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My Late E3 2017 Highlights!

So another E3 has come and gone and I am again feeling hollow, but hey at least its time to talk about the games and the convention on a whole. Unlike the last two years I’m currently on holiday so I had to catch all the E3 material erratically as I went out to eat and celebrate birthdays, so that’s why my thoughts are on the late side. But I couldn’t leave this blog without doing so form of wrap-up mini discussion so here we go!

The Press Conferences

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Unlike last year I didn’t get to see all of the main press conferences live, Microsoft and Sony’s conferences I had to watch a good few hours after their main announcements while Ubisoft and Nintendo’s I got to check out on time. As for the press conferences I liked what Microsoft brought in terms of their game selection, but I wouldn’t say it was anything mind-blowing, plus the fact that the Xbox Scorpio just ended up being the Xbox One X felt like such a lazy name. With Sony I thought there were certainly some cool highlights with some of their specific game reveals but it was a far cry from their incredible show from last year, it just felt a little slow and awkward with some of the stuff the presenter was coming out with. Ubisoft was honestly the real surprise, their conference while not mind-blowing, had some solid reveals, moved at a good pace and gave people a bit of what they expected and what they didn’t and think it all worked out well for them. With Nintendo as usual they did their own thing with their digital event and it was solid, most of it was covering games we knew were coming especially for 2017, but their were just a few major surprises that tipped the scales in their favour which I will discuss below. So who won E3? Hard to say because everyone had really cool material, but hardly anything amazing that made one company stand out more than the others, but I feel like Ubisoft and Nintendo did the best with the material they had to offer, but I think that’s just me.

But what’s E3 without talking about the games? While there were some games we’d seen before there were plenty that were new that I hadn’t seen which was great, so now I’m gonna talk about all of my favourites.

Spider-Man PS4

I think the game that really stood out to me was the PS4 Spider-Man game which was unexpected to a degree. Last year when that trailer was revealed I was hyped, and I remember there being a lot of naysayers stating that the game was suing pre-rendered graphics and that the in-game visuals wouldn’t look that good. And yet here we are in 2017 with footage that was just as clean as what we saw last year with seamless transitions between the cut scenes and gameplay and it is pretty frigging awesome. The graphics look super detailed, clean and colourful and the animation with very fluid and slick from the character movements to the all the environmental elements. I like how we got to see a bit of Spidey’s combat, stealth mechanics, web-swinging and the use of quick time events. I like how cinematic the cut scenes are and the combat looks fluid and Spidey’s overall movement feel so kinetic and acrobatic, if this game can keep up this level of quality with a solid story mode, good mission variety and different costumes then I’ll be so happy.

Super Mario Odyssey

I was already obsessed with this game from the first reveal but this just brought the hype to a new level. Having Mario use his magic hat to tak control of so many enemies and objects was pure insanity the first time I watched the trailer. It opens up so many possibilities for the gameplay, exploration and bizarre scenarios. The game just looks mad and I love it, the fact that the game not only looks so gorgeous but also has a lot of gameplay variety and the fact that Mario can wear different suits? Hell yes I’m hyped!

Sonic Mania

This game could almost be my game of E3 thought it had been revealed last July, but I just can’t help it I just really want this game dammit! Haha. Sonic Mania is the 2D Sonic adventure I’ve wanted for years and didn’t know it. The game just looks like a nice balance of the old and new, but with improved art and animation, redesigned levels and brave new ones and absolutely gorgeous music too. The more I’ve seen from the game the more I’ve wanted to shout from the rooftops that this will be the best Sonic game ever, at least that’s what I hope. Each new reveal has gotten me more hyped and with the recent footage of Chemical Plant Zone Acts 1 & 2 and Green Hill Zone Act 2 with the boss battle I’m stupidly hyped now.

Dragon Ball Fighter Z

This game was one of the best surprises from E3 I had no clue this game was a thing until a good few hours after the Microsoft press conference had ended and since then I have watched so much footage and I still can’t get enough. The fact that us fans are getting a DBZ 2D fighting, the first since Burst Limit in 2008 is such a lovely surprise! The game is probably the best-looking and most accurate portrayal of the art style and animation from the original show with such intricate detail that’s gone in the character stances, fighting styles and crazy cinematic special moves, and it is all done the Marvel Vs. Capcom style of gameplay. What’s not to like? The gameplay looks so frantic, fast and intense and I love it, it perfect captures the chaotic nature of the show and I can’t wait to touch this game!

Metroid Prime 4 & Metroid: Samus Returns

This was the defining moment for a lot of people when Nintendo won E3, while watching their Spotlight video I saw their trailer announcement for something and I wasn’t too sure what it was for the first 2 seconds, but as soon as the music dropped I knew it was true and that happiness was coming my way… Frigging Metroid Prime 4! Finally! Thank god! I’m not even hardcore into Metroid but I’ve been waiting for a new game in this series for what seems to be an eternity and finally we know its in development and that was enough to sway me into thinking that Nintendo may have gotten this E3 in the bag. But then after that during the Treehouse stream those crazy people at Nintendo dropped another bomb on us; another frigging Metroid game, in 2D! Damn! Even though the art style was in 3D and this is a remake of the original Game Boy game, just to know we’ll get to play this game makes me so delighted beyond words.

Anthem

This game looks like a lot of fun just for the size and scope of the world alone. Graphically the game looks so beautiful and detailed and I’m curious to learn more and get to play this with friends with the different armour classes. Now normally this kind of game would be my cup of tea but I’m just so intrigued by the world and co-op potential that I’ll have to keep my eye out for it!

Sea of Thieves

It was good to see this game back in action and though like last year it a little cringey due to the narrator trying to deliver jokes that just didn’t land, but otherwise this larger look at the game in regards to swimming underwater and finding treasure underwater, battling enemies on the beach and getting shot out of cannons among other things. It just looks like a lot of fun with the right people.

 

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

This game was the first major surprise of E3 in the sense that a lot of people (me included) thought this game would be a joke that no one would want to buy and yet creatively Ubisoft have taken the core foundation of the Mario games and made something special in a turn-based strategy style that has a lot of potential for creative gameplay. Straight from the trailer and game footage I can tell this will be an intriguing  and hilarious session with the Rabbids.

Other Games Worth Mentioning

Firstly there’s Assassin’s Creed Origins which looks kind of different to what’s come before and I like the setting, The Evil Within 2 had a cool trailer, God of War for PS4 still looks great, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 showed off some interesting gameplay but had some horrible English dubbing, South Park: The Fractured But Whole looked great but it was also awesome to see the reveal of South Park: Phone Destroyer was just as delightful. Monster Hunter World, looked like an interest evolution of the series though I don’t know if the new gameplay elements sit well with me, the Shadow of the Colossus PS4 Remaster looked cool and learning that a new Pokemon RPG was in the works for Nintendo Switch was a nice surprise.

Conclusion

In the end E3 2017 was great experience and while it wasn’t as great as last year it had a lot of great reveals and moments that will last for a while to come. I can’t to not only get my hands on those 2017 games but also touch those games that’s on the horizon for 2018, good gravy I’m gonna be out of money for months! Hopefully you all will join me for the next year’s session as well. 😀

So did you watch E3 this year and if so what games are you excited about? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next post, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2017 in Media, Reviews, Video Games

 

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QUICK THOUGHTS: Black Panther Teaser Trailer

Howdy ladies and gents, how are you? So this morning I woke up to the new teaser trailer for Black Panther and I’ve been giddy ever since! I knew the trailer was gonna drop after I read about it when the first poster was revealed but I wasn’t gonna stay up all night for it, so when I woke up and saw some people had reviewed online I knew I had to check it out. So let’s talk about that teaser!

Check out the trailer below:

So my initial impressions were this, “This is pretty damn cool.” Last year Chadwick Boseman’s performance as T’Challa/Black Panther really stood out in Captain America: Civil War and Black Panther ended up being my favourite character because of his story arc, unique skill set, lineage and badass costume, and now that we’ve got a new trailer that only enhances the character and the world he’s a part of.

What I liked about this teaser was the following things:

  1. The tone: Even though the teaser was less than two minutes it was plenty to demonstrate that this film’s story would have a more personal and mature atmosphere than what we’ve seen from Marvel Studios.
  2. The visuals: I like the use of colour and sense of scale when it comes to various locations of Wakanda, I also like the way there is a nice a balance between traditional and futuristic elements that applies to the environment and the citizens.
  3. Cool action: The brief scenes we get of Black Panther kicking ass in the jungle or seeing Killmonger and T’Challa squaring off or some of these other fight scenes, I like the practicality of it and it looks like fun.
  4. The cast: Starting this trailer off with Andy Serkis and Martin Freeman aka Ulysses Klaue and Everett Ross from Age of Ultron and Civil War was not only a cool reminder for fans but it also was fun as the both acted together in the first Hobbit film. In addition to that we got to see more of not only Chadwick Boseman again, but cool glimpses of Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o and Angela Bassett among others.
  5. The direction: One thing that stood out to me was the style of trailer and the way the characters were handled and it felt like a Ryan Coogler film. Coogler has a notable style with his directing and while watching this trailer I could feel his presence all over this film like Creed and Fruitvale Station beforehand. Only a handful of MCU films have a unique sense of style brought on by their directors as a lot of them just fall into the same style, only Kenneth Branagh, Shane Black, The Russo Brothers and James Gunn have been able to leave a unique mark on the MCU through Thor, Iron Man 3, Captain America: Winter Soldier & Civil War and Guardians of the Galaxy 1 & 2.

In conclusion the teaser trailer for Black Panther was awesome, I was very happy with what I saw it delivered everything I wanted and then some, the tone, visuals and cast looks very unique and different to what we’ve seen from the MCU so far and that is exactly what this property and genre needs. February can’t come quicker! #BlackPantherSoLit 😛 😀

So have you seen Black Panther trailer and if so what did you think of it? Are you hyped, curious or underwhelmed? Let me know in comments section below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2017 in Films, Media, Reviews

 

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PODCAST: Film Focus Episode 33 – Wonder Woman Review

Howdy ladies and gents of the internet, as some of you may have seen, last year I started a film podcast entitled Film Focus and on this podcast I talk about various topics in film and reviews as well on a biweekly basis. Now you may be wondering, “Where’s episode 32?” Well it exists, I just forgot to post about it on here so here’s a link: https://soundcloud.com/film_focus/episode-32-godzilla-2014-vs-kong-skull-island

As for the latest episode of the podcast features my review of Wonder Woman 🙂

Anyway here’s the episode 33:

Now I already did a written review for this film on Thursday but had to do audio based review just to expand upon my thoughts on not just the film itself but my expectations for the film during the marketing phase and how I’ve felt about the DCEU films so far. I was surprised by how short this episode turned out to be considering how I could have said a lot more about it had my memory banks been in check. 😛 Anyway I hope you all enjoy the episode. 🙂

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 June 3, 2017 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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EPIC REVIEW: Wonder Woman

Howdy ladies and gents, how’s it going? So today is a special day as I finally get to talk about Wonder Woman, the latest film from Warner Bros. and DC Films and is the fourth film in the DC Expanded Universe. So after three pretty divisive films, WB and DC had a lot deliver to people who weren’t on board with the previous offerings of the DCEU, me included. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate Man of Steel, but I didn’t love it, Batman V Superman was a long-winded chore with Batman being the only thing I liked, and with Suicide Squad being a frustrating mess, my hope for the DCEU was waning. And so with Wonder Woman I wanted to love it, not only because the marketing made the film look good, but also because I wanted to see a good film in this cinematic universe. So does Wonder Woman succeed? Well read on and find out!

So the story can be described as the following:

“Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.”

I thought the story was pretty good. What I enjoyed about was Diana’s whole journey, learning about her early days and how she learnt about the world and was eager to become a warrior, and then later in her adult life discovering man, the world and the horrors of war. All of that material was handled well. I also liked how this film was able to be serious but also light-weighted and humours, there were some nice subtle yet notable moments which covered race, greek mythology, the never-ending nature of war and equality. If I had any complaints I would just say that some of the story plays out as you would expect and no there weren’t any major surprises or super stand out plot points, but that’s it. One final thing of note, I felt like this film had a lot of similarities to Captain America: The First Avenger and Winter Solider when it came to the war-like setting, certain plot points and the way the character was handled, while that’s not a knock against this film it was very surprising to see how lose some of the similarities were.

The cast was pretty good, everyone whether their roles were big or small performed well. Firstly Gal Gadot impressed me as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, while I thought Gadot was fine in BvS, she really brought her A-game with her performance in this film. Diana was smart, brave, curious, perceptive and fun and it was really interesting seeing her discover the pros and cons of existing in the world beyond her homeland and Gadot’s performance had far more range and depth than anything I’ve seen from her so far and at this point I’m happy with her incarnation of the character. I also really loved Chris Pine as Steve Trevor, he was a charming man who was not only funny but also rational, skeptical and was afraid to break the rules. Pine’s performance was so delightful and engaging and it reminded me of why I love him as an actor as he can strike that basis between being light-hearted and dramatic pretty well. Then there’s Robin Wright who was awesome as General Antiope, of all of the Amazon women she was the best, Antiope was practical, harsh yet fair and was very cool both on and off of the battlefield. Connie Nielsen as Queen Hippolyta was fine, she had some nice moments but overall she wasn’t as compelling as her sister. Danny Huston as General Erich Ludendorff was good, he played his part well but was a little forgettable until the latter side of the film and the same could be said for Elena Anaya as Doctor Isabel Maru/Doctor Poison, she had some notable moments but when she wasn’t around I kind of forgot about her character. Also for those not away of David Thewlis’ role in this film let just say that enjoyed what he brought to this film, it was quite fun and surprising. And finally I have to mention Saïd Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner and Eugene Brave Rock who played Trevor’s allies Samee, Charlie and Chief, each of them brought a level of charm, fun and weight to their characters.

When it comes to the presentation if was very good for the most part. Visually the film was very striking with good cinematography, use of vivid colours, and good visual effects. The action sequences were pretty badass with Wonder Woman and some of the other Amazonian fighters dishing out the pain in some very athletic and brutal ways, and I appreciated the creativity with the fight choreography too. If I had any complaints it would be that some of the CGI and green screen was a little off at times, and the use of slow motion got a little overdone especially during the fight scenes, I understand that slow mo is used for dramatic effect but it didn’t need to be as frequent as it was. The film score from Rupert Gregson-Williams was decent, it certainly had moments to stand out and shine especially in the moments where it used the theme from Batman V Superman, otherwise the music was fine but nothing too memorable.

In conclusion Wonder Woman was really good, while it didn’t set my world on fire, it was a solid film that exceeded my expectations in terms of the story, characters and action sequences. It is easily the best film in the DCEU so far (though not a hard task to pull off) and I would recommend it, well done DC and WB.

So have you seen Wonder Woman and if so what did you think of it? Did it meet your expectations or were you disappointed? Also where does it stand with you in terms of the previous DCEU films? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to leave them in the comments section below and I’ll see you on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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ONE PARAGRAPH REVIEW: Ip Man 3

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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QUICK REVIEW: Alien Covenant

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

The story can be described as the following:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Remembering the awesomeness of Chris Cornell

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

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

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

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

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

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2017 in Life, Music

 

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ONE PARAGRAPH REVIEW: Ip Man 2

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

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

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

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

 

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My Podcast; Film Focus is One Year Old!

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

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

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

Captain America: Civil War

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

The Jason Bourne Trilogy

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

Hopes & Fears For The Sonic Live Action Movie

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

Is It Too Late For A Black Widow Film?

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

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Review

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

Assassin’s Creed Review

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

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

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

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

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2017 in Films, Media

 

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