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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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QUICK REVIEW: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Howdy ladies and gents, how you doing? So it is Christmas Eve and up until yesterday I hadn’t watched any Christmas films, so I had a little time before work so I decided to rewatch one of my favourite films Kiss Kiss Bang Bang; a film that’s not your standard festive film, but takes place during the season. And since I’ve been meaning to review this film for around 3 years I thought now would be a good time to talk about it.

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The story for this film can be described as the following:

“A murder mystery brings together a private eye, a struggling actress, and a thief masquerading as an actor.”

This is a tale of murder, mystery, drama, coincidence and timing all rolled up into a smart comedic crime film, with a story was quite enjoyable and I always find joy in rewatching it just to see how much of it I can remember. There’s two key reasons why I love this story, 1) There’s a good balance between the humour and dramatic elements because there are some moments where both elements happen within very close proximity of each other, but there’s just the right amount of breathing room so you could be shocked or saddened, but then be elevated by the humour. And then there’s the way this film handles all of the different/seemingly unrelated plot elements and finds ways to not only tie it all together towards the end of the film, but also how it smartly has certain plot and character elements come into play which don’t play out in a conventional way. Plus the breaking of the fourth wall with the narration and certain visual gags that got used was really funny too. Overall it is an interesting little tale with lots of twists and turns, humour, and action, but it also gets a little dark and has some sad at times, but its all handled well by the sharp script and direction from Shane Black.

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The cast is fabulous especially when it comes to Robert Downey, Jr., Val Kilmer and Michelle Monaghan, these three in particular have solid performances and good scenes together. So let’s start with Robert Downey, Jr. who was perfect as Harry Lockhart. Here we have a character who has a troubled past and isn’t the best kind of guy, yet he is funny, witty and has enough redeeming qualities that you get attached and root for him as he goes on such a crazy journey from where he starts out to how he ends up. This for me was when RDJ became the actor we know him as today, the witty, charming and loveable man that we’ve seen him really show off in the Marvel Studios films since 2008, he brings his A-game and does really well as a man thrown into some unbelievable situations and has to deal with it the best way possible through luck, charisma and humour. And then there’s Val Kilmer as “Gay” Perry van Shrike, this is the most notable role from Kilmer in years since this film came out. His role as a private investigator was quite different yet well-suited to him, Perry was stern, sarcastic and uncaring, but was also endearing and humourous. Plus I adored the chemistry he has with RDJ, these two had such a such wonderful scenes together and after the film ends you can’t really imagine anyone else in these roles. Michelle Monaghan as Harmony Faith Lane was also really great, Harmony has an interesting role to play as one of the key pieces of the story and cast that makes this film so much fun, She’s an aspiring actress and Harry’s childhood friend who has an interesting backstory, view of the world and personality traits that’s both troublesome and attractive. Monaghan was not only gorgeous but also quite versatile and engaging in her role. Also Corbin Bernsen was also solid as Harlan Dexter, and seeing Rockmond Dunbar and Dash Mihok as Mustard and Mr. Frying Pan was great, these two had a small yet notable presence as Dexter’s henchmen.

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When it comes to the presentation visually the film is very nice, the cinematography is nice and has some lovely landscape shots and the use of colour is quite notable too. I also really liked the film score from John Ottman as it felt whimsical and dream-like, yet also being quite energetic and melancholy. And it also doesn’t hurt that the film also includes a slightly condensed version of “Broken” from Robert Downey Jr’s The Futurist album from 2004. 😀

Ah Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is still such a great movie, I’ve only seen a few times and it still makes entertains me highly. The direction is great, the writing is so clever and funny, I also love the soundtrack too and lastly Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer had amazing chemistry together. This is a film I highly recommend to everyone.

So have you seen Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and if so what do you think of it? Whatever your thoughts are leave them in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2016 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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ONE PARAGRAPH REVIEW: Green Room

Howdy ladies and gents, time for another one paragraph review and today I’ll be talking about Green Room. Now this is a film I planned to watch during its release in the cinema back in May, but for whatever reason I missed it and I’ve been kicking myself ever since because there’d been nothing but positive word of mouth about this film, and some claimed it was film of the year material. So with all the 2016 films I’d missed, I wanted to try and see this film before I made my top 10 list. So is it good or not? Well read on and find out!

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The plot can be summed up as the following: “A punk rock band is forced to fight for survival after witnessing a murder at a neo-Nazi skinhead bar.” Green Room is a film I knew of but really didn’t know anything about besides the basic premise and the talk of the performances of the cast especially Patrick Stewart and Anton Yelchin. I was basically going into this film blind, and I feel like I benefitted from that a lot. I had the general jist of this story down, but it turned into a very different film than I was expecting, the film was dark, dirty and violent, and just when I thought I’d sussed out plot, it’d totally change things up. The story while familiar in some ways, had a lot of unique and surprising elements with the way it handled the characters, pacing and overall narrative, and can we talk about the tension? Good gravy man, besides the sheer brutality and violence which is handled so well, this film kept up the suspense and tension in such an intense way, my heart was racing several minutes after the film ended, and I’d say it’s on par with Don’t Breathe. And then there’s the cast who all did a great job in their roles. Anton Yelchin was just fabulous as Pat, this guy goes through a lot and Yelchin just put in 110% with performance especially on the physical side. Imogen Poots as Amber was also really impressive, really versatile and realistic with the emotional material she was given. And of course we have to talk about Patrick Stewart as Darcy Banker, this is most different role I’ve seen from him, Darcy was really cold, calculated, ruthless and intimating and Stewart was so magnetic. I also really enjoyed seeing Arrested Development‘s Alia Shawkat as Sam, she was really great too, I also enjoyed Macon Blair as Gabe, Mark Webber was pretty good as Daniel and finally Joe Cole and Callum Turner were solid as Reece and Tiger. In conclusion Green Room was a very impressive, intense and dark film which I enjoyed far more than I expected and it has automatically jumped into my top 10 films of 2016, just trying to figure out where to place will be the hard part. But anyway, I’m glad I saw it and I would recommend it for sure.

So have you seen Green Room 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 December 22, 2016 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Review

Good day to you ladies and gents, it is review time once again and today I am bringing you my review of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, my last most anticipated film of the year. With 2016 nearly over and most of the films of interest having come out already, I wasn’t expecting to be wowed by any more films. And that’s not to say that I wouldn’t be impressed with Rogue One, but I assumed it’d be good but not mind-blowing… Oh how wrong I was. I’m gonna tell you right now, Rogue One was frigging awesome and you should watch it immediately. But in case you need more convincing read on and check out my thoughts in this spoiler-free review! 😀

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The story can be summed up as the following:

“Jyn Erso, a Rebellion soldier and criminal, sets out on a life-changing journey with her Rebel allies to find her father and obtain the schematics the Galactic Empire’s superweapon, the Death Star.”

I thought that Rogue One‘s story was really good. As a fan of the film series, I knew how this film would end, but that did not make the journey any less exciting. This is a tale hope and bravery in times of darkness and uncertainty, and while the story has enough familiar elements that allows it to coexist with the main series films, it allows presents a lot that we haven’t seen in a Star Wars film. One of the things I admired early on was how different this film was from the other Star Wars films, especially when it came to the direction, atmosphere and tone. Those key elements felt fresh and unique, and at several points this film felt a lot grittier, dirtier, realistic, dark and dramatic, and there to be honest I got a little emotional during certain sequences. This film certainly adheres to the war genre in really impressive ways, and I won’t ruin anything, but I will say that if you’ve watched any war film, then you’ll notice how well this film handles sense of danger and dread, overwhelming odds, tone and casualties. And there’s also some lovely ties to other SW films and the way it tied into A New Hope was just delightful.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story(Felicity Jones)Ph: Film Frame©Lucasfilm LFL

The cast was all so very, very good. What I appreciated about this cast was the fact that they all felt relevant, had moments to shine and were engaging. Firstly there’s Felicity Jones who was just wonderful as Jyn Erso, this lady was strong, courageous, but also relatable and Jones really did well in the role. Diego Luna as Cassian Andor was someone I ended up liking more than I expected, Andor had a fair amount of depth and intelligence to him. Alan Tudyk as K-2SO was awesome, he was a droid who had so many notable/funny moments because of his blunt and unapologetic nature, and Tudyk was just perfect with the timing of his speech. Riz Ahmed as Bodhi Rook, was a really interesting character who had plenty of interesting, fun and important moments with Ahmed really working well. And then you have Donnie Yen and Wen Jiang as Chirrut Îmwe and Baze Malbus, these two worked well both as individuals and together because of their personality traits and combat capabilities, but also because they were so likable and charming, both Yen and Jiang did really well, but Yen really stood out because of his charisma and martial arts abilities. Mads Mikkelsen as Galen Erso was really good and so was Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera, and you also have Ben Mendelsohn as Orson Krennic, a man who was strong-willed and cunning, and even though his type of villain has been done before I loved the way Mendelsohn handled the character. There were also some really nice and surprising cameos from certain SW characters and actors which you’ll have to see for yourselves.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story(Donnie Yen)Ph: Film Frame©Lucasfilm LFL

When it comes to the presentation it was fantastic! Visually this film is probably the best in the franchise so far, the art direction and use of colour, along with the cinematography and the blending of practical and digital visual effects was on another level. I especially loved the practical effects for the aliens which were really cool, and cinematography which was used to great effect with the sense of scale, tracking shots, and various angles. I adored the action sequences as they varied from firefights to hand-to-hand combat to aerial/space dogfights, all of these sequences are so intense and well-choreographed, and again so different from what we’ve seen in previous SW films. As for the film score from Michael Giacchino, the man worked magic again. Giacchino’s score for Rogue One was epic, whimsical, heartbreaking and full of wonder, and the music captured the spirit of John Williams’ sound while also creating something new as well.

In conclusion Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was just a good time at the cinema and exceeded my expectations in a lot of ways. I had some very, very minor issues with the use of CGI is some places and some pacing nitpicks in the earlier half of the story, but they pale in comparison to how much I enjoyed this film. This film has the right amount of nostalgia as a prequel to A New Hope, but presents so many new elements to this universe at the same time. Rogue One was beautiful, funny, emotional, action-packed, surprising and downright fun especially for fans. I highly recommend the film and can’t wait to see it again in IMAX.

So have you seen Rogue One: A Star Wars Story or are you going to watch it soon? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to drop them in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2016 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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LATE REVIEW: Red Hot Chili Peppers @ The O2 Arena

Good day to you ladies and gentlemen, today I am back once again to give you a review of a gig I went to on Monday and it will be on the Red Hot Chili Peppers at The O2 Arena in London. Now I know that this review should have been out on Tuesday and the latest but I’ve been so busy with work, drawing and playing Final Fantasy XV and Pokemon Sun that finding the time to write this review was next to impossible. But regardless I just had to share my thoughts on the awesome night I had.

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So for those not aware, the Chili Peppers are one of my all-time favourite bands and I saw them the first time back in 2011 when they were playing at Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield. It was a significant occasion for me because not only was I totally loving the I’m With You album, but they were also my first band I’d seen live. It was a beautiful session and it pretty much kicked off my love for live music. So fast forward 5 years, we have their latest album; The Getaway (which I really like by the way) and a new tour, so you knew I had to get on that, and the 3 months after I bought the tickets flew by pretty quick.

Before I get into the awesomeness of the RHCP, I’d be incredibly rude to not mention the supporting act; BABYMETAL who left quite the impression on me after their performance ended. Now this band I’d heard of through friends but I never really knew much about them besides the fact that they were a Japanese girl band who did metal music and I heard some of their music briefly while in Tokyo Toys in London last year, but they were still an oddity to me. However, seeing them live was one of the most different and unique experiences I’d ever have with a live music performance. Seeing all the musicians rocking out so heavy and loudly while these three again ladies ran around, danced and performed all these actions at the same time was mental. I’ve not seen a band so theatrical and charismatic like this ever, it felt like I was watching a butch of excited kids singing and moving around with such a cray level of energy, but they were so bloody cute, beautiful and charming. I was surprised by not only how much I liked the ladies, but also how much I got into the music considering that I’m not super into metal music. Overall they were great and I definitely will be looking into their music in the future.

But let’s move on to the RHCP, when they came on stage it was like the room set ablaze, the energy was completely on another level. And from there the band went on play a collection of notable and newer songs, but in between we got really cool jamming sessions between Flea, Josh and Chad and I adore those so much, they were varied, upbeat and kept the momentum going. I also have to comment on the presentation too, there was this awesome set of cylinder-shaped lights that lit up in various colours and moved up and down via cables and formed waves, big rectangles and other crazy shapes which was so cool. And then there was the screen behind the band that showed them playing with interesting colour filters or had these crazy abstract videos with “2D or cut out animation which was so strange and badass.

As for the set list it was really good, the band played 5 songs from their latest album, a few from By the Way, Blood Sugar Sex Magik and Californication, and one each from I’m With You, Mother’s Milk and Stadium Arcadium. When the band came on-stage and then started with “Can’t Stop” as the first song I lost my mind. That is my all-time favourite Chili Peppers song and to hear it first got everyone moving. Then from there was a lovely selection of songs and most of them I really enjoyed, though some definitely got me more giddy than others. Getting to hear “Dark Necessities” life for the first time was a lot of fun and hearing the sound of “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie” live again brought back memories of good times back in 2011, while “Go Robot” really got people moving and I loved hearing it live as it was still really groovy. My favourite choices included: 1) “Sick Love” I think it was both luck and fate that this song ended up being played, but my god I loved them for playing it as it was my favourite inital song off of The Getaway.  2) “Right On Time” is such a swift and beastly song and the fact that tit got played made me SO happy. ) 3) “Higher Ground” felt like the icing on a fantastic cake, its one of my favourite covers of any song in existence and hearing it live set my soul on fire! 😀 But the biggest happy moment I felt must have been from hearing “Under The Bridge“, for a while I thought to myself that there hadn’t been any songs from that BSSM so the band had to be saving it and sure enough they were, that is the song that sing together with friends or fans and it was absolutely stellar. I think the biggest responses the band got were from “Otherside“, “Dani California“, “Californication“, “By The Way” and “Under The Bridge” and “Give It Away“, those songs got everyone freaking out and singing along in unison. If I had any nitpicks I would say that sometimes I wish Josh’s guitar volume levels would have been turned up on a few of the songs, also I wished that Anthony would have reached just a little higher with his vocals on a few songs and finally I wish that I could have heard “Encore” and “Dreams of a Samurai” from the new album, but these are just minor nitpicks at best.

In the conclusion the Red Hot Chili Peppers at The O2 Arena was such a delightful time. As someone who had seen them before, I felt like time hadn’t passed and I was getting more great music and more of the awesome charisma, charm and badassery from the band members. The set list was good, the atmosphere was wonderful and the visual presentation was kick ass. Besides some nitpicks I had with some of the song arrangements, they pale in comparison to all of the great material that I experienced. If you’ve seen RHCP live let me know what you thought in the comments below, and if you haven’t seen them live you should, it is worth it for sure! 😀

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2016 in Media, Music, Reviews

 

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QUICK REVIEW: Spider-Man: Homecoming Trailer #1

Howdy ladies and gents, how’s it going? Its been a while but it is time for another trailer review! There’s been many trailers dropping left right and center over the course of the last few months or recently like I’ve really enjoyed like Logan, Wonder Woman, The Belko Experience and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 to name a few, but I’ve just not had the time to talk about them… However, when I found out that two new trailers were coming out for Spider-Man: Homecoming I knew I’d have to drop my thoughts online. 😛

Oh and before we continue I’ll be talking about the main trailer and not the international one.

So here’s the trailer below:

So my first reaction after seeing this film was “Nice, very nice.” This trailer wasn’t amazing, spectacular or sensational haha, however it was solid and it makes me confident that we’ll get a solid Spider-Man film, at least that’s what I hope.

There’s another trailer which you can watch here which has some interesting different shots of Michael Keaton’s Vulture, and Tony Stark and Peter Parker’s interactions among other things.

First thing I like about this trailer is that it feels like it fits within the style and tone of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, from the cinematography to the colour palette and style of the action, it feels in line with what’s come before especially with the Russo Brothers Captain America films. That being said the film certainly seems to have enough unique elements that will hopefully allow it to stand alone from the other MCU films despite the inclusion of Tony Stark and the ties to Captain America: Civil War. Another thing that I enjoyed was how well this trailer illustrates a day in the life of Peter Parker, we get to see his school life, take out bad guys as Spider-Man, and hang with Tony Stark. Seems like Peter Parker will get up to a fair amount of stuff, most of which falls in line with what Peter has dealt with in the comics/previous films, but with the heavier focus on Peter’s school life, the mentorship of Tony Stark and the introduction of the Vulture I believe this film will offer up some nice variation on what we’ve seen from previous Spider-Man films. My favourite parts of the trailer were: 1) Seeing Spidey take out those robbers in the avengers masks, that felt like classic Spidey with the jokes and action. 2) The Tony Stark and Peter Parker interaction in the car was so delightful, Stark’s comments about the do’s and don’ts of being a superhero was great, but that awkward hug/opening the door moment was the best. And 3) The final shot of Iron Man and Spidey flying through the sky together, that is pure comic book fan service and I love it! The only concerns I have is 1) Will Michael Keaton’s Vulture be a good villain or another forgettable villain for not only the MCU but also for the Spidey films since the last good villain was Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock). And 2) Will Stark’s inclusion in the film take focus away from Spidey in his own film? I hope not. I really hope that this is the film that taps into the Spectacular Spider-Man Animated Series realm of awesomeness and translates some of that story and character material into this film, it’s unlikely but I can still dream. 😛

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To conclude the first trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming looks pretty good. The film looks like it not only fits in with the rest of the MCU films, but it also feels true to the source material while also providing something different in its style and aesthetics. The trailer didn’t blow me away, but it didn’t have to, it just needed to reassure me that the film would be worth watching; and this trailer did just that. Bring on July yo! 😀

So have you seen the first trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming and if so what do you think of it? Are you more or less excited than before? Be sure to drop me a comment and I’ll see ya on the next review! 🙂

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2016 in Films, Media, Reviews

 

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