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Films To Look Out For In 2017 Part 2

Howdy people of the interweb and welcome to Films to look out for in 2017! This is my preview of upcoming films that I believe deserve your attention. In PART 1 I covered films from January to March, and in this post I’ll be covering April to July.

Now before we begin I have two main things I need yo point out:

  1. Obviously a lot films come out, so if they’re not on my list it’s either because I don’t know about them or I don’t care…
  2. 2016 films getting their UK releases this year don’t count! So there. 😛

Okay then, let’s start 😀

Going in Style

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Release Date: April 7th (USA & UK)

Trailer:

I saw the trailer for this the other day and I felt mixed about it. On the one hand it is an interesting concept of having three old guys going off to steal some money when their financial situations become problematic, but it also looks very questionable with some of the humourous situations that they’ll get into. To put it simply, this film looks like Last Vegas, except with old guys being robbers instead, I like the lead men and this could be fun, if handled correctly.

Gifted

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Release Date: April 12th (USA), June 16th (UK)

Trailer:

I’m interested in this film for three reasons: 1) I loved Chris Evans. 😛 2) I’m curious to see what Marc Webb’s been up to since those Amazing Spider-Man films. And 3) The premise for this film sounds intriguing and I’m liking the look of trailer so I hope it’ll be as good as I’m hoping.

The Fate of the Furious

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Release Date: April 14th (US & UK)

Trailer:

At this point you’re either on the Fast and Furious hype or not, but for those of us who are we’re pretty curious to see how this series progresses, not only because it’ll be the first film without Paul Walker’s Brian O’Conner but also because Dom Torreto seems to have turned on his people and has teamed up with the enemy. I think the series should have ended with Furious 7 considering the send off for Paul Walker, but considering the money that film made, you knew this series was gonna continue regardless. The trailer for this new film looks like the same chaotic and nonsensical fun we’ve seen from the last few films, I just hope that some of the changes aren’t going to make the film less interesting.

The Lost City of Z

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Release Date: April 17th (USA)

Trailer:

I’ve heard a lot of talk about this film since last year and it has an interesting premise, but the main reason I want to watch this is because of Tom Holland. There’s no UK release but hopefully since its being distributed by Amazon Studios it’ll be available on Amazon Video at some point for Prime members like myself.

The Circle

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Release Date: April 28th (USA)

Trailer:

Here we have another interesting film with no UK release date, but I’m liking what I’m seeing in the trailer and it has a really impressive cast including Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, John Boyega, Karen Gillan, Patton Oswalt, and Bill Paxton? Sign me up yo!

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

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Release Date: April 28th (UK), May 5th (USA)

Trailer:

Guardians of the Galaxy was one oft he best surprises of 2014, I mean I knew it’d be good, but for it to be as fun and different as it was, it changed the landscape of the MCU and the types of comic book films that could be made going forward. So far I’m totally happy with the marketing for this sequel with the humour, beautiful visuals and my favourite people, Groot and Drax looking to be standout characters once again.

Alien: Covenant

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Release Date: May 19th (USA & UK)

Trailer:

I wasn’t the biggest fan of Prometheus when it came out in 2012, and subsequent viewings didn’t do much to change my opinion, the film had some interesting ideas and was a beautiful film, but most of the characters besides Michael Fassbender’s David we idiots or just really boring. So the idea of a sequel to that film wasn’t too high on my list of films to check out this year, however, that trailer that dropped on Christmas day has swayed me a little, it looks violent and has some elements of the first and second Alien films (the best ones), so I am curious to see if this could be the Alien film I’ve been waiting for.

Wonder Woman

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Release Date: June 2nd (USA & UK)

Trailer:

This film has the potential to be really good or really bad depending on the story and central performance from Gal Gadot. It seems like a fair amount of people have embraced her as this character after Batman V Superman, but this solo film will be the real to see if her character can shine on her own. I thought the first Comic-Con trailer was fine, but the second trailer was much better with the action and visual presentation, I hope this can be a win for Warner Bros. and DC because they need it.

The Mummy

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Release Date: June 9th (USA & UK)

Trailer:

I wasn’t too interesting a reboot of this franchise, until Tom Cruise was attached and the additional cast came along and kept my interest going. Now the trailer wasn’t the most impressive thing ever, and that Tom Cruise scream will be stuck my head forever, but that being said I’m curious to se how this turns out.

Spider-Man: Homecoming

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Release Date: July 7th USA & UK)

Trailer:

Spider-Man is my all-time favourite superhero and he has had 2 great films, 1 decent one and 1 terrible one, after 2014 I thought I might be done with live-action Spidey films for a little while, and yet last year, Civil War showed me that I was completely wrong, that I could love Spidey in films again in a fresh yet classic way. I’ve liked what I’ve seen of this new Spidey film from the set pictures to the first trailers, I hope the film is as good as I’m hoping because it has the potential to be the best Spidey film to date.

War for the Planet of the Apes

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Release Date: July 14th (USA & UK)

Trailer:

Rise of the Planet of the Apes was one of the best surprise films of 2011, and Dawn was a dramatic and character-driven adventure, both of these films have been really fun, exciting, badass and surprising captivating. So with this sequel I’ve been excited for the last few years to see where this franchise would go and after that first trailer I am so hyped for to see this film in July.

Dunkirk

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Release Date: July 21st (USA & UK)

Trailer:

I’ve pretty much liked every film that Christopher Nolan’s made and this is probably his most realistic and grounded film for a while, so I am curious to see how he handles a film in the war genre, the trailer looks good and I’m excited to see the cast especially Kenneth Branagh and Cillian Murphy.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

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Release Date: July 21st (USA) August 4th (UK)

Trailer:

I heard about this film I think after Comic-Con last year and I wasn’t too keen on the promotional images, and wasn’t too fussed about this film until I saw the trailer. Now while I’m not too sure on what the plot is, and I don’t really care for the music, on a purely visual level the film looks insane! The amount of creativity, colour, detail and crazy designs of the aliens and locations is mind-boggling and depending on if the film is good or not I may want to see this in IMAX. Now I wasn’t the biggest fan of Lucy so I am cautious, but I like Dane DeHaan so here’s hoping there with be some substance to this spectacle.

The Dark Tower

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Release Date: July 28th (USA & UK)

I’ve heard a lot about this film from the years it’s been trying to be made from different studios to finally getting into production with Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey in the lead roles. I’ve never read the book, but I am interested in this film just to see how it turns out.

The Coldest City

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Release Date: July 28th (USA), July 28th (UK)

I had no clue this film was coming out until I looked it up and the more I’ve looked into it the more excited I’ve intrigued I’ve gotten. Firstly its a spy thriller film which has my interest already, plus you have a good cast including Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman and Sofia Boutella. And you have the fact that it’ll be helmed by David Leitch, one half of the directing team behind John Wick, and will also be responsible for directing the Deadpool sequel? It sound like this film will be cool to watch.

Alrighty then, that’s PART 2 done. Thanks a lot for reading. Are any of the films listed on your personal list of films to watch? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to drop them below and I’ll see you for PART 3! Laters 😀

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2017 in Films, Media

 

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QUICK REVIEW: La La Land

Howdy ladies and gents, how’s it going? So La La Land, the film that everyone has been buzzing about since critics it got released recently during in America and while the film isn’t out here in the UK officially until Friday I think, I got to see it at a Cineworld unlimited screening last night and I’m gonna tell you right now, I really liked this film and I’m gonna tell you why in this review. 🙂

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The story can be described as the following:

“This film tells the story of Mia and Sebastian, an aspiring actress and a dedicated jazz musician, who are struggling to make ends meet in a city known for crushing hopes and breaking hearts, and so this musical explores the joy and pain of pursuing your dreams.”

I really enjoyed this story, it had a really classic feel to it in its tone, narrative and when some critics say that this film is a love letter to old Hollywood films you can really feel it while you’re watching. The story had a lot of familiar elements and some parts you can predict, but it was handled with style, passion and care so when the drama, love, joy and etc go down its engaging and endearing. But what I didn’t expect was how deep, emotional and thought-provoking the film would be, this film covers a lot of themes when it comes to success and failure, compromise, having aspirations, following your dreams, and the trials and tribulations that can come with breaking into music and film industry. It was realistic and I think will not only resonate with people who are dreamers but also make people thinking about their own career paths especially if you’re a creative individual trying to get into the media industry.

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The cast was wonderful, but the main people you’ll remember is Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone who killed it! Firstly there’s Emma Stone as Mia Dolan, a girl who has great love for the film industry and had dreams of becoming a famous actress, and what I loved about her was playfulness and determination, and Stone was incredible, easily my favourite performance from her so far. Ryan Gosling was great as Sebastian Wilder, I loved his admiration for jazz and the fact that he continued to follow his dreams in spite of set backs and compromises he’s had to make, and Gosling is one of those guys I’m liking more and more with every film I see him in. Stone and Gosling had great chemistry and their characters’ love story was beautiful, engaging and felt natural. John Legend also did well as Keith, as did Rosemarie DeWitt as Laura Wilder and J. K. Simmons’ contribution as Bill was small yet unforgettable and hilarious.

The presentation was off the charts, visually and musically the film was stunning. Visually this film does some really impressive, surprising and fascinating work with the cinematography, colour scheme, lighting, set design and use of visual effects. I loved the amount of continuous shots this film was able to pull off, it looked like an insane amount of tracking shots. Oh and that dance choreography, LOVED IT! I’m a massive fan of dance choreography and this film had some pretty cool footwork especially in the extravagant dance numbers with numerous people all moving at the same time. Oh and the music was so nice, I wasn’t sure if I would like it considering the trailers, but it not only worked for the film, but it was pretty catchy, diverse and had a lot of jazz influences which I really appreciated. Justin Hurwitz’s score was magical, dramatic and infectious.

In conclusion La La Land made me think, made me feel and left a strong impression me long after I left the cinema. I had such a good time with this film and I highly recommend it, and that means a lot coming from a man who isn’t keen on musicals to begin with.

So have you seen La La Land and if so what did you think of it? Be sure to drop me your thoughts in the comments section below and I’ll see ya on the next review 😀

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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ONE PARAGRAPH REVIEW: Collateral Beauty

Now this was a film I was super excited about way back when the first set pictures were released with Will Smith and Helen Mirren, I was just giddy and intrigued to see another dramatic film with Smith and the incredible cast… However, I saw the trailer, and I wasn’t impressed, in fact I was underwhelmed. And then, when I found out the actual premise of the film online and how it was different from what the trailers was selling you, I was quite annoyed. So I felt like I was going to skip the film after the mixed reception I saw from the US release, but I thought “Screw it, let’s give it a shot.”

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The plot can be summed up as the following: “Retreating from life after a tragedy, a man questions the universe by writing to Love, Time and Death. Receiving unexpected answers, he begins to see how these things interlock and how even loss can reveal moments of meaning and beauty.” Now I heard this film was either underwhelming or just downright bad (especially from what I’ve recently read online), so I expected the worst, but I walked out of the film liking it more than I expected. I feel like this film had some interesting elements with the story and characters, but the execution was messy and questionable. Mourning the death of a loved one is something we all deal with in different ways, some harder than others, and I felt for Howard played by Will Smith, and could understand the difficult situation that he put his co-workers/friends in. However what Whit (Edward Norton), Claire (Kate Winslet) and Simon (Michael Peña) do in this film to their supposed friend is some of the most crafty and terrible things you could do to someone who is grieving. I would have liked more a focus on Howard and less on his coworkers lives because I feel like they took the focus away from Howard which was the most interesting part of the film. At several points I questioned the moral and ethical integrity of the people in this film, and while the film tries to present both sides of the argument for why certain plot elements transpire in the way that they do, and some people do present some logic as to how and why what these people are doing to Howard is wrong, its like the characters just give in and you as the audience still don’t buy into it because at the end of the day what Howard and his coworkers did was still wrong. I feel like the performances from the cast ranged from good to questionable, I liked Kate Winslet as Claire and Michael Peña as Simon I tought was good with the dramatic material, Edward Norton had some bad material to work with as Whit, while Keira Knightley as Aimee/”Love”, Jacob Latimore as Raffi/”Time” and Helen Mirren as Brigitte/”Death” did fare better in their roles though Knightley had some questionable scenes too. The best material comes from Will Smith as Howard, Smith delivers a performance that mainly relies on his physicality, facial expressions and little dialogue, but he was really good and his dramatic chops were put to good use in my opinion. And finally Naomie Harris as Madeleine was also quite good, I predicted how she would factor in the film early on, but she was one of the better actors in this film and her scenes were quite engaging. In conclusion Collateral Beauty was not the train wreck I expected and there were small moments of drama and emotional material that worked for me, but is a film that was predictable, had too many convenient moments and feels morally and ethically wrong with a conclusion that doesn’t feel entirely earned, but I didn’t hate the film so it wasn’t a complete waste of time.

So have you seen Collateral Beauty 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! 😀

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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QUICK REVIEW: Assassin’s Creed (It Sucks!)

Howdy ladies and gents, time for a film review, the first of 2017 and how does one kick off the new year of film watching in the cinema? By watching a terrible film like Assassin’s Creed that’s how! Now I knew the film would be bad, I heard the reviews coming out of the US, but I didn’t think it’d be THAT bad, but good gravy what I endured yesterday was on another level of bad. I feel like I need to rant about this film a bit so sit back and check out my small assessment of this film.

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The plot for the film can be described as the following:

“When Callum Lynch explores the memories of his ancestor Aguilar and gains the skills of a Master Assassin, he discovers he is a descendant of the secret Assassins society.”

So Assassin’s Creed, where do I begin? The film is tedious, long, nonsensical and boring. And let me reiterate, BORING! The worst offence a film can commit is to be boring and good god man this film put me to sleep. The film has come minor interesting elements when focused in the past during the Spanish Inquisition, but we only spend a limited amount of time there and most of the film takes lace in the present and all of that material is dull and tiring. Half of the time I had no idea what was going on and when I was following the plot I was questioning the logic and decisions of all of the characters. The plot’s already pretty ridiculous with some of the history and mythology, and the people behind this film did a poor job of engaging you in the world but also buying into the concept of what was happening. After a while I just stopped caring, and I thought the film would end at least 3 times before it finally stopped and if the film didn’t feel long before you definitely felt it in the last quarter of the film where the film felt like it was dragging its feet. It was insufferable.

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The cast try their best with the material but even they can’t look good in this film because unless you are Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard or Jeremy Irons, you were irrelevant or used to further the plot. Most of the secondary characters have no depth or development which makes you wonder why they were in the film in the first place. Fassbender probably was the best as Callum Lynch and Aguilar de Nerha, but that’s probably because he has the most screen time, this might be the worst I’ve seen from him but this was probably more so the script than his acting.

Oh and the presentation, so lacking. Visually this film had some decent action scenes, but they should have been better, they lacked creativity, style and the sound effects for the punching, slicing/cutting of weapons and explodes felt lacking. The use of CGI was bad, far too many characters or locations were done using special effects and while some of it was unavoidable, at the same time it felt overused and since it wasn’t very polished, when it was bad it was really noticeable. Also whoever edited this film needs to be sorted out, not only was there too much editing within the fight scenes, but sometimes the quick edits during conversations or certain scenes was off-putting. The film score from Jed Kurzel was just bad, and had no impact, besides one track that I could remember towards the end, everything else was bad.

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In conclusion Assassin’s Creed was just bad, not the worst film I’ve seen, but just incredibly underwhelming and unremarkable. The film had glimmers of goodness and utilized the game’s basic elements, but at the same time it failed to bring the best aspects to forefront while creating all new issues for the film adaptation. Don’t waste your time with this film even if you’re curious, it’s a waste of time.

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Films To Look Out For In 2017 Part 1

Howdy people of the internet, it’s a new year so you know what time it is, it’s time for my own personal preview of upcoming films that I believe deserve your attention entitled: Films to look out for in 2017! In PART 1 I’ll be covering films released from now until March, and there are more notable films during this period of time than any year before it.

Now before we begin I have two main things I need yo point out:

  1. Obviously a lot films come out, so if they’re not on my list it’s either because I don’t know about them or I don’t care…
  2. 2016 films getting their UK releases this year don’t count! So there. 😛

Okay then, let’s start 😀

The Bye Bye Man

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Release Date: January 13th (USA & UK)

Trailer:

Now I’m not a horror fan, people who follow this blog are well aware of that… However, I’m always curious about new horror films and a few always seem to make it on my yearly preview lists. From the look of the trailer it looks incredibly generic, predictable and to a degree quite funny with some of the crazy scenarios going on, but there are some interesting ideas in there. The reason this film is on here is because I’ve heard some mentions about it online so it has my interest.

XXX: Return of Xander Cage

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Release Date: January 19th (UK), January 20th (USA)

Trailer:

The funny thing is that I haven’t seen any of the previous XXX films due to lack of interest, however, with the release of this film I feel like I need to go back and get caught up. I don’t know much continuity this new film will have to the previous ones but I am curious. Plus, the trailer for this film looks frigging ridiculous, but in that over-the-top fun kind of way. I don’t think it’ll be as fun or as entertaining as the Fast and Furious films but hell I’ll give it a watch because of my boy Donnie Yen!

Split

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Release Date: January 20th (USA & UK)

Trailer:

There’s three reasons I’m interested in this film: 1) The premise about someone with multiple personalities sounds interesting. 2) James McAvoy is awesome so I’m always curious about his new projects. And 3) M. Night Shyamalan seems to be on an upswing since The Visit so I’m hoping he’ll continue to get better.

T2: Trainspotting

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Release Date: January 27th (UK), March 3rd (US)

Trailer:

I don’t have the massive attachment to Trainspotting like a lot of film fans do, and its not that I hate the film, far from it, I just saw it at a later time and I don’t know if it had the same kind of effect on me as it did for people who saw it closer to the film’s release. I saw it in my late teens and really appreciated it, plus some of the more disturbing material will stay in my memories for years to come, the toilet and the baby scenes messed up my mind for a good few weeks. I’m just curious to see if Trainspotting 2 will be good or just be another unnecessary sequel.

The Space Between Us

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Release Date: February 3rd (USA), February 10th (UK)

Trailer:

I hadn’t heard about this film until I looked it up and the trailer makes the film more intriguing to watch than the premise I read online. While I felt like I could predict how a good few of the story elements play out, I just like the unique story with a human born on Mars who trailers to Earth to experience life in a totally different way. The cast looks solid and I think there will be  lot of dramatic material to experience which should be fun.

The Lego Batman Movie

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Release Date: February 10th (USA & UK)

Trailer:

Batman was one of the standout part od the The Lego Movie, so when they announced The Lego Batman Movie it felt like a no brainer, though I thought it was a bad idea as you’d be getting too much of a good thing as a whole film. That being said, so far the marketing has been good and while I haven’t laughed out loud at any of the material, it does look pretty funny and Will Arnett seems to be on-point as Batman so I hope the film turns out well.

John Wick Chapter Two

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Release Date: February 10th (USA), February 17th (UK)

Trailer:

John Wick was a really fun film, while not as amazing as some people suggested online, it was better than I expected and I really liked the action and Keanu Reeves in the central role. Once I saw the first trailer for this sequel I was totally in, it looks so filthy and fun, and Lawrence Fishburne! Woo! Can’t wait for this film, I’m hoping it’ll just as good if not better.

A Cue For Wellness

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Release Date: February 17th (USA), February 24th (UK)

Trailer:

I heard about this film on Collider Movie Talk last year and after I saw the trailer I was intrigued. Psychological horror tends to make for the best viewing experiences and I like the cast especially with Dane DeHaan and Jason Isaacs. Plus the trailer has a disturbing atmosphere, creepy imagery and messed up experiences for all of the patients at this facility,

Fist Fight

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Release Date: February 17th (USA), March 3rd (UK)

Trailer:

This film on paper sounds like something I’d hate, it is a concept that sounds stupid and absurd, but it is at the same time the kind of foolishness that could make for some laughs especially with Ice Cube and Charlie Day at the center of it. The trailer looks absolutely silly and it has the stuff I like and dislike about comedies at the same time, I feel like this could just be an adventure set in the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia world and that’s what makes me want to watch the film.

Logan

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Release Date: March 3rd (USA & UK)

Trailer:

Logan was a film I was down to watch for a while now, but that trailer was what pushed this film into the “must watch” category. That trailer was the most unexpected and awesome piece of marketing that I think I saw last year, the tone, violence and choice of music presented a more mature, melancholy and brutal kind of comic book film than what we’ve seen in the X-Men film series so far. It could still be bad, but I’m hoping, Jame Mangold, the writers and Hugh Jackman have crafted something beautiful to send of this version of Wolverine in style!

Kong: Skull Island

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Release Date: March 10, 2017 (USA & UK)

Trailer:

I’ve been hyped for this film since its announcement and the cast only increased my hype and the first trailer really impressed me with the tone, visual style and atmosphere. It wasn’t until the second trailer when I started to feel hesitation, while it showed off more of the island, Kong himself and the other monsters, the humour was pretty hit and miss and the tone didn’t feel as intimidating as the last one. I just hope the film is action heavy but scary too.

The Wall

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Release Date: March 10th (USA), March 17th (UK)

Trailer:

I’m not too keen on war films but some of the more recent films in the genre have caught my interest and the fact that Doug Liman is directing this one already has my interest, but then you add the crazy/intriguing premise and an interest pairing of Aaron Taylor-Johnson and John Cena, and I think you could have a really good film to watch if it’s executed well.

Beauty and the Beast

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Release Date: March 17th (USA & UK)

Trailer:

The hype for this film is ridiculous, most friends that I know who are major Disney fans are stupid hyped for this film and apparently so is the rest of the internet if you look at all the views for the trailers online. I think I’m the only one who doesn’t love the original, probably because I saw it once and while it was good, it’s not in my top 10. Yeah I said it, suck it haters! But I am curious to see how this live-action version compares, it looks very pretty, but some of the redesigns to the characters look questionable, but hell if its even half as good as 2015’s Cinderella then I’ll be a happy lad.

The Belko Experiment

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Release Date: March 17th (USA)

Trailer:

I don’t know if this film is getting a UK release because according to IMDB its only coming to America in March but I hope that I’ll get to see it in the cinema because this looks like it’ll be some messy and interesting fun.

Life

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Release Date: March 24th (USA & UK)

Trailer:

So now we have the second Mars-related film on the list in the form of life with a premise that sounds interesting and a solid set of main actors in the form of Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson and Ryan Reynolds.

Power Rangers

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Release Date: March 24th (USA & UK)

Trailer:

As a fan of Power Rangers during the peak of its popularity I have a lot of nostalgic attachment to the franchise and this new reboot at this current point in time good be either really good or really bad. Now I know that in order to sell this film to new audiences that changes have to be made, and I didn’t expect them to be so dramatic with that first trailer, that being said it does look interesting with its mix of Chronicle and The Breakfast Club, I feel like there are familiar beats with the story and characters that I’ve seen before, but it does look like a unique interpretation of the show while still keep some of the original elements intact. I hope that it is good.

Ghost in the Shell

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Release Date: March 24th (USA) March 31st (UK)

Trailer:

This feel has been a long time coming, I was never really down with the idea of a live action version of Ghost in the Shell but with all the talk about it from Hollywood I never thought it’d ever get made. But here we are in 2017 just under 3 months away from its release in cinemas and so far the trailers look pretty cool with the visual imagery and ties to the animated film. I don’t have a huge attachments to the original anime so if this film is good then I’ll be happy, if it sucks then you know we can always wait for Akira right? Haha… But seriously I hope that never happens.

Alrighty then, that’s PART 1 done. Thanks a lot for reading. Are any of the films listed on your personal list of films to watch? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to drop them below and I’ll see you for PART 2! Laters 😀

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2017 in Films, Media

 

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Late End of Year Review 2016

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Howdy ladies and gents, 2016 is technically over and normally at the end of the December I do my  annual END OF YEAR REVIEW, however because of timing issues, work and New Year’s Eve plans I never got around to releasing it on time. And so I’ve debated with myself over the last few days as to whether or not to write it, but after 5 years it felt wrong in my mind not to, so, even though it’s late, my review of 2016 is here now! 2016, was one heck of a year and while there was some good times here and there, it was somewhat of a surprising and melancholy year due to a lot of the events that took place. And while I can’t cover everything I’ll do my best to cover what I remembered. As with previous entries I will talk about the year as a whole from my perspective, break it down into sections and then conclude with a summary. You ready? Cool, let’s go!

Video Games

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I think 2016 was a good year for games, even if I didn’t play too many of the new ones because I didn’t have the console to play them on, initially. Most of my gaming was Nintendo-based again with my 3DS and Wii U getting a lot of play time. I spent a fair amount of time trying to perfect my skills in Super Smash Bros. 4, also played a fair amount of Xenoblade Chronicles X and went back to Xenoblade Chronicles for some level grinding too, Lego Marvel Superheroes got some love and I was even able to fit some time in for Super Metroid, a game I’m not too good at but find a lot of enjoyment in when I’m in the zone. My 3DS got the most play time, I finally finished Fire Emblem: Awakening and was emotionally saddened when I finished it, kept going back to Sonic 2 3D and for a little while Fire Emblem Fates had my love attention, but just didn’t have the engagement level that Awakening did. However, once Pokémon Sun came out I was on lock down, it was easily my most addictive new game of last year, and while the wow factor wasn’t as intense as X & Y, the game was just really fun, accessible and changed so many of the core game mechanics and progression in subtle and great ways. Oh and speaking of Pokémon, Pokémon GO yeah that thing, i was on that hype for around 5 weeks and then fell off, and after the game became incompatible with my phone I was obviously gone for good, but those first 3 weeks were frigging full-on walking, catching and chilling in town at PokéStops haha. Oh and last year I got a PS4, finally. Spent a few days of Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens and then went straight into Final Fantasy XV, the whole reason I got my new console and during 2016 it was very different, and took time to adjust to, and while there were some issues I had with the combat, choice of buttons and game mechanics, it was hella fun and exciting, and the main four characters are some of my favourites in recent gaming memory. I’m really looking forward to gaming in 2017 especially when the Nintendo Switch drops, I need that thing to be good! 😛

Films

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For me 2016 was a solid year for films, and while there was a fair amount of disappointment with a good deal of the popular films, there were some absolute gems that popped up over the course of last year. I had a fair amount of fun in the cinema and did a bit of catching up at home as well with some of the films I didn’t watch when they were released, I also just got around to checking out some films I hadn’t seen or wanted to rewatch like Enter the Dragon, Attack the Block, Stargate and Get On Up. I luckily didn’t watch too many bad films because I was smart enough or lazy enough to stay away, though Ben-Hur, while bad, it wasn’t the worst I watched last year and in some ways I found it quite funny haha. Anyway I technically did a top 10 film post already, but for those who haven’t seen it I will list it below and as usual I’m only counting films released in 2016, films originally released in 2015 that got UK release this year DOESN’T COUNT! And with that out of the way, these are my favourite films of 2016:

Top 10 Films of 2016

  1. Sing Street
  2. Captain America: Civil War
  3. Kubo and the Two Strings
  4. Rogue One
  5. Midnight Special
  6. Jungle Book
  7. Doctor Strange
  8. Zootopia
  9. Hell or High Water
  10. Green Room

Special Mentions

  • Moana
  • Deepwater Horizon
  • The Accountant
  • The Nice Guys
  • Don’t Breathe
  • The Edge of Seventeen
  • Arrival
  • Hunt For the Wilderpeople
  • Ben-Hur (for being unintentionally hilarious)

Top 5 Worst/Disappointing Films of 2016

  1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2
  2. Suicide Squad
  3. Independence Day Resurgence
  4. Batman V Superman
  5. X-Men: Apocalypse

Television

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TV last year was pretty filthy, I was watching a lot. From the Marvel/Netflix material with the great yet flawed second season of Daredevil and Luke Cage which had a great first half and questionable yet decent second half, but it was Stranger Things that was my favourite show of last year. It was a frigging revelation and I’ve not loved an origin TV show like that show for a long time. I also got around to finishing The Wire (which was awesome, checked out Luther and started Prison Break (better late than never). has been the most crammed one yet with me taking on multiple TV shows, new and old over the course of the year, sometimes overlapping several shows at the same time! One of the most heartbreaking experiences I had this year was seeing the end of Parks and Recreation with season 7. I also got to rewatch Fringe and relive all that awesomeness, and after around 2 years I finally finished the Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Oh and I finally finished Hotel Babylon after all this time.

On top of that in the Fall/Autumn there was a lot of good TV with the first good season of Arrow‘s since season 2, a pretty awesome first half of season 4 of  Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. thanks to Ghost Rider and The Flash’s season 3 which has been good but a little lacking when compared to the previous seasons. Star Wars Rebels was a little up and down but had moments with season 3, Game of Thrones definitely delivered with season 6 when compared to last year, Atlanta was another surprisingly fun show, Preacher while a little patchy at first got better towards the latter half and The Walking Dead’s latest season hasn’t been as terrible as I thought it’d be. But Blindspot and Lucifer were the real surprises of last year, but of those second seasons were much better than expected and featured some really solid character and story material. Still need to finish Mr. Robot and Black Mirror, and finally start Westworld and Ash vs. Evil Dead.

Top 10 TV Shows

  1. Stranger Things (season 1)
  2. Daredevil (season 2)
  3. Game of Thrones (season 6)
  4. Mr. Robot (season 2)
  5. Arrow (season 5)
  6. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (season 4)
  7. Lucifer (season 2)
  8. Luke Cage (season 1)
  9. Blindspot (season 2)
  10. Atlanta

2017 promises a lot for the world of TV but I’m mainly hyped for Iron Fist, The Defenders, and the return of Preacher, Master of None and Stranger Things.

Music

Music this year has been surprisingly decent, I mean overall there’s been a great deal of crap that I’ve been subjected to at certain parties, gatherings and just at work on the radio and stuff, but it is surprising how many songs that have been either genuinely good or absurdly addictive.

Top 6 Songs

  1. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dark Necessities
  2. SG Lewis – All Night
  3. A Tribe Called Quest – We The People…
  4. Kungs vs Cookin’ on 3 Burners – This Girl
  5. Justin Timberlake – Can’t Stop The Feeling!
  6. Bruno Mars – 24k Magic

My Experience

2016, to be honest hasn’t been too bad of year for myself, I’ve dealt with a lot of shit, but my troubles haven’t been as severe as previous years. I did a lot that I never got around to doing in previous years, had a lot of fun with friends and family and got to have a high school reunion 10 years after I left school in May of 2006, something I thought I’d never get to experience and it was amazing. Also like previous years I returned to the Children’s Media Conference and make new acquaintances, went back London MCM Expo October 2016 Review, attended two wonderful weddings too, and also got finally see Alien Ant Farm live and got to see Red Hot Chili Peppers again too. Another random fact, last year I worked in a total of 4 different places and hopped 3 jobs before I landed the job that I have now, and 5 months on I’m in a much better place than I was before.

In addition to that I obtained my first long-term job that lasted longer than 6 weeks and got back into drawing in a big way for the first time in a while. But the key thing that makes me smile is the fact that I’ve been able to have such great experiences with my family and friends and that’s really helped me deal with some of the regular bullshit. Blogging-wise things were fair messy/lazy and I feel like last year was the worst year I’ve had on WordPress so far, but hell I pushed on and I hope to rectify the lack of content this year. Plus my podcast, while it started out well and I got better at it, there was a lack consistency for sure, so again hopefully I’ll get things sorted this year.

But does need to be noted about all the crazy stuff that went down last year like: 1) America allowed Donald Trump to become president, I knew its happen, I just hoped that it wouldn’t. 2) The UK voted to leave the EU, I also had a feeling this would be the case but again hoped it wouldn’t happen. And 3) Celebrity deaths, holy crap last year was just pure pain for all of the notable musicians, film and TV stars that passed on last year, and while there are too many to mention, for me I’ll miss Muhammad Ali, Ron Glass, Prince, Anton Yelchin and Alan Rickman. But the one’s that hit me hardest were Phife Dawg (because of his contributions to A Tribe Called Quest which affected my life in my late teens/early twenties), David Bowie (who after college I couldn’t imagine life without his music), George Michael (who had music which was part of my childhoo), and Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (the timing was awful and Carrie’s passing made my heart sink). And while these wonderful people are no longer with us, we gotta show love and continue to celebrate their achievements, RIP peeps of 2016.

Conclusion

In conclusion 2016 wasn’t a complete waste especially on a personal level, but at the same time let’s just all agree that a lot of the bad outweighed the good and I think we’re ready for this year to be over. So goodbye 2016 and let’s hope 2017 is a better year.

Well, thanks for reading. So how was your 2016? Please be sure to comment below and finally, have a happy new year and I hopefully I’ll see ya in again 2016. Laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2017 in Films, Life, Media, Music, Television, Video Games

 

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PODCAST: Film Focus Episodes 20 & 21: Rogue One & Top 10 Films 2016

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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. Since I never made a post about episode 20, I decided to release both episodes in the same post with the first about Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and my Top 10 Films of 2016.

Anyway here’s the episode 20:

And here is episode 21:

I’ve already written about Rogue One and my Top 10 films of last year, I believe my audio commentary on both subjects to be a little more comprehensive, entertaining and possibly funny. I feel like this is some of my best material since I started the podcast and even though I sound a little crazy, I would hope that my podcast would be worth your time.

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. 🙂

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! 😀

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2017 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Happy New Year To You All!

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Howdy people of the internet, HAPPY BLOODY NEW YEAR! How’s it going? Hope you all had a good transition into 2017. I had a pretty decent session myself. Last night I wasn’t sure if I even had any plans. I was working from the afternoon to the evening, and luckily a couple of friends showed up bought me a drink and we had a little chill session. Then went to a friend’s house and had some catch up time, watched three-quarters of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation before the majority voted to turn it off, we ate some food and had alcohol, missed the countdown but was able to bust out the fireworks at the start of the new year. It was pretty cold, but the fireworks were pretty and that feeling of joy that you get when you’re in good company at the start of a new year felt lovely. Then we ended up watching Jools Holland on TV, most of the performers I’d never heard of, but then there was Chaka Khan and my god she was able, it was a little jam session in the room as she sang, Chaka’s still got it and I was in love with her singing and the band’s music. The other notable performers were ABC, Gregory Porter, Christine and the Queens and Caravan Palace. I also was really surprised by the great performances from Seasick Steve, Rag’n’Bone Man and UB40 too. Overall it was some damn good TV.

As for everything that followed after I woke up has been a lot of Prison Break and buying video games in the January sales. Anyways let me know about how you got into 2017 and look forward to the updates for my blog soon. Laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2017 in Life

 

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Top 10 Favourite Films of 2016

Hey, hey, hey ladies and gents, how’s it going? So 2016 is almost over and most of the major film releases have come and gone and while tis year has been a bit on the disappointing side when it comes to some of the major blockbuster films and the summer in particular, there has still been some really cool films that’s dropped this year and I’m here to give you my top 10. Now before we begin know that this is my opinion so don’t get on my case if your films aren’t on my list, okay? Cool, let’s get going

Honorable mentions:

  • The Nice Guys
  • Deepwater Horizon
  • Star Trek Beyond
  • Moana
  • The Accountant
  • Don’t Breathe
  • The Edge of Seventeen
  • Arrival
  • Hunt For the Wilderpeople

10. Green Room

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Original review available here

This is a recent entry in my list as I saw it last week and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it, I mean I’d heard a lot of good things about this film over the course of this year but when watching it was just super engaged and captivated by the chaos, violence, darkness and the characters. I’m not a fan of horror films at all, but this film had me from beginning to end and I think I liked it more because I went in blind with little information on the story, the performances were all really solid especially from Patrick Stewart, Alia Shawkat, Imogen Poots and the late Anton Yelchin.

9. Hell or High Water

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Original review available here

This film was such a nice surprise, it was one of the few films that was hyped up during the early reviews that lived up to the hype. This film was engaging, dramatic and featured incredible performances from Ben Foster, Jeff Bridges and Chris Pine especially. I wish more people had seen this film, I recall it being pretty intriguing in the beginning, but it just got better and better and by the end I was loving it.

8. Zootopia

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Original review available here

Zootopia was a film I had next to no expectations for, the trailers looked interesting enough but I thought this would just an okay to decent Disney film, and yet it ended up being one Disney’s best films in recent times. This film was fun and colourful little adventure, and yet it did get pretty dramatic, emotional and had a lot of interesting themes and issues that relate to the world we live in today. I loved the characters, animation, soundtrack and the pop culture references, and just the fact that was humour for kids and adults was just want I wanted.

7. Doctor Strange

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Original review available here

I really like this film, one of the best aspects was the fact that it was another origin story that was familiar yet unique with its mythology, locations, characters and mystical/supernatural powers and locations. The film had an interesting interpretation of magic, really cool and vivid visual effects, crazy and creative action sequences, a lovely film score and really solid cast including Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

6. Jungle Book

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Original review available here

Jungle Book was another one of the best surprises of 2016, I thought the film would be decent, but ti was so much better than I expected and I enjoyed it more than the original in a lot of ways. What I loved about this film was its ability to take the foundation of the orignal cartoon but find ways to modernise it with some updated story and character elements, and by expanding upon a few elements, it made for a more interesting experience with more depth and darkness. The voice cast were great especially Idris Elba as Shere Khan and those visual effects were INSANE, so damn impressive and probably the most realistic talking animals ever produced in film.

5. Midnight Special

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Original review available here

I was really annoyed I missed this in the cinema because when I watched it in the summer I enjoyed it so much and it jumped into my top ten immediately. I love sci-fi films and love films with mystery and suspense, and this film had that. I really liked the story and characters just wanted to know how everything would play out, and throughout the film’s engaging and making you question the end game. And while the ending has led some to either love or hate the film, I thought the ending was solid and fascinating, oh and the performances were all really good especially from Michael Shannon and Joel Edgerton.

4. Rogue One: A Star War Story

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Original review available here

This film has a lot of elements that I would consider to be favourite of the year material, but there are a few minor issues that prevent it from being in my top three. Rogue One presents a side of the Star Wars universe that we’ve not yet seen in live-action, mainly the darker, grittier and realistic side of things. While we know of the tale of how rebels stole the Death Star plans, but we never saw the specifics, and this film told that story in an interesting way which expanded the mythology of SW, showed more the war-like events that take place in this universe and had great ties to the all of the SW films and TV shows. With really impressive visual effects, cool characters, awesome action sequences and one of the most exciting third acts of any film ever, Rogue One ended up being a really good session considering all that the reshoot hullabaloo.

3. Kubo and the Two Strings

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Original review available here

Ah Kubo, I really wish more people had seen this film. Laika is a studio that I had a great deal of respect for and ever since Coraline they’ve been delivering new and interesting content in their films in terms of the stories, characters and especially with the animation and this film I think might be their best to date. I saw this film opening day and then again around a month later and still really enjoyed it, besides the gorgeous art direction and animation, the film had a great sense of atmosphere, adventure, playfulness, drama and emotion, with great characters and a story which felt familiar yet had really important themes and mythology thanks to the Japanese setting.

2. Captain America: Civil War

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Original review available here

What can I can about this film that hasn’t been said already? Civil War was a damn good time in the cinema and in a lot of ways set a benchmark for not only superhero films and mainstream blockbuster films to follow, and I think a fair amount of people agreed that there wasn’t many, if any films that was able to match the quality that this film provided. Now sure the villain wasn’t the best, there were some convenient plot elements and if you weren’t up to date with the MCU films then you wouldn’t be able to fully invest in the story, but the pros of this film outweigh the cons by miles. This film was dramatic and hilarious, introduced Black Panther in fabulous way and reintroduced the world to Spider-Man, had some incredible action sequences and delivered great fan service for comic book fans. This was easily one of my favourite experiences in the cinema. 😀

1. Sing Street

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Original review available here

While I loved Civil War, I think Sing Street just edges it out for being an original film that came out of nowhere as one of the best feel-good films I’ve seen in a while. I had heard a lot of talk online on Collider Movie Talk and Schmoes Know Show about this film so I checked it out in September and was really surprised with how heartfelt, beautiful and fun the film was with its story, characters and soundtrack. It had the right balance of realism and fantastical elements. Oh and can I just mention that soundtrack again, all of the 1980’s choices of songs were great, but its the orignal songs that will make you want to buy the soundtrack, the sounds of “Up” and “Drive It Like You Stole It” are my favourites. 🙂

So that’s my top 10, hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to drop me a comment below, tell me you like my choices or tell me I’m totally wrong, I don’t care. 😛 Anyway thanks for reading and I’ll see ya with new film reviews in 2017! 😀

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2016 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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My Top 7 George Michael Songs

Howdy ladies and gents, hope you’ve had a good Christmas session and if you’re still off work at the moment then I hope you’re enjoying that relaxation to the maximum. So, 2016 is almost over and with the amount of depressing, chaotic, and troublesome stuff that’s gone down this year, you’d think things would finally stop… And yet, yesterday, I hear the news that George Michael was death and I’m like “No way! You’re kidding.” And yet I look online and its confirmed by several news sites and I felt so deflated, and on Christmas Day of all days. I seriously thought at that point, “2016, seriously just fuck off.” And so I just wanted to share with my brief memories of the man and the music that affected me over the years.

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Now I’ve never been the biggest fan of George Michael, but to ignore his contributions to the world of music would be rude and unfair because the man’s talent was undeniable. I sort of grew up on the hearing the sounds of Wham! and Michael’s solo work through the 90’s to early 00’s and some of it I loved, and some of it not so much, but his music was inescapable especially if you live in the UK like I do. Before I reveal my list I want to say that I’m going to cheat a little and include both Wham! and Michael’s solo work because I couldn’t exclude the Wham! material, also while I enjoy the sounds of “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go“, “Careless Whisper“, “Faith” and “Amazing” they won’t be making the list because I enjoy the following songs a lot more.

So yeah the following songs I’ve compiled based on their replay value, dancing quality and emotional engagement. 🙂

7. Flawless (Go to the City)

This is one of those songs that I forget that George Michael worked on, and every time it dropped on the radio I was like “Oh yeah, this is a jam!” I really enjoy the upbeat/electronic nature of the song and it so different from Michael’s other song because its house sound, but it makes for an unexpectedly good sound.

6. Jesus To a Child

You know when you hear a song for the first time and it hits you? Like in that super dramatic/emotional way? That was what happened to me when I heard this song in my childhood days. The drama and sense of saddness in this song is so intense and beautiful, it is not a very happy song, but that is one the reasons I love it. Sometimes I feel like one has to listen to songs that aren’t necessarily happy just to gain some perspective, appreciate life and learn more about certain musicians. Over the course of Michael’s career this has always been one of his most notable songs.

5. The Edge of Heaven

This song represents one of the key reasons I love music from the 80’s; the sound is so charismatic, upbeat and makes you dance, it’s simply so gorgeous in its musical composition and the lyrics are easy to up and sing along to. The funny thing about this song is that I heard it a lot during my teens but never knew it by name until I looked it up today, but it’s one of those songs that whenever I heard it I got in a happy mood.

4. Fastlove

This song in the 90’s was my frigging jam, not only was the song badass, but the video was quite notable because it was always in circulation on the music channels and it was overly sexual which was a little strange/awkward to see as a child. That being said, the song was far too cool to ignore so just tried to look past the visual imagery. This song just has a delicious, sexy and funky groove, the bit towards the end with the use of Patrice Rushen’s “Forget Me Nots” is damn good too. But it’s just the words “Gotta get up to get down.” Those are words to live by and in this song they are repeated with style and conviction that its hard not to let those lyrics get inside your head.

3. As

I know this is cover of Stevie Wonder’s song, but screw it this version has my heart yo. For the longest time this was my favourite George Michael song, not because the amazing vocals from Michael and Mary J. Blige but also because of the music video. When I saw the video as kid I was amazed by the multiple versions of Michael and Blige singing, dancing, chilling, etc, it was insanity to my feeble mind but it was also the best thing ever. I adore Michael and Blige’s vocals, they blend well so well and you can hear the passion in their voices that makes it feel so much more engaging.

2. Everything She Wants

This Wham! song is one hadn’t heard until a few years ago and after I heard it was annoyed that I hadn’t come across it sooner. This is absolutely one of the Michael’s best songs, the lyrics tell a very interesting and dramatic tale about complexity of a relationship where one is giving everything and the other half just takes. It has a wonderful and emotionally engaging sound which is both thought-provoking and nice to listen to at the same time.

1. Club Tropicana

If you want a song that’s gonna make you feel good and want to dance look no further than this song. For me, this is one of the most feel-good songs in the history of existence, ever since I saw this song on TV, it’s become one of the key songs that represents good times and works especially well in the summer. My sister and I always insist that we’ll play this when we go on holiday at some point because it feels like a holiday-kind of song. I honestly love everything about this song, its great for karaoke, has a lot of catchy lyrics and the music from the horns, piano, bass guitar and so on, it is all on-point.

So even though it is sad that George Michael’s no longer with us, like the other celebrities that have passed on we just gotta keep their spirit alive and celebrate what they accomplished. RIP dude, you were awesome.

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2016 in Life, Music

 

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