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REVIEW: Whitney

Howdy ladies and gents and welcome to my first written film review for a while and today I’m going to talk about the new documentary released about Whitney Houston entitled Whitney. Now I only heard about this film around a week ago and I just happened to be in a city where the film was being shown, and while I’ve never been the biggest Whitney Houston fan, I’ve liked a lot of her music and wanted to see what light this film could shed on her that I wasn’t aware of, and I believe this film did a good job.

Most people are probably aware of who Whitney Houston is and know of her music unless you’re super young, but for those not aware, the life of Whitney Houston is one of triumph and tragedy, she started out so well, ascended into the stratosphere and then unfortunately fell and never quite recovered. and after all of her success, there was a lot of media coverage about Houston’s life mostly all in a negative light with many accusations, rumours and big reveals, but as we all know there’s a lot more to the lives of celebrities beyond what the media presents. I recall how much she was brought up in the news from the good stuff in the 90’s the all the bad stuff in the 00’s because of the drugs or marital issues with Bobby Brown. And while this film wasn’t as comprehensive as it could have been, it was emotionally charged, haunting and informative.

I feel like the film did a good job of introducing itself in a positive manner highlighting the best/fun part of Houston’s life but then changed things up immediately with some darker/negative elements, and that felt like it set the tone for the rest of the film as there were plenty of moments where the film changes its tone at several points throughout. The film confidently goes through a lot of her life from childhood to her first tv appearance to her initial explosion onto the music scene to marriage to problems with drugs and her downward spiral towards death. It is fairly comprehensive with great use of audio and video archive footage which shows every side of her whether she’s playful, funny, shy, sassy, aggressive, sad, exhausted and so on. I loved seeing her in her youth being so cute and crazy but also seeing how human she was dealing with some of these insane situations with varying degrees of success. The editing and use of sound are excellent, making you feel immense joy at one point, but then feeling scared or depressed in another. There’s also plenty of interviews from everyone close to her from her mother to her brothers to her ex-husband to family friends to music management, and so on. And they all give very detailed information about Houston’s experiences, the good and the bad and how some of them contributed to the long-term issues that became major hurdles for her later on. And the film isn’t afraid to go to those really dark places and ask questions that were dark or uncomfortable, there was a lot of rumour and speculation in the media about what Houston got up to, and while not every question is answered, there was a fair amount of clarification and certain revelations about Houston that was quite shocking and highlight that her life was anything but simple and that there were many factors that made things turn out the way they did. One moment, in particular, was a pretty major eye-opener that left me in stunned for a little while too.

And of course, the watching this film frigging hurts especially if you’re a fan of Houston, to you see this beautiful lady with such talent rise and then fall so hard that it’s hard to watch at times. I wasn’t alive or old enough to experience the Houston in her prime, but this film really highlights how much of big deal she was, how she changed things and made an impact with America and the world, black people, female singers and so on. When the film ended I really just felt like crying. This documentary did a great job of revealing Houston’s life, showing off outside influence and showing off what she meant to people, how big of a star that she was and highlighting her raw talent.

In conclusion, Whitney is pretty solid documentary that is emotionally engaging and very insightful, and if you are even remotely interested in this documentary I would recommend it, Kevin MacDonald did a fine job at asking the right questions and presenting the life of one of the world’s most interesting, brilliant and tragic celebrities. If you’ve seen the film I’d love to hear your thoughts about it in the comments section below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters. 😀

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Posted by on July 7, 2018 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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E3 2018 Recap & Personal Hightlights

Howdy ladies and gents, how’s it going? It is currently June and we’ve just experienced what can be described as the Christmas-like period for al gamers known as E3. And even though I haven’t been feeling up to doing much blogging these days, there was no way I wasn’t going to comment on the recent happenings in video game news and reveals. So what I’ll do is discuss the conferences I saw and enjoyed and talk about the pros and cons, and then highlight my favourite games below. Okay with all that out

Press Conferences (Microsoft, Sony, Ubisoft & Nintendo)

With the press conferences I watched what was relevant to me, so naturally, I skipped EA because why not? I don’t play Bethesda games so I skipped that one (not that I hate them, I just don’t play their games). I’m not a PC guy so I skipped that show and since I knew most of Square Enix’s material would show up in other places I skipped that one too.

Firstly you have Microsoft, the press conference that I didn’t have much hope for, I mean I had a feeling Microsoft would show us something, but I feel like they went far and beyond with the conference just dishing out game after game after game with additional information about Game Pass, new developers they’d acquired and stuff like that. And while not all of the reveals were exclusive, the fact that they even got shown at all was really fun and compelling for the games I wanted to see. I really feel like Microsoft took what Sony did before and just blasted us with games and I loved it. And sure not all of them had immediate release dates, but to know they existed made me happy. Starting off the conference with a look at a new Halo game, Halo Infinite was pretty cool, and from there we were bombarded with game announcements with some of my favourites being the super cool-looking Sekio: Shadows Die Twice, Devil May Cry 5, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the Cuphead DLC, Jump Force and the gorgeous-looking Ori and the Will of the Wisps. Also seeing stuff like a new Battletoads or another Kingdom Hearts 3 trailer was cool, and Forza Horizon 4 looks absolutely amazing

Ubisoft was also really good, well, for the stuff I liked anyway. The way they started with the Just Dance sequence was strangely interesting at first but then went on for too long and after a while, I was wondering when they were gonna end it. The stuff I liked started with the Mario and Rabbids Donkey Kong DLC which looked really fun and I’m definitely considering picking it up later in the year, seeing Trials Rising was really cool as I really liked playing Trials Fusion a few years ago at uni and Beyond Good and Evil 2 used another cinematic trailer, but it was far more story-driven and cinematic and made me way more interested in the game than I was last year. Starlink: Battle for Atlas was another game I saw last year and liked the look of and the inclusion of Star Fox has only made my interest increase, but the real surprise was Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, I honestly wasn’t expecting the game to be all that intriguing, but I was quite taken back by the visuals, gameplay and story elements. I haven’t played an Assassin’s Creed game yet but I really am curious to see how this one turns out later on in the year.

As for Sony I’m not gonna lie, they disappointed me this year. I understand what they were trying to do with their stylised presentation and wanting to focus on specific major games. But the way it was presented was pretty bad, it just felt clunky, slow and took a little while to get going. That being said, when it did focus on the games we were treated to some good stuff. Last of Us 2 looked very compelling and brutal and Death Stranding still has me with more questions than answers but I enjoyed what I saw. But the two games that really stood out to me was Ghosts of Tsushima and Spider-Man. With Tsushima, we had the cinematic trailer last year but no gameplay, but this year we saw the game in action and it looked gorgeous with such striking camera angles, lighting, beautiful art and interesting story and gameplay elements. I love samurai stuff so to have a big budget game tackle this kind of subject matter has me hooked. And then there’s Spider-Man which has only gotten better each time its been shown and even though the game’s out in September, I still found myself gushing about the new story and gameplay elements. But the real surprise was Resident Evil 2, after hearing about the remake for so long, to see it finally revealed was great.

I thought Nintendo did well, but I have seen online that the reception on the Direct was very mixed, some loved it, while many were disappointed. So let me just say this, I think some people expected a lot and were disappointed by the lack of appearances from certain games like Yoshi and Metroid Prime 4, which were both teased last year but have had no additional details. Animal Crossing fans didn’t get their new game and none of the rumours surrounding the Star Fox racing game, F-Zero and some other stuff didn’t come to light… So yeah if you’re not overly hyped for Smash and some of the other game reveals then I can understand the disappointment. That being said, I LOVE Smash Bros., and while I didn’t expect it to be covered for so long, it’s pretty much the big release of 2018 so I was delighted to see so much of it. The rest of the Direct had some cool stuff especially with Daemon x Machina, Super Mario Party, Fire Emblem: Three Houses and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 DLC, and third-party games in that montage. And while the leaks definitely took away a lot of the surprise, I was still happy to see Dragon Ball FighterZ and Overcooked 2 shown. The Treehouse segment really did well to highlight Pokemon Let’s Go in action and good gravy the nostalgia started to hit me hard when I saw Viridian Forest and Pewter City, the visual enhancements are insane from visual aesthetic to all the minor and major detail in the animation and art direction, but it was really the music that grabbed me, good gravy I need to get this game so I can listen to the music.

My Game Highlights

Now I’m just going to list all of the games that stood out to me or that I am super looking forward to from now until next, and this was a tough list to construct in some ways but I think I have a solid list here.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

This was easily the first game to jump out at me and grab my interest. I LOVE action adventure games and samurai stuff, and the fact that it is coming from the developers of Dark Souls makes me happy and nervous. I’m excited for the gameplay that looks fast, intense, methodical and satisfying with movement and combat, but because it is coming from FromSoftware, their games are hard as hell and I dunno if I want to jump into that kind of game just to have my ass handed to me on multiple occasions. We’ll see. but the game does look hella cool.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

I think I recall seeing this game last year and I thought it looked good, but I don’t recall it looking this great. Ori and the Blind Forest is a game I’ve been wanting to play for a few years now, but this game just looks like it’s on another level with its sense of scope, colour scheme, lighting and overall beautiful and atmospheric visuals. I know graphics aren’t everything but those graphics really are stunning and it just looks even better in movement in gameplay with the combat and platforming. I’ll be keeping my eye on this one for sure.

Jump Force

Just a few weeks ago I was talking to my friend about Jump Super Stars and Jump Ultimate Stars on the DS and how I had hoped that they’d make another game, and while this isn’t a 2D Smash Bros-like fighter like the games I just mentioned, it is a crossover fighting game featuring the noteworthy characters from Shonen Jump in an arena-based fighting game and I’m down with the idea. When I saw the trailer and saw Naruto and then the appearance of my boys Luffy, Goku and Frieza I got very giddy. Now so far from what I’ve seen this game has potential with the super over-the-top attacks, scene transitions and fast combat speed, but the movement also looks very choppy and animations needing a lot of refinement. I know this is an E3 build of the game so they have plenty of time to polish things up, I just want something fun to play with some of my favourite anime characters.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

I’ve only become a fan of the new Tomb Raider games last summer after playing the first game last summer, I still haven’t played Rise yet, but I will. Either way, I really liked what I saw of this new game especially when it comes to the story. To see Lara is such different mindset, so hasty, self-centred and causing chaos in pursuit of her own interests is very intriguing to me. Beyond that, I am curious to explore this new world that is apparently much bigger than the previous games and I really want to try out all those new combat mechanics. I was pretty stealthy when it came to playing the 2013 reboot, but there are so many more options for distraction, camouflage and stealth kills which are so much more brutal than before. I’m very excited about this one.

Kingdom Hearts 3

What can I say about Kingdom Hearts 3 that hasn’t been said already? I want it, I need it, sure it sucks that we have to wait until January 2019 to play it, but with the amount of the game that we’ve seen I think its close completion so we can actually play the bloody thing after all the years of waiting. I didn’t expect there to be multiple trailers released, I watched them all and the game still looks fantastic and crazy with the Keyblade transformations and summon abilities, but it was the new worlds revealed that really caught my eye. With Frozen it was an inevitability that it’d make its way into KH considering how big that film is not only for Disney but just in general. I think the world and characters look great, but I was actually more interested in the return to the Pirates of the Caribbean world with Jack Sparrow and all of those characters look so much prettier and the world having such a great sense of scope.

Resident Evil 2 Remake

I had heard a lot of talk about this remake for a while and I wondered when we’d get around to seeing it, I just didn’t expect that it would drop during Sony’s press conference. The game looks SO good, I don’t even play Resident Evil games, but I’ve appreciated them from afar and have waited for this particular remake for a while and man it is delivering with its modern gameplay aspects, but still keeping the spirit of the original and horror elements intact.

Ghosts of Tsushima

If it wasn’t for two more games below this would be my game of E3. Last year when this game was teased I knew it’d be something to look out for, but I did not expect something on this level of polish and detail. The game looks absolutely stunning with the lighting, camera work and fluid animation and the combat is just how I’d imagine a samurai fight going down with fights that have precision, weight and timing, what they showed in that E3 demo was so beautiful. This is the samurai game I’ve always wanted, and at the same time, it is the one I didn’t know I wanted as well. I watched a panel with some of the developers on the game and it was so insightful and you could see that these people really care about the source material they are drawing from and want to make a deeply captivating and immersive experience that pays homage to Japan and the samurai films it draws from.

Spider-Man

Oh Spider-Man, what can be said that hasn’t been said already? It looks great, the web-slinging looks amazing, the combat looks varied and creative with what you can do upfront or in a stealthy manner. I am seriously digging the E3 trailer that showed off The Raft prison and several of Spidey’s key villains including Shocker, Rhino, Scorpion, Vulture and this mystery guy we couldn’t see off-screen. I am just in love with the game with everything I see and hear about the game, I just need it to be September so I can grab this game already haha.

Fire Emblem: Three Kingdoms

I remember when this game was announced last year and I was really hyped to see what a home console Fire Emblem game would look like after playing Awakening and Fates on 3DS and Three Kingdoms looks really good. It is essentially taking the core mechanics from the 3DS games and upgrading them not only in the visuals but with some cool extra game mechanics. The visuals look lovely and I like the new sense of scope and verticality with the environments that obviously couldn’t be done on 3DS but can be done in HD. I also love how the transition from the grid to watching your attack animations also has multiple soldiers on the battlefield with you enhancing the feeling of your fights feeling like a major battle. And I’m really liking the new squad formation attacks and special moves that you can perform now, oh Spring 2019 can’t come fast enough haha.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Holy crap, like dear god, what even happened when this part of the Direct dropped? I had so many hopes and fears for Smash 5 in terms of the roster, whether it’d be a new game or an enhanced port and what kind of stuff would be shown. And Sakurai and Nintendo just blew my frigging mind. Seeing the game’s new shiny visuals were great, and all the new stages, music, assist trophies, Pokemon, and tweaks to the game mechanics were great. But it was that roster that really got me. When they said everyone was available, I bloody lost it. 😛 I got so giddy to see Snake and Wolf come back, but then there was also Young Link, Ice Climbers, Ryu and Mega Man and more, and they all looked great. And to top it all off they frigging added my girl Daisy and then bloody RIDLEY at the end!!! Good god, it was like every wild dream come to life, fan service overload!!!!! It feels so surreal that it’s real, but all I can say is that December can’t get here quick enough! I NEED SMASH!

Conclusion

All in all, I’d say I had a good E3 viewing experience. The games I wanted to see exceeded my expectations, for the most part, I got what I wanted and while there wasn’t much in the way of surprises, what did catch me off guard was very pleasant. I’d say the future of gaming looks bright for us gamers for the next several months and good gravy by the end of the year my wallet will be destroyed because of all the game I need to buy haha.

But anyway how about you? What did you think of E3 2018? Was it good, bad or indifferent for you? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comment section below and I’ll see ya on the next blog post, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2018 in Media, Video Games

 

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QUICK THOUGHTS: Venom Trailer

Howdy ladies and gents, how’s it going? So yeah I know it has been a while since I posted anything on this blog and the lack of content will be addressed in a future post soon, but for the time being, let’s move onto the to the topic of hand; that new Venom trailer. Now I have been very sceptical and uninterested in this film since it was announced, and it was only Tom Hardy that kept my attention, and it also didn’t help that the first teaser trailer was a whole load of nothing. I know a teaser trailer is meant to give you a small piece of the film, but what was teased back then was dull as hell. Fast forward to now with a proper trailer that looks a heck of a lot more promising, and today I’ll just share my brief thoughts on it.

Check out the trailer below:

So my initial impressions were this, “Oh well this looks a heck of a lot better than I expected, I’m curious now.” Let’s just get the main talking point out of the way first; Venom, we get to see him in all his creepy/beautiful glory and he looks accurate to the comics and that is all I could have asked for. The face and transformation look solid and the voice sounds good too. Now I’m curious how long it’ll take before we see Venom and how much of him we’ll see throughout because I’m sure a lot of people will be disappointed if his screen time is relegated to the final act of the film or something. In addition to that, I like the direction of the story with Eddie being some kind of secret reporter who gets into an unexpected and dangerous situation and then has the symbiote starts to take over him, that’s cool. I’m not gonna lie though some of the story beats I saw in this trailer felt familiar and not in a good way but hey I guess we’ll wait and see. Also, so far this film films like an isolated solo adventure, there are no references to Spider-Man, New York (as far as I can remember) or the MCU (which I didn’t expect there to be because that was made apparent before the film went into production), so I am curious to see how a story with Eddie Brock/Venom adventure will operate without Peter Parker/Spider-Man being around to be the catalyst. Will it be a unique, captivating and interesting story about a guy thrown into a villain situation or will it be generic with questionable story elements? Whatever the case is I’ll be watching regardless because this trailer genuinely has my interest now.

So have you seen the trailer for Venom and if so what did you think of it? Did it meet or exceed your expectations or were you 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 April 24, 2018 in Films, Media, Reviews

 

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So it’s Birthday Time Again, Yay!

Howdy people of the internet, how are you? So as you can see from the title of this blog post today is my birthday, I am one year older and as is tradition I feel the need to blog about it haha. 😀

You know what? I’ve been writing these posts for a good few years and I never have a clue how to write these things out, there’s no proper format, I just wing it and hope for the best haha. And so far today has been nice and relaxed. I have received 3 birthday cards all of which have been great especially the one from my bestie from Sheffield 😛 And I have spent most of my day in the cinema so far firstly rewatching Black Panther for the 4th time and finally checking out Isle of Dogs; with the former I still really like the film a lot, for my full thoughts I recommend reading my review, but in short I love the characters, themes, the film score, some of the cool combat scenes and traditions and visual style. As for Isle of Dogs, I have a fair amount to say about the film which I will dish out in an upcoming review, but what I will say it was very unique and different from I expected, but the visual material was incredible and the voice cast was really good. So with my films so far I’ve enjoyed myself.

Right now I’m pretty much chilling listening to some nostalgic sounds of Earth, Wind & Fire and plotting my movements for tonight when I head out for some night time shenanigans with my friends haha. I also have some fun stuff planned for tomorrow and potentially on Sunday too so hopefully this feeling of happiness and good times carry on through til the end of the weekend. 😀

Other than that I’m thinking I really gotta sort my life out, I’m pretty close to 30 and I only have a handful of achievements to my name, and I know there’s no set way to live life, but I do feel like I need to be doing better and I have gotten a few things worked out with my podcast and illustration material in full swing at the moment. So hopefully 2018 will be a year for change and progression, but I guess we’ll see and take things as they come. Anyways I’m gonna go finish some illustration stuff and look forward to my review for Isle of Dogs which will be coming soon, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2018 in Life

 

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QUICK REVIEW: Fantastic Mr. Fox

Howdy ladies and gents, time for a new film review and today I get to talk about a film I’ve wanted to review on here since I think 2013, and that is Fantastic Mr. Fox! So yeah I know this film is not new, it is from 2009 and I saw it in the cinema and I really liked it at the time and said to myself that I’d rewatch it again at some point. And yet even after buying the DVD around 5 or 6 years ago while at university I never got around to it just because of timing and being in the right mood. That being said, since 2014 I’ve really gotten into Wes Anderson’s films and with Isle of Dogs coming out tomorrow here in the UK I thought I’d rewatch my first Wes Anderson film and see if it still holds up.

The story for the film can be summed up as the following:

“The film is about a fox who steals food each night from three mean and wealthy farmers. They are fed up with Mr. Fox’s theft and try to kill him, so they dig their way into the foxes’ home, but the animals are able to outwit the farmers and live underground.”

I like the story because it has a lot of layers, there is the main narrative that goes on throughout the film, but there are also a number subplots introduced that eventually come to a head as the film progresses and what I like is that all of these plot elements are character-driven, have significance and the payoff feeds back into the main plot. And for a film about animals dealing with dangerous humans, it introduces some interesting themes dealing with breaking habits, doing what you’re good at, living up to expectations, being different and a number of other elements that are easy to relate to. And it is presented in a story that has a strange, quirky and fast-paced nature to it, and it very funny on numerous occasions and comes at just the right point with incredible timing, however, it also has brilliant moments of seriousness, darker moments and slows down just enough to have these special moments between the main characters.

As for the characters they are all very fun, interesting and feel like well-rounded individuals even if they’re secondary characters. George Clooney is fabulous as Mr. Fox, Clooney brings his natural charm to this character who is charismatic, daring yet selfish and not fully aware of his actions. Meryl Streep as Felicity Fox is a strong, smart and caring woman, but is also very stern and doesn’t take any shit from anyone. Jason Schwartzman stands out as Ash Fox, I guessed Schwartzman in this role just because Ash reminded me of Max from Rushmore in the sense that Ash is another young man with personal issues that lead to awkward relationships with others, but here Ash is a lot younger and immature and his journey through the film is quite engaging despite his rude and insensitive nature. Bill Murray was delightful as Clive Badger and had some great moments with Mr. Fox, Willem Dafoe’s role as Rat was unexpected, funny and strange and Wallace Wolodarsky as Kylie was one of the most memorable characters due to his subdued yet hilarious nature. And finally, Michael Gambon as Franklin Bean made for a strong and memorable protagonist, Gambon has such a presence with his voice and puts it to good use in humourous and intimidating scenarios.

From a presentation point of view, the film’s incredible. Visually the film’s use of stop motion animation is fluid, stylish and unique. While stop motion has a certain type of movement due to the way it is created, this film goes a step further by presenting movement in a number of ways that looks like frames are missing, but the movement is dynamic, exaggerated and elastic giving them a great sense of charisma and realism at the same time. The choice of camera angles and the general cinematography looks like a mixture of a stage play, a normal film and old film techniques used during driving sequences. I also want to talk about the character models and set design, the models have such an intricate level of detail for the fur and clothing and the sets vary from being large or very small, but they are all well-crafted with a lot of attention to detail from the foreground to background material looking realistic but also stylised. It is elaborate, grand in scale and has such incredible scene transitions. The film score by Alexandre Desplat is wonderful and works very well in each scene it’s used in and the soundtrack is filled with a great variety of songs that really enhance the scenes they’re used in the way that only Anderson can pull off.

In conclusion, Fantastic Mr. Fox is still a wonderful film and perhaps foolishly I was surprised how well it held up after so many years. I may be biased as I really LOVE Wes Anderson’s approach to filmmaking, but even if I was to take that element out of the equation, the film is not a conventional animated kids film, but that’s why I love it. The film, it is fun, exciting, engaging, quirky and hilarious, and yet it also has an engaging story, with fully formed characters that you can understand and relate to. If you haven’t seen this film I highly recommend it especially if you like Wes Anderson films.

So have you seen Fantastic Mr. Fox and if so what did you think of it? Drop me your thoughts in the comment section below and I’ll see you in the next review, so until the next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2018 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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Marvel’s Jessica Jones Season 2 Review

Howdy people of the internet, time for my first TV review in ages and today I get to talk about the second season of Marvel’s Jessica Jones. I’m not gonna lie, my interest in this season hasn’t been nearly as high as the Netflix Marvel shows that came out beforehand even though I really enjoyed season 1, but after watching the first new trailer and rewatching season 1, I got really hyped to revisit these characters and see how they develop. 😛 So after seeing the second season, I’m ready to pass judgement in this spoiler-free review.

“New York City private investigator Jessica Jones is beginning to put her life back together after murdering her tormentor, Kilgrave. Now known throughout the city as a super-powered killer, a new case makes her reluctantly confront who she really is while digging deeper into her past to explore the reasons why.”

The second season of Jessica Jones presents a lot of new an interesting scenarios for Jessica in dealing with. Seeing Jessica trying to live in a world after the events of the last season was interesting because of the way it affected her, the people around her and the people of New York City. Like Daredevil season 2, this season of JJ also features flashbacks that help flesh out Jessica’s backstory and it features some of the strongest material of the season with the character development of Jessica and Trish and the emotional history they’ve had individually and together. Unfortunately, the show doesn’t have a central focus until I think around episode 3 or 4 there are a good few things happening here and there, but nothing to tie it all together. And once the story and characters finally start to come into focus, my level of engagement and interest fluctuated a lot. There were plenty of points where I loved what I was watching, where the drama and emotion were on-point and I was captivated in Jessica and some of the other main characters’ stories… However, there are several points where certain storylines felt unnecessary or random and took away screen time from more important ones, also I feel like a great deal of the conflicts, danger and general issues felt fabricated rather than progressing in a natural manner. And this leads to scenarios that were a little silly, unrealistic or frustrating, and sometimes because of the way there are picked up and dropped from time to time. By the end of the season, I felt like a lot had happened, but I was in two minds about how I liked it, I feel like the ideas were there, but the execution could have been better.

Favourite episodes:

  • AKA Start at the Beginning
  • AKA Freak Accident
  • AKA Sole Survivor
  • AKA God Help the Hobo
  • AKA I Want Your Cray Cray (personal favourite)
  • AKA Three Lives and Counting

The cast was really good with the returning cast being pretty good and some of the newcomers settling in with the old ones pretty well, however, it is the way that some of these characters were handled which lead to a mixed bag of people you may like or dislike. Firstly Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones was great, she carried the show with her tough, sassy and witty persona, she has a lot of stuff to deal with and at times I just wanted to shake her and tell her to get her shit together, but even when she annoyed me, she ends still works as a damaged character who had to confront the issues of her past and present. Rachael Taylor as Trish Walker was good, Trish was one of my favourite characters from last season despite her bad decision-making and in this season we learn more about her his backstory, insecurities and weaknesses and interesting relationships with Jessica, her mother and some other people. At certain points I really liked her, but then she made some absolutely terrible choices which made her insufferable. Eka Darville was really good as Malcolm, his character had a good sense of progression from season 1 and I liked how active he was in the plot helping Jessica and doing things for himself, and while he ends up doing certain things I didn’t like, he was still really engaging. And of the returning cast I ended up really liking Carrie-Anne Moss as Jeri Hogarth more than I expected, in the last season she was very cold, calculated and self-serving and that was still the case for this season, however, they took her character in an interesting direction that made me feel for her in ways I didn’t think possible and maybe that was purely due to Moss as an actress, but I found Hogarth’s story to be quite compelling.

I’m only going to talk about a few of the new cast members. Firstly J.R. Ramirez as Oscar Arocho was fine, as soon as I saw him I knew exactly what his purpose would be and sure enough things played out as I expected, that being said he did have a lot more going on in his personal life that made me like him more. Terry Chen as Pryce Cheng was someone who had my interest at first but then became irrelevant and annoying as the season progressed, and the same sort of applied to Leah Gibson as Inez Green, she had an interesting part to play and while she wasn’t all that likeable, she had a more significant role to play than Cheng. And finally Janet McTeer as Alisa was an interesting character, I can’t say how she ties into the main story but she does play a pivotal role which at times was very intriguing and scary and on other occasions quite frustrating too. When it came to the presentation it is pretty good. Visually the show is shot well, and the fight scenes and visual effects look better than before and the use of colour was still pretty good. Also, the soundtrack by Sean Callery was still pretty good with some of the themes being and general sound being carried over from last season in a wonderful way, and season two has some nice new material, but it is not nearly as great as what’s come before.

In conclusion, Jessica Jones season 2 was a decent season to watch, that being said after finishing the show I felt disappointed. There were some compelling story elements, great character development and wonderfully deep and emotional material throughout the season. However, the lack of Kilgrave, the different storylines that had varying levels of interest and frustrating character arcs and choices left this season feeling far less captivating.

So have you seen Jessica Jones season 2 and if so so what do you think of it? And how do you think it compares to season 1 and the other Netflix shows? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below and I’ll see ya in the next review, laters. 🙂

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2018 in Reviews, TV Reviews

 

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QUICK REVIEW: Tomb Raider

Howdy ladies and gents, time for a new film review and today I’m going to talk about the latest video game film, Tomb Raider. Now I could say a lot about this film but I will attempt to keep things brief this time around. So Tomb Raider, where to start? Well firstly let’s just get some background info out of the way:

  1. I never watched the Angelina Jolie films because I didn’t have the interest at the time.
  2. I also never really played any of the Tomb Raider games until last year when I played the 2013 reboot game.
  3. The marketing didn’t do much to convince me that the film would be worth watching. However, I wanted to remain optimistic because the film was based on strong source material.

So with all that out of the way what did I think of the film? It was fine, but it won’t break the video game film curse.

The story in the film involves a young woman by the name of Lara Croft who goes on a trek to discover what happened to her father who went missing years ago and uncover the mysteries surrounding his research. What follows is a journey of action, danger, self-discovery and interesting revelations. What I applaud the people behind the film for is taking so much of the 2013 game and incorporating into this film. The basic elements of the story, key locations and action set pieces were lifted from the game, and while a great deal was changed and streamlined, some of it was effective and I appreciated how much of that content was put into the film… That being said, the film features so many of the basic and cliché elements that made these big budget action-adventure films so average to watch. The story plays out almost exactly as you’d expect with certain twists and reveals you could see coming a mile away, the dialogue can be so cheesy and dull at times, and while some of the humour works, some of it really cringeworthy and there was one scene in the first trailer I prayed wouldn’t make it into the final film and just near the end it showed up and I was very sad haha. 😛 I’m only harsh on the story because the game had such a great foundation to jump off from and while there was only so much time available, certain story and character elements were needlessly omitted or changed resulting in a story that had less of dramatic and emotional resonance.

As for the cast they did their jobs well enough but none of the characters was all that unique or memorable beyond the main character. Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft was fine, she played the stubborn, smart and physically capable girl with issues relating to her past, she’s a fine enough hero with a great body and can handle herself in tough situations, but she doesn’t have that “je ne sais quoi” that makes a protagonist endearing. Dominic West as Lord Richard Croft was decent, though I wasn’t keen on how his character was handled in the story. Daniel Wu as Lu Ren was fine, I wasn’t sure how he’d fit into the overall narrative but it was revealed in a logical manner and I liked his character, but I thought Wu was underutilized considering his good work on Into the Badlands. Kristin Scott Thomas as Ana Miller was fine, and Walton Goggins as Mathias Vogel was okay as the bad guy, he did what he could with the material he was given, but it wasn’t a captivating or memorable villain, unfortunately. From a presentation point of view, the film has pros and cons. Visually, for the most part, the film looks good, most the visual effects are solid (safe for some questionable CGI and green screen), some of the action sequences were cool especially with the chase scenes, and like I said before, seeing several of the set pieces from the game implemented into this film did make me grin. And the film score by Tom Holkenborg was a little lacking in presence and didn’t do much to elevate the action on-screen.

So to conclude, I think most people reading this may think I hate the film but that is not the case. Tomb Raider a is a fine yet unremarkable film. I think there will be varying opinions about this film from fans of the games and those who are not. It does some things well and Alicia Vikander did a pretty good job in the main role, but alas the film’s story, action and characters are very plain and generic, and I think that there was so much material from the game that could have been adapted much better. Anyway, if you’re curious about this film give it a watch, it wasn’t as inconsistent as Warcraft and nowhere near as boring as Assassin’s Creed, but this isn’t the film to usher in the new era of video game films, nuff said.

So have you seen Tomb Raider and if so what did you think of it? Drop me your thoughts in the comment section below and I’ll see you in the next review, so until the next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2018 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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Oscars 2018 Recap (Audio Edition)

Howdy ladies and gents, how’s it going? So today is the day after the 90th Academy Awards and we have our winners of the awards being talked about online and now I’m going to throw my opinion into the mix with a quick recap of the Oscars… In audio form! Yeah rather than write a whole load of questionable words out, I thought it’d be more interesting to record an episode for the podcast to fully illustrate my positive and negative thoughts on those who won and those who didn’t.

Anyway here’s the episode:

So if you have any thoughts on the Oscars, the winners, losers, speeches, Kimmel’s hosting skills or anything else sure to drop them in the comment section below an I’ll see ya in the next post, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2018 in Films, Media

 

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EPIC REVIEW: Black Panther

Howdy ladies and gents, time for another review and today I’m finally talking about a film I’ve been waiting to watch for almost 2 YEARS! I am of course talking about Black Panther. Since watching Captain America: Civil War in the cinema, I have been ready for this film and the wait has been AGONISING, but luckily time passed along quickly and I finally got to see the film last night. So is this film a good watch or not? Well read on and find out! 😀

The plot can be summed up as the following: “T’Challa, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king.”

I enjoyed the story quite a lot, and while a lot happens in several locations and at certain points, the stakes have potential global ramifications, they felt suitably scaled and revolved the key characters in the right way. Since Phase Two, the MCU has changed its approach to tone, genre and story elements and this film has had the most significant change in terms of tone, character-driven nature and culture. The story dealt with family issues, revenge, power and control, secrets and lies, and the trials and tribulations that come with being a king, and all of these issues and others were handled with care and attention and I also appreciated the film’s commentary black history and current topics as it was relevant yet not overbearing. But what I really loved was how much of a character-driven drama this film was, everything that happened had a purpose and affected the main characters as the story progressed, so when the drama and emotional moments kicked in, it had SO much impact. And I also believe this is one of the most intense superhero films I’ve seen in a while, because of the story and the way it affected the characters, after the film ended I felt like I needed to take some time just to breathe and process what I just watched as I was emotionally gripped the whole way through. Oh and one more thing, even though I only have a minor amount of knowledge when it comes to the Black Panther source material, I was surprised and delighted with the way the source material was adapted into live-action.

As for the characters I really loved everyone in this film as they all had a role to play that fit into the overall narrative, they were all useful, memorable and fun. Firstly Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther killed it, he was already a great character in Civil War, but in this film were got to see more of his personality, more his strengths and weaknesses and see trying to accept his new responsibilities as a king and Black Panther. Boseman was likeable, funny, powerful and badass. And then there’s Michael B. Jordan as Eric Killmonger… Damn, this dude was awesome, Killmonger has an interesting backstory with solid villainous motivations and you can understand and to some degree agree with some of the stuff that he says and all of those elements definitely put him in the better MCU villain category for sure. And Jordan was excellent in this role, the guy oozes charisma and coolness, has a great screen presence and can be scary as hell at times. Danai Gurira as Okoye was frigging badass, absolutely awesome. When Gurira signed on to this film I knew the people at Marvel were gonna make good use of her combat skills from The Walking Dead, but my god she got so many scene-stealing moments not only on the battlefield but also off of it while interacting with T-Challa and other key characters. Okoye was a no-nonsense and proud warrior and I loved what Gurira brought to this role. Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia was quite good, at first I wondered how’d she’d factor into the film, but I really enjoyed her character, she had a great rapport with the other main characters and I liked what she brought to the story.

Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross got involved in the story far more than I expected, and I loved it. We only got a little bit of his character in Civil War, but in this film we learnt more about him as a person, he had some great interaction with several of the main characters and Freeman was delightful in the role. Letitia Wright as Shuri was quite good, at first I thought her attitude and cocky nature would annoy me, but she ended up being one of my favourite characters because of her smarts but also because of how she was integrated into the main story beats. Daniel Kaluuya as W’Kabi was really good, this character has a rough backstory and seeing his character progress through the film was interesting to watch. Winston Duke as M’Baku was really good with a powerful and intimidating screen presence, Angela Bassett as Ramonda was great as always, adding that dramatic flair that only Bassett can, Forest Whitaker as Zuri was really good, he had some great moments with T’Challa and I enjoyed learning about the significance of his character, and Sterling K. Brown was solid as N’Jobu too. And finally, there’s Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue, man I loved this dude! Serkis left a good impression in Age of Ultron, but here we got to see more of the character’s unhinged, tactical and funny nature, he’s a bit of a nutter, but is whenever he’s on-screen it is a good time.

When it comes to the presentation it was great. Visually the film looked great, the filmmakers did a great job at not only bringing the world of Wakanda to life but also presenting a great mixture of futuristic and old school/tradition African material whether it be through the technology, costumes, city landscape, etc. The use of CGI was also solid, though at times wasn’t as solid, and the cool action scenes were really good, there was a lot of creativity, style and power that came with some of these scenes whether you were talking about car chases or fight scenes, it was all handled so well. And just to elaborate on those fight scenes, I loved how the combat scenes shot with a lot of long shots and not too unnecessary cuts, the fights had the right amount of realism, acrobatics and dramatic weight because of what was at stake, and T-Challa’s bodyguards, the Dora Milaje was frigging awesome, these female warriors kicked ass! Also the soundtrack was awesome, the use of certain music was nice and Ludwig Göransson’s film score has a varied sound that incorporates African instrumentation and vocals, a traditional orchestrated sound and a hip-hop kind of style, sometimes these sounds mix and on paper it feels like it shouldn’t work, but in the film these different styles work well together and separately.

In conclusion, Black Panther was everything I wanted it to be and then some, it was thrilling, dramatic, intense and fun. Everyone involved should be proud of the film they’ve created as this is the Black Panther film the character deserved, and while it doesn’t change the superhero game, it was a wonderfully unique experience that I think everyone should check out. 🙂

So have you seen Black Panther 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 February 14, 2018 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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PODCAST: Best of Film Focus

Good day to you ladies and gents, today I just wanted to talk about my podcast, Film Focus and share with you some of the best episodes I have produced since I started back in 2016. And while I did highlight some of my favourite episodes in my first-anniversary post, I believe I have produced some better work since then and highlight my better work.

So without further ado here is a selection of some of my favourite/best episodes that I’ve done so far from the earliest to the latest:

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

Even though I highlighted this episode before, it is still one my favourite and most unique episodes. Before this point, I had never thought of doing three mini reviews in one episode, the thought was a little mad to me and I thought it could be a mistake because I wasn’t giving each film a dedicated episode. However, it worked out in my favour because I was able to say enough about each film without going on too long, and it has gone on to be my second most played episode on Soundcloud which is awesome.

The Fate of the Furious Review

Even though I don’t talk about it too much, I did enjoy the last Fast and Furious film, it was fun, not my favourite of the franchise but still worth watching. And while I liked making this episode, for some reason, towards the latter half of the year it just picked up steam and became the most played episode on Soundcloud, its closing in on 500 plays which is insane to me, but hey I am not complaining in the slightest. 😛

Spider-Man: Homecoming Review

I make it no secret that Spider-Man: Homecoming was one of my favourite films of last year and while it wasn’t the best film, it just gave me a great sense of fun, youthful energy and difference from the Sony Spidey films of the past. And I think you can tell in this episode that I really enjoyed my time watching the film and it was a fun one to record.

Theme Songs in Superhero Films

This is the first episode where I truly got to talk about my love for the music that comes with superhero films and why I believe they are important aspects of these films. I enjoyed creating this episode a lot and putting it out there into the world.

2017 Summer Movie Recap

This is one of the most notable episodes of the podcast as it featured my first guest in the form of Drew from Drew’s Movie Reviews, and he was a lovely gentlemen who helped me go through most of the major films from of last summer from films we both saw and some that we saw individually. It is one of the longer episodes but it was hella fun.

Film Scores and Composers

Besides a few other episodes, this was the passion project that I really wanted to make an episode about since I started the podcast. Music in film is SO important to me and while I’m not well-versed in the proper descriptive terms to analyse film scores and composers, I am very passionate and I can tell you how film scores makes me feel and how I believe it enhances a film or works being the confines of the films they belong to.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Review

And so Drew thankfully returned to join me for my review of the latest Star Wars films and that was certainly an interesting episode for sure. We both had different opinions about the film, there were elements we agreed on, but there were also a few times where we were on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to how certain elements of the story, characterisation and evolution of the overall SW canon.

2017 Superhero Film Discussion

And finally, we have the episode where I had my second guest on the podcast, Eddie from Jaccendo to help me talk about the superhero films of 2017. With such a variety of films adapted from comic books last year there was a good deal of stuff to talk about, both good and bad, and what I enjoyed about recording this episode was having another person to bounce off of and offer a different opinion from my own. It is my longest episode but it was just a very casual, fun and nerdy conversation of the best kind. 🙂

Well, that is everything that I wanted to share, if you haven’t checked out my podcast yet I would appreciate if you subscribed on Soundcloud or iTunes and if you could sort me some comments or reviews that would be awesome! 🙂 Anyway until next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2018 in Films, Media

 

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