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Late End of Year Review 2017

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Howdy ladies and gents, so 2017 is over but there’s no way I can go on without doing my annual END OF YEAR REVIEW! I didn’t have much time to prepare because of awkward work hours and the small window of time I had to record two episodes for my podcast, so forgive me if there is a lack of polish to my material. 😛 Man 2017 had been a pretty crazy adventure filled with highs and lows and once again it is weird that everything has come and gone so quickly haha. 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

2017 really was the year I became a gamer again. While in previous years I’ve had my moments here and there, it was mainly thanks to Nintendo and their new games console that I got back into playing games in a big way. As a long-term Nintendo fan, to see the Switch come out and pretty much deliver on its promise of being a portable/home console hybrid was a lot of fun, playing games on there has been addictive as hell and while I miss certain OS features I have on the 3DS and PS4, it is still a good piece of hardware. And the games, bloody hell! At the launch of the Switch we had a handful of games to play, but now we have far too much to play and it is awesome! And just in general, 2017 has been an insane year for gaming just in terms of the releases of quality games and not having the time to play them all. Sure we had some dodgy games here and there and the rise of microtransactions was awful, but overall things worked out for the best in a lot of cases. I wish I had played more PS4 games but what I played on Switch was definitely fun. ARMS was a fun little time, I also got some good nostalgic fun with Ultra Street Fighter 2, that Project Octopath Traveler demo was the best thing ever and I also really liked Blaster Master Zero. But here’s my top 5 games:

  1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  2. Sonic Mania
  3. Super Mario Odyssey
  4. Steamworld Dig 2
  5. Xenoblade Chronicles 2

I think it is no surprise to people who know that Zelda came out on top, that game made me fall in love with gaming all over again. The sense of joy, discovery, mystery, surprise, the vastness of the world, fun combat, breaking of the usual formula, boss battles and shrines, music, visuals and atmosphere, it just worked for me. Also Sonic Mania, damn, what a fun session. I haven’t played a platforming game that much for a while, it was everything I wanted and more, and while having more new stages would have been great. Going through the game and discovering each of the nostalgic stages along with the new ones with the incredible music, visuals and references to older games was hella fun despite some of the tricky parts. Mario Odyssey was SO MUCH FUN. Much like Zelda, there was a sense of discovery and fun that changed things up from previous games, finding moons, checking out the varied kingdoms and experiencing the crazy gameplay thanks to the hat capturing mechanic was great. Steamworld Dig 2 is a great follow-up to one of my favourite 3DS games, it built on the original game’s mechanics, has a better soundtrack and more noteworthy story too. And Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a lot of fun, taking in the wonderful art direction and music, going through the vast world and getting good at combat and levelling up is delightful even if the game can feel a tad overwhelming with some of the game mechanics.

Films

For me 2017 was a good year for films, it was a lot more consistent than last year especially in regards to the summer film season, and while there were certainly some stinkers here and there, I did appreciate how many quality films there were in different genres at different points throughout the year. There were some nice experiences to be found in the cinema, and even some extra films to watch on Netflix, and while I missed a good few films I missed, I tried my best to catch up on a few in December. On top of that, I got around to watching a good few films at home for the first time like Ip Man 2 & 3, Gladiator, Mission: Impossible 1-3, Spaceballs, Airplane and Batman: Mask of the Phantasm to name a few. Like last year I was strategic in avoiding most bad films, though I did, unfortunately, catch a few dodgy ones here and there. 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 2017, films originally released in 2016 that got UK release last year DOESN’T COUNT! And with that out of the way, these are my favourite films of 2017:

Top 10 Films of 2017

  1. Blade Runner 2049
  2. Baby Driver
  3. War For the Planet of the Apes
  4. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  5. The Big Sick
  6. Spider-Man: Homecoming
  7. Logan
  8. The Villainess
  9. Okja
  10. Detroit

Special Mentions

  • Trainspotting 2
  • Split
  • Get Out
  • John Wick Chapter 2
  • Wonder Woman
  • Molly’s Game
  • Gifted
  • Life

Top 5 Worst/Disappointing Films of 2017

  1. Kingsman: The Golden Circle
  2. Alien: Covenant
  3. Power Rangers
  4. Ghost in the Shell
  5. The Dark Tower
  6. The Circle

Television

TV last year has been a lot of fun as I’ve continued to watch a lot of my favourite on-going shows while also discovering new ones along the way. That being said, with the number of films and video games coming out at certain points in the year, it was difficult to keep up with everything. So what I’ll do is briefly mention a few shows here and there that I have enjoyed. Let’s start with those superhero shows. The latter half Agents of SHIELD‘s 4th season with the LMD, virtual world and Ghost Rider storylines came to a close last year in really fun and interesting ways, and by the end of it, I was very curious to see where the show would end. With the 5th season, I’ve only seen the first two episodes but it is certainly an intriguing plot so far. Amazon’s first six episodes of The Tick was surprisingly fun, quirky, weird and awesome and I’m hyped to see more of it next year. With Arrow, it was on an upwards trajectory since season 5 and so far season 6 has been my favourite of the DC CW material because of the references to the past, the higher stakes and an overall sense of drama and un I haven’t felt since season 2. The Flash has been good, not consistently good, but solid during season 4 and the Crisis on Earth-X crossover was the best Arrowverse episode so far. There was also the Netflix side of the Marvel shows where we got one and a half good shows out of three. Iron Fist was one of the most disappointing and boring shows I’ve ever watched, with a story and characters that were annoying and inconsistent. Also, The Defenders had good chemistry between the characters and some cool ideas, but a weak villain and story that got worse after episode 5. But The Punisher, that was my shit. I knew the show would be good, but what we got was something dark, aggressive, super violent and thought-provoking, they did the character justice and I loved the show… Oh and Inhumans, simply put, it was a waste of time, they done messed up with that one.

After waiting for AGES Master of None season 2 came out and it certainly didn’t disappoint, it offered more exciting, insightful and emotional stories with Dev and his adventures in Italy and America. Game of Thrones came back with the first of its last two seasons and season 7 for me was a hell of a lot of fun, it was swift in pace, had a lot of great moments from glorious action sequences to nice reunions to cool reveals and character exchanges. Lucifer for a little while became my favourite show because of humorous and intriguing plots, great character development and chemistry between the cast, and the ongoing fantastical storylines both in seasons 2 & 3. I also binged season 1 & 2 of Into the Badlands and it was really fun seeing how the show’s come with the world, plot, locations and the delicious/well-choreographed action scenes. Samurai Jack season 5 was dark and unsettling, yet fun and full of nostalgia, and to that show return, last year after so many years meant so much to me.  I also enjoyed Big Mouth, the first season of Lost and having fun watching Star Wars Rebels, Rick and Morty and Dragon Ball Super. And finally Bojack Horseman, a show I dismissed for ages because of the weird art and hype, I gave it a watch it changed my world. That show has so many layers and themes that only got darker, more engaging and uncomfortable as I watched each season, and by the end of season 4, I was an emotional mess.

Top 10 TV Shows

  1. Bojack Horseman (season 4)
  2. Punisher (season 1)
  3. Samurai Jack (season 5)
  4. Master of None (season 2)
  5. Game of Thrones (season 7)
  6. Into the Badlands (season 2)
  7. Lucifer (season 2/3)
  8. Arrow (season 6)
  9. The Tick (season 1)
  10. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (season 4)

Music

Music last year has been a little better than 2016. I mean don’t get me wrong, I have heard some absolutely crap stuff via the radio at work or when I went on nights out with my mates. But there has been a surprising amount of catchy music that’s caught my ears. I did get the return of three of my favourite artists; Jamiroquai, AFI and more recently N*E*R*D*, each of them brought a yet familiar sound with their new albums. My favourite had to be Jamiroquai, that Automaton album had my heart and soul for ages, while AFI’s In the Blood album felt like a continuation of Burials, but with echoes of their sound from the mid-2000’s and N*E*R*D*s’ NO ONE EVER REALLY DIES was interesting as it felt like something new, familiar and very Pharrell (in terms of his recent music), I liked it. The other major surprise was Calvin Harris’ Funk Wav Bounces Vol.1, an album that was different yet felt very much like Harris, I liked the funky and varied jams his crafted with a collection of people he worked with on the album, the best stuff he’s done for years. And finally, somehow Zedd and Alessia Cara came out of nowhere with “Stay” one of the most played songs I heard on the radio last year and eventually became one of my unexpected favourite new songs of last year. So bloody catchy! 😛

Favourite Songs

  1. Jamiroquai – Automaton
  2. Calvin Harris – Feels
  3. Zedd, Alessia Cara – Stay

My Experience

2017 was pretty decent overall and while there was certainly hardships to overcome, I also feel like it was one of my better years. I don’t if that’s just due to me adjusting to the crapper aspects of my life or if I’ve made some changes in life that have made the experience easier. Whatever the case is I feel at ease. And I have a lot to look back on and smile, whether it was my volunteering at the Children’s Media Conference for the fourth year in a row, or hooking up with old friends and discussing potential animation projects or returning to both the London Film & Comic-Con and London MCM Expo for some cool convention shenanigans, or the fact that I got to attend the Boardmasters Festival in Cornwall and check several great musicians including my all-time favourites Jamiroquai! But one of the key things that went down that raised last year to another level was going back to Vancouver, Canada with my sister and cousin for 2 weeks. As someone who has been trying to get back there since 2007, I thought it would be a lot longer before I went back, but luckily I went back and got to catch up with some old faces and meeting some new people, refamiliarising myself with Vancouver’s sights and sounds, eating so much food and trying out all that alcohol haha. It was a wonderful adventure that was over far too soon. Other than that I’ve just been at work, facing the highs and lows of that stuff, enjoying the hang time with my workmates on nights out especially that all-day session in Camden, I had a nice 10 year reunion session with my best friends from college and I also doubled down on my commitment to my podcast, illustration work and ideas behind certain animations I want to make. I’ve also made a number of mistakes, some more painful than others, but I think last year is the first time I’m really looking at my issues and trying to rectify them.

There’s also a lot of stuff that happened in the world in regards to the news and media, from royal wedding plans to dangerous hurricanes to sexual harassment cases all over Hollywood and so much more. Talking about any of these things or more would take too long, but what I did want to mention was the loss of certain celebrities last year that affected me personally. Right near the start of the year wast he passing of Bill Paxton, that took a while to settle in. He was one of my favourite actors from childhood, from Twister to Aliens to more recent appearances in End of Tomorrow and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the guy was everywhere. So funny and charismatic and the fact that I met him at a convention a few years ago really hit home. also, Bruce Forsyth, he’s one of those guys you thought would live forever considering how long he’s been on TV and the number of shows he’s hosted, and yet when I heard of his passing it saddened me. Charlie Murphy’s death got me good, I had only really started to get into his work in recent years after watching Chappell Show and Black Jesus, The passing of Roger Moore and Adam West, two actors great associated with massive franchises James Bond and Batman, was again really sad and was just a shock. But the most painful for me was the passing of Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington. Cornell I’ve loved since I found Audioslave in 2008 and his music has been part of me for years, the same can be said for Chester’s incredible work with Linkin Park, without his passionate vocals, my music world wouldn’t be same. Their contributions to music and my life are hard to put into words and even thinking about it now, it hurts. So let’s just show some love for those we lost in 2017.

Conclusion

In conclusion, 2017 was a good year, not perfect, but still a solid experience. I learned a lot, gained some new connections, had some fun experiences that may make for good stories in the future, and I feel like a lot of my experiences this year have prepared me for whatever happens next year. So goodbye 2017 and hello 2018!

Well, thanks for reading. So how was your 2017? Please be sure to comment below and finally, have a happy new year and I hope I’ll see ya in again 2018. Laters! 😀

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Posted by on January 2, 2018 in Films, Life, Media, Music, Reviews, Television, Video Games

 

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PODCAST: Film Focus Episode 46 – Top 10 Films of 2017

Howdy ladies and gents of the internet, happy new year! Hope y’all had a good transition into 2018! So it January, a new year has begun and my first blog post is covering a topic from last year, for shame haha. But I think it was inevitable considering how much stuff I tried to do in the lead up to the end of December. Anywho, as some of you may have seen, in 2016 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. As for the latest episode, it is my top 10 films of 2017.

Anyway here’s the episode 46:

Now I released this episode on New Year’s Eve, but didn’t have the time to post it on the blog because I was busy with work and getting ready for a house party later on that night, so while it may look like I’m late to the party with this post, I technically had it done on time haha. 😛 Anyway as it says in the title, this episode of the podcast was dedicated to my favourite films of last year and man it was a tough list to put together and I am pretty sure that not everyone will like my choices or their placement in the list. But understand, it was a struggle and some of them are still subject to change. Anyway so the first part of the episode I will talk about my honourable mentions, then I do the top 10 films and then mention my most disappointing towards the end. I really hope you enjoy this episode because even though it was hard to record and was more ad-libbed than some of the more recent episodes, I think it turned out well.

As I mentioned before I’ll cover a different topic or review in each episode 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 in future episodes be sure to let me know, until next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2018 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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PODCAST: Film Focus Episode 45 – 2017 Superhero Film Discussion

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. As for the latest episode, it is an in-depth yet casual discussion of the superhero films of 2017!

Anyway here’s the episode 45:

So this year we had 6 major superhero films in a variety of flavours and most were a good time at the cinema, though not all of the films were met with positive reviews. So in this episode, we cover all 6 films in chronological order from Logan to Justice League discussing our thoughts on each film and then ranking them in our own lists towards the end. And yes I said we as I have a wonderful guest joining me for this episode in the form of Eddie from Jaccendo.com to offer his insight on these blockbuster films. Also be aware will be spoilers for Logan, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Wonder Woman, and possibly minor ones Spider-Man but I am not too sure about that one.

As I mentioned before I’ll cover a different topic or review in each episode 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 podcast 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 in future episodes be sure to let me know, until next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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BLITZ REVIEW: The Villainess

Howdy ladies and gents, time for another quick review and today I’m talking about The Villainess. So with 2017 nearly over, I’m trying to check out as many films as I can before I finalize my top 10 list and this was one I wanted to watch since I read the review on IGN back in July. So is this film a good watch or not? Well read on and find out! 😀

The plot can be summed up as the following: “Assassin Sook-hee is recruited as a sleeper agent with the promise of freedom after ten years of service, but soon enough, secrets from her past destroy everything she’s worked for, and now she embarks on a rampage of revenge.”  To be honest, this film had me from the beginning, it hit the ground running and moved with haste, and yet it kept me intrigued to learn more about the main character and how she got into such a crazy situation. From there the story is told in a non-linear manner with events past and present being interwoven throughout, and over time you learn about the main character, her unfortunate backstory, the intelligence agency she comes into contact with and many other things. This story is filled with tragedy, drama, revenge and deceit with new small pieces of information that slowly reveal the larger picture. I was surprised by how much depth there was and some of the twists and reveals got me far more emotional than I expected. And while following the story was a little tough because I can’t read subtitles very fast, I was able to get the general idea of what was happening. The cast was great and I’ll briefly talk my favourites. Kim Ok-bin as Sook-hee/Chae Yeon-soo was incredible, she had great screen presence and carried so many of the physical and emotional scenes very well. Shin Ha-kyun was incredible as Lee Joong-sang, so calm, collected sinister and badass. Sung Joon as Jung Hyun-soo was really charming and captivating and Kim Seo-hyung as Kwon-sook was a wonderfully tough, stern and confident lady who has a magnetic presence whenever on-screen, Jo Eun-ji as Kim Sun was such a horrible bitch and yet she was one of my favourite people and Lee Seung-joo  as Choon-mo. Also, I can’t talk about this film without mentioning the action, it was so kinetic and dynamic with the almost seamless tracking shots for action sequences, cool hand-to-hand combat, great gunfights and chase sequences and violence that was wonderfully gruesome. In conclusion, The Villainess was everything I had hoped for and more, as an action film it hit all the right notes with its choreography and violence, but the story had so much more depth. drama and emotional engagement than I expected which was a great bonus. This is one of my favourites of the year for sure and I recommend it for sure! 😀

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrhHYH9NoJE

So have you seen The Villainess and if so what did you think of it? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll see ya in the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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ONE PARAGRAPH REVIEW: The Circle

Howdy ladies and gents, time for another quick review and today I’m talking about The Circle. Now I was really excited to see this film back in January of this year, however, once the film was released and got average to bad reviews, it left me a tad disappointed so I gave the film a skip. But once it showed up on Netflix not too long afterwards I put it on my watchlist with the intention to see it before 2017 ended. So is this film a good watch or not? Well read on and find out! 😀

The plot can be summed up as the following: “A woman lands a dream job at a powerful tech company called the Circle, only to uncover an agenda that will affect the lives of all of humanity.” Firstly the film’s plot reminds me a lot of an episode of Black Mirror, just without the mystery, subtly, intrigue, depth and unsettling nature. The story was interesting and had some really great elements in the beginning and certain moments throughout, but as the story went on, things just went in strange and bizarre directions, and by the end, it felt weird that that’s how everything wrapped up. It was interesting to learn about The Circle, their innovations and the subtle/not so subtle plan to essentially see everything everyone is doing anywhere in the world. This film felt like what could potentially happen in real life if certain companies and individuals took social media and transparency and amped it up to a ridiculous degree which was certainly engaging and scary at times. That being said some of the dialogue and scenarios that play out didn’t feel very realistic like it was artificial and took place in some heightened version of reality instead of being a plausible future. When the plot ended I felt unsatisfied, like certain plot and characters elements were brought up only to be forgotten or used in a minor way. The cast was solid however some of them weren’t utilised to the best of their abilities. Firstly there’s Emma Watson as Mae Holland, Watson was good, and at first, you’re on board with her character, however, as the film continues she sort of changes into a totally different character capable of making decisions that seem unlike her. We’re given no sense of progression towards this change and even though she discovers a lot of bad stuff and ends up in some bad situations, she preserved making some bad decisions that made her hard to root for. Tom Hanks was good as Eamon Bailey, Hanks has a warmth and captivating presence that makes him likeable even when he’s playing not so nice guys, and even though we’re meant to like this guy, you can tell that something’s off through some of his dialogue and facial expressions. I liked Karen Gillan as Annie Allerton, she was very bubbly and energetic, but also had some dramatic moments too. John Boyega as Ty Lafitte was good but very underutilised, Patton Oswalt as Tom Stenton was good but like Eamon you could see he’s dodgy from the time he was introduced, and Ellar Coltrane as Mercer, Coltrane was fine in the role but the character was so dull and uninteresting that I didn’t care much about him until a key moment later on in the film. And finally, the late Bill Paxton and Glenne Headly played Mae’s parents Vinnie and Bonnie Holland, they were both good in their roles. In conclusion, The Circle was a film with an interesting concept but lacks a compelling story with a weak sense of direction and some questionable plot choices, it wasn’t the worst film I’ve seen this year but it could have been better.

So have you seen The Circle and if so what did you think of it? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll see ya in the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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ONE PARAGRAPH REVIEW: Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

Howdy ladies and gents, time for another quick review and today I’m talking about Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. Now I saw this film as a kid around 7 years old and there was a lot of adult-related stuff that went over my head, it wasn’t until I watched the film as a teenager that I started to understand the more grown-up elements of the film. I’ve always loved Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls as I’ve seen it countless times on VHS, but I’ve only seen the first film once fully so I thought I’d give it a watch today and see how it holds up. 🙂

The plot can be summed up as the following: “When the mascot of the Miami Dolphins gets stolen, pet detective Ace Ventura is tasked with finding and returning it before the football team play in the upcoming Super Bowl.” This is a strange plot mainly because it takes a normal story of kidnapping and turns it into an elaborate adventure full of intriguing twists and turns and bizarre revelations that’s just so weird and random, and yet it is still fun to watch. If you don’t take the film too seriously and get lost in its madness you’ll enjoy its sense of humour and over-the-top antics. Also the number of adult references I missed as a kid was incredible, I won’t mention any spoilers but some of the foreshadowing and eventual reveals in the plot blew my mind rewatching it today. I’m not sure how much this will resonate with younger audiences who weren’t around in the 90’s or people who aren’t into comedies that are a little out of the realm of realism, but for those who stick with it, you get a really fun little adventure full of laughs and surprises. The cast was really good. Firstly you have Jim Carrey as Ace Ventura, and he is great as this very weird, over-the-top and silly guy who is also very caring, smart and resourceful. Someone like him shouldn’t exist, and on occasions, he does get annoying, but Carrey’s so magnetic and charming that you can’t help but like him. Also, this performance along with The Mask and Dumb and Dumber is what made Carrey famous, and why he went on to do a lot of great work in comedic and serious roles, it was stuff like this that made Carrey fun and memorable. Courteney Cox is beautiful and tough as Chief Publicist Melissa Robinson and she has good chemistry with Carrey. Oh and Sean Young as Lt. Lois Einhorn she was really good as the head of the police department who was stern, uptight and mean. Plus I never noticed until this year that it was Young from Blade Runner in this film, I’m so blind haha. I also liked Tone Lōc as Emilio, the funny moments with Dan Marino and a nice appearance from Udo Kier as Ronald Camp too. I also really liked the film score from Ira Newborn as it has a very 80’s inspired sound with some spy/Mission: Impossible elements mixed in which worked really well. In conclusion, In Bruges was is a strange yet really funny film with a memorable central performance from Jim Carrey, and is definitely worth a watch if you want to see the origins of Carrey during the early days of his rise to stardom in the 90’s.

So have you seen In Bruges and if so what did you think of it? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll see ya in the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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PODCAST: Film Focus Episode 44 – Star Wars: The Last Jedi Review (Spoilers!)

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. As for the latest episode, it is an in-depth review/discussion of Star Wars: The Last Jedi!

Anyway here’s the episode 44:

I’ve done already done my written review for The Last Jedi, however, this film more so than a lot of the other films that’s come out this year has a great deal of stuff to talk about. My written review on scratched the surface. So in this podcast episode, returning guest Drew (drewreviewmovies.wordpress.com) and I dive deep into this film, and for those wishing to avoid spoilers, you can still listen to the first 30 or so mins… However After 32:29 we get into full-on spoilers! :O So for those who have seen the film and want to hear our thoughts about some of the more specific aspects of the film in terms of the story, characters, impact on the franchise and the stuff that worked and the stuff that didn’t, then that section is for you.

I once again have to thank the awesome Drew for joining me in the discussion as he really brought a lot of smart and interesting thoughts to the table with stuff I forgot to bring up in my own review, but also opinions I hadn’t considered, so like the summer recap episode, this one was a lot of fun to make and I really think it is worth your time. 😀

As I mentioned before I’ll cover a different topic or review in each episode 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 in future episodes be sure to let me know, until next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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EPIC REVIEW: Star Wars: The Last Jedi (NO SPOILERS)

Howdy ladies and gents, how’s it going? So yesterday night, after month and months of waiting I finally got to see the last of my most anticipated films of 2017; Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The amount of waiting I’ve had to endure in the lead up to this film’s release has been painful, with all the marketing, rumours and speculation about the story and characters, you almost had to jump off the internet to have a clean viewing experience. Luckily I avoided most spoilers and watched all 7 main series films and Rogue One in chronological order over the last 3 days in preparation which was fun. So with all that out of the way how was the film, well read on and find out!

So the story can be described as the following:

“Having taken her first steps into the Jedi world, Rey joins Luke Skywalker on an adventure with Leia, Finn and Poe that unlocks mysteries of the Force and secrets of the past.”

I don’t want to go into too much detail so I shall be brief. This was a really interesting chapter in the SW saga, one that had a lot more depth, intrigue and surprises than I expected, and I love the film for that. Rian Johnson confidently steps into this universe with a sense conviction, darkness, intelligence and style that is clearly his own if you know of his work and it shakes up this world in really compelling ways. This film definitely channels Empire Strikes Back in terms of the tone and certain story aspects, but it is its own beast. There are drama and emotion on a level I’ve not seen in this series for quite some time, but there’s also a sense of levity to balance things out when necessary. This was also the most thought-provoking film of the series to date, it is very psychological and causes you to think about certain things in a different light. I really enjoyed the themes of the past coming back to haunt you, feeling out of place, good and evil, and the moral and ethical shades of grey. There were also a lot of bold decisions made that I did not see coming which gave me joy, heart-pounding tension and plenty to think about. And finally, I loved how this film expanded the mythology of this universe with history and visual and verbal details that makes you look at what you know it in a different light.

As for the cast they were great, everyone in this film does a great job, whether they were main cast, secondary or just had cameos, everyone had a moment to shine. Firstly there’s Mark Hamill who was just wonderful as Luke Skywalker. This time Luke was crumpy, defeated, yet a knowledgeable and witty old man who had to deal with the mistakes of his past and deal with issues of the present via Rey and Hamill was just as captivating as ever, he had so many scene-stealing moments. Daisy Ridley as Rey was really good, I enjoyed seeing her learn about her powers, see her interact with Luke and search for answers about her past. Ridley’s very charming and engaging and has definitely improved in this role since the first film. Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa was great, Leia had a big part to play in this film and I loved it. I enjoyed seeing tough yet humorous demeanour and her perseverance in the face of adversity. Fisher had great moments individually and with others and at times I did feel like shedding a tear. Adam Driver as Kylo Ren was great, I’ve been a fan of this character since the previous film and here we get a character really wanting to prove his worth, but also find a sense of purpose and focus and Driver plays this role with flair and subtlety. John Boyega’s return as Finn was great, he still has a great sense of humour but is also has great dramatic moments, he has a lot of good moments and Boyega’s charisma shines through.

Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron was also impressive, I enjoyed seeing more of him in this film and seeing a different side to his character. Isaac certainly has a commanding presence and stands out whenever possible whether it be for dramatic or humorous purposes. Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke was good, it was nice to learn more about this guy considering the mystery surrounding him in the previous film. Snoke was sinister and intimidating and Serkis was captivating in the role. Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux was interesting, he had some good moments, also Anthony Daniels as C-3PO was just as fun as ever, Gwendoline Christie returned as Captain Phasma and definitely had a presence and Lupita Nyong’o had a great performance as Maz Kanata. Newcomers Laura Dern and Benicio del Toro do well as Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo and DJ, the former had an interesting role to play and I enjoyed her performance a lot, and the latter was certainly not what I expected but he was a memorable character for sure. But the most memorable of the new characters was Kelly Marie Tran as Rose, from the time she’s introduced she’s smart, decisive and loveable and I really enjoyed her story arc and interaction with Finn.

When it comes to the presentation it was fabulous. Visually the film looked lovely. I paid extra attention to the cinematography and it looked like everything was painstakingly crafted with certain tracking shots, zooms, use of lighting and framing, everything felt like it had a purpose and was done to the highest degree possible. The space battles felt like a mix of The Force Awakens and Rogue One with its own interesting elements mixed in, certain chases sequences looked lovely and the lightsaber moments were wonderfully choreographed in a classic yet unexpected manner. The CGI was very detailed, clean and realistic, while the practical effects continue to impress me with how much these characters, creatures and robots can be make-up, animatronics and puppetry. Also, the film score from John Williams was awesome. The Force Awakens had good music, but wasn’t overly memorable, whereas this film had a score with a much stronger presence which enhanced every scene it was used in. The themes he introduced from the last film stand out even more and some of the new music he creates is wonderfully varied yet consistent with what’s come before.

In the end, The Last Jedi, was a good film, a really good film. It surprised me in many ways, it also met and exceeded my expectations in certain areas and while not everything in the story and the use of certain characters didn’t go the way I would have liked, the film was still thoroughly engaging and entertaining. After looking at some responses to the film online I know this film won’t be for everyone but I say give it a try.

So have you seen The Last Jedi and if so what did you think of it? Let me know in comments section below and I’ll see ya in the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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QUICK THOUGHTS: Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse

Howdy ladies and gents, what’s up? So I just got home from a fun little hang session with my friends and saw that a teaser for the new Sony animated Spider-Man film entitled, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse had dropped online, so you know I ain’t to watch it and give you my brief thoughts on it

Check out the trailer below:

So my initial impressions were this, “Wow, that’s much better than I was expecting.” Now I know that sounds mean but this project had me a little concerned from an animation point of view, Sony Animation’s movies have been good, but they’re not known for the same quality that comes from Pixar, Disney and Dreamworks on the odd occasion, and with an all CGI Spider-Man film I was concerned with the art style and quality of the animation… But then I saw this trailer and damn, these guys aren’t messing around. The art direction feels a mixture between something realistic, comic book illustrated and a video game, there’s a great level of detail in a lot of things like the buildings and cars, the colours are very striking and vivid and the animation flows well with a sense of speed and grace. And while the animation moves in a choppy many like there are some missing frames in the movement, I’m assuming its a stylistic choice and I’m fine with it as long as the animation is fast and fluid during the action scenes, which so far looks great. And let me quickly just talk about the cinematography, since 2002’s Spider-Man, filmmakers have been finding new and interesting ways to show off Spider-Man’s movements through the city, and this film continues to show different angles and shots we’ve not seen in any Spidey adaptation so far and it is gorgeous! Beyond the visuals, it looks like the plot will follow Mile Morales’ story of him picking up the role as Spidey after the death of Peter Parker if that gravestone is anything to go by, and later on he’ll learn about the multiple Spider heroes in different universes? At least that’s what I assume, and I’m cool with that, I really like Miles Morales and want to see his story on the big screen and see what sort of stuff he has to deal with both as himself and Spidey, and see what’s happening in regards to this Spider-Verse.

But what about what happens in the trailer? Well there’s so much to mention so here are my highlights:

  • That first shot of the cityscape looks lovely, it looks realistic yet illustrated. I also like how the colour and brightness is lighter at the top and gets darker towards the bottom.
  • The shot of Miles in front of the moving train looks great.
  • Clearly, that’s Miles in front of Peter Parker’s grave so the filmmakers are definitely borrowing certain stories from the comics which I like.
  • Seeing Miles in his suit leap off that building and fall towards the buildings upside down in that wide shot, it is incredible!
  • Seeing Spidey chance after that guy on the motorcycle while dodging traffic, looks great. I love the fluidity of Spidey’s movement and vivid colours.
  • I like the look of Miles’ face under the mask and seeing him ask Peter about how many of “them” there are in the subway was an interesting moment to leave on. I’m looking forward to the other Spidey peeps who show up.

In conclusion, this teaser ended up being way more interesting than I expected, the visual style is very distinctive and the cinematography looks delicious. I can only hope that the story, characters and use of multiple Spider-People will be good, and those casual audiences will grow to appreciate Miles Morales the fans do.

So have you seen the trailer for Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse 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 in the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2017 in Films, Media, Reviews

 

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What I’m Currently Watching #39

Howdy ladies and gents, and welcome to What I’m Currently Watching where I give you a tiny update on what TV-based stuff I’m watching and give mini reviews/impressions on them. It is week 39, and I’m gonna keep it brief since I don’t have much time this week so I have seen a lot of TV over the last few months that haven’t reviewed from The Punisher to Bojack Horseman season 4, so today I’ll be giving you my thoughts on Lucifer and Crisis on Earth X. Be careful of spoilers! With that out of the way let’s talk about some TV! 😀

Lucifer (Season 3) “The Sinnerman”

This week’s episode of Lucifer was great, it explored a lot of great stuff when it comes to the relationship of many of the main characters, but also with this Sinnerman character that was spoken of towards the start of the season. Firstly I like how the Sinnerman’s affected both Lucifer and Pierce, with the victims of this week’s episode tied to Lucifer and the favours he did for said people and Pierce because of the death of his brother. It made the episode feel personal and had a sense of urgency. As fun as it is to see Lucifer running around being the fun, witty and charismatic man who I like, it is more interesting when he’s put in a situation he doesn’t have a way out and in this episode he’s not only trapped by the Sinnerman, but then towards the end of the episode he tried to interrogate him with his powers but can’t because Sinnerman’s gone and cut his eyes out! Like fucking hell, what a crazy yet smart thing to do. This Sinnerman ain’t no joke. Also, let’s talk about Decker and Pierce, I know this show’s really trying to push for this new relationship but it doesn’t feel natural, their relationship feels very hot and cold, sometimes you can see some normal hints toward something, other times it feels like it’s coming out of nowhere. I like that these two have opened up about the family loss that they’ve suffered and had a sense of teamwork developing. And speaking of couples,  Linda and Amenadiel have finally hooked up, I mean they’ve been getting too cosy recently for things not to end up this way. Too bad Maze is back and she doesn’t like that relationship because of her friendship and previous relationship with these two, I liked how Lucifer forced her to confront her feelings about them and how she ultimately told Linda to stop seeing Amenadiel… The only problem is that Linda looked pretty worried, I mean she took a little too long her office door and while we don’t see anyone else in that room I don’t think she was alone. I sense complicated times ahead for Maze, Linda and Amenadiel. And finally there’s Charlotte, I’ve liked where her character’s gone, from being possessed by Lucifer’s mother to a woman trying to right the wrongs of her past by assisting the police. I appreciate how she’s finding the transition hard and that she’s not quite good at doing the right thing, but she’s got her heart in the right place and seeing her and Dan have that heart-to-heart in the men’s room was sweet, if a little strange and awkward haha.

Crisis on Earth-X

This Now I’ve not been keeping up with all of the CW superhero shows, I dropped off of Legends of Tomorrow a while ago and I got aways into season 2 of Supergirl I forgot to keep watching haha. The Flash and Arrow I’ve kept up with and I’m enjoying them so far, especially Arrow that’s really good at the moment. So when I heard about this Crisis on Earth-X I was always going to watch it, I just wasn’t super compelled to see it. But after I heard a lot of hype around to first two episodes I decided to watch it and damn it was a lot of fun. The people behind these shows understand what their fans want but also throws some curveballs too. I also appreciated how the show quickly caught you up on what’s happening in the world of each TV show, so in case you weren’t up to date or just weren’t watching any of them, you never felt lost as the story was its own adventure, though if you were up to date it did give you a greater level of appreciation for the characters. What I really liked about this four-part event was the story and characters. I liked the idea of a secret Earth where Nazis won the war and you had these dangerous versions of the heroes plotting to rule over Earth in different realities. There was a lot of drama and surprises especially in regards to the death of Martin Stein, he was one of my favourite characters on Legends and to see him get shot, have that heart to heart with Jefferson before he died, I got way more emotional than I expected and Steins’s funeral, that was frigging beautiful. On top of that it was fun to see all of the different characters interacting and there’s too many to highlight, let me just say that seeing Wentworth Miller again as Captain Cold was delightful, the evil versions of Oliver and Kara were really cool, seeing Reverse Flash was fun and the action scenes were pretty well done.

Well, that’s what I’ve been watching. So have you seen or plan to watch any of this show? If you have any thoughts be sure to drop a comment below and let me know what TV shows you’re currently watching too. Until next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2017 in Reviews, TV Reviews

 

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