SG Lewis, I’ve been following his music since I heard his single “All Night” back in April 2016, and since then I’ve listened to everything he’s released and had the pleasure of seeing him live twice. Needless to say, I am a massive fan and I’m always looking forward to when he drops some new music. So imagine my surprise a week ago when he said on social media he’d drop new music today. I got hyped as hell. Anyways enough of that, let’s talk about “Chemicals“.

Here’s the song:

Ah, “Chemicals” man that’s some good stuff! I knew in the opening seconds of the sound that I was down for it. It’s upbeat and groovy straight from the start and while it’s different from the material he’s realised before, he still has that undeniably fun and wonderful sound that makes Lewis’ music so good.

So “Chemicals” feels a little swifter, upbeat and groovier than what Lewis’ previous material and that’s not a bad thing, quite the opposite. I’ve found that Lewis’ music has always had a great balance between being something you can relax and dance to, but this song is definitely more for dancing to. It starts like the Kool-Aid Man busting through a wall saying “Oh yeah! Time to dance!” And I love it. Two of my all-time favourite songs from Lewis has been “Aura” and “Hurting”, both have a gorgeous sound that’s made for dancing especially the former. And this song follows suit with a sound that needs to be heard in the club or performed live. I love the vocals, catchy chorus and certain elements of the instrumental remind me vibes to Justice and Daft Punk, but mixed in with that awesome and sound that Lewis has crafted over the years.

All I can say is that this song could not have come at a better time, this lockdown situation due to the virus has got a lot of people feeling a little low, frustrated or lost. And so when music like this comes along, the kind that is so fun and energetic, it really helps elevate your mood and keep that fire of positivity alive. I know I’ll be jamming to this for a while to come and can’t wait to hear what Lewis has coming up in the future.

So to conclude I think “Chemicals” is another awesome song from SG Lewis, its got such a lively and groovy vibe that makes me smile and want to dance and I can’t recommend it enough! So have you heard this new song and if so what did you think of it? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below and I’ll see you with more content soon, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2020 in Media, Music, Reviews

 

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Oscars 2020 – A Brief Recap

Howdy ladies and gents, how are you? So today is the day after the 92nd Academy Awards and I’m here to deliver my thoughts on the results via my podcast, Film Focus! So another Oscars has come and gone and while my interest this year was pretty much nonexistent, there was a handful of specific awards I wanted certain films and individuals I wanted to win. Now like last year I didn’t watch the Oscars but I saw most of the winners as it was happening online yesterday, so like last year I wanted to do a brief and casual recap of the winners.

Anyway here’s the episode:

So what did you think of the Oscars, whether it be the winners, losers or anything else, please drop them in the comment section below and I’ll see ya in the next post, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2020 in Films, Media

 

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My Top 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2020

Howdy people of the internet, hopefully you’ve seen PART 1, 2 & 3 of 2020 film preview, and yes it’s just over halfway through January but I’m finally getting around to showing my 10 films I’m looking forward to the most via my podcast Film Focus.

Check out the episode below:

So that’s my top 10 list done, hope you enjoyed my choices. So what are your most anticipated films of 2020 and are any of your entries on my list? Drop your thoughts in the comments section below and I’ll see you on the next post, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2020 in Films, Media

 

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