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End of Year Review 2019

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Good day to you ladies and gentlemen and welcome to my annual End of Year Review where I look back on the year and highlight certain things that were interesting to me. In my eyes, 2019 has been a year that’s been both fun and dull at the same time. There’s been some stuff that’s worth celebrating and some worth forgetting. So as per usual, I will talk about the year as a whole from my perspective, break it down into sections and then conclude with a summary. So without further ado let’s begin.

Video Games

2019 has been a good year for gaming, amidst all the controversy and BS from certain developers and publishers, we’ve had a solid set of games from AAA to indies. And while there haven’t been as many standout games as previous years, it has been more consistent than last year for sure for all console platforms.

Alas, I haven’t played nearly as many new games as I would have liked. Since I had to leave my PS4 with my sister back home I’ve primarily been playing on my Nintendo Switch which has served me well for the most part. But due to timing, lack of funds and no PS4, I missed out on a ton of games this year which makes me sad. So no Resident Evil 2 Remake, no Devil May Cry 5, no Jedi Fallen Order, no Fire Emblem, no Astral Chain, no Super Mario Maker 2 and so on. I briefly got to play Kingdom Hearts 3 when I went home in the summer but not enough to have a proper opinion on it. So I ended up playing some older games like the wonderful Celeste, the fun yet tricky Valkyria Chronicles and of course Smash Ultimate with all those awesome DLC characters which were fun especially with Piranha Plant, Joker and Terry.

So what new games did I purchase this year? Well, I did get to play Blaster Master Zero 2. Now I know the first game was largely ignored during the early days of Switch since everyone was playing Breath of the Wild, but I really enjoyed the original with the additional DLC characters as well. But the sequel just did so much more by refining the controls, giving you new ways to attack enemies, adding more exploration and new planets and the presentation was really good too. I also had a lot of fun with Tetris 99, that game came out of nowhere and became one of the most addictive games I’ve played in a while. Sure it’s essentially a battle royale against 98 other players, but man when you’re in the thick of it competing and making crazy comebacks when other players are trying to take you out. There’s no better feeling. There’s a rush, sense of danger and satisfaction that comes from this style of gameplay. And then there’s Untitled Goose Game, the game that blew up 2019. This game is worth playing just for the funny, foolish, bizarre and chaotic things you can unleash on people as a goose. And while the initial charm did wear off for me after the first few hours, it’s still a fun game to mess with just to see what you can get up to. And finally, there’s Dragon Quest Builders 2, while I didn’t play the full game, I played both demos collectively close to 10 hours and man that game is just as addictive as ever and I really need to get the full game to get lost in it. 😀

Top 10 Games

  1. Blaster Master Zero 2
  2. Tetris 99
  3. Untitled Goose Game

Films

 

 

When it comes to films I would say that even though there were plenty of solid films, this year felt a little lacking compared to previous years (feel like I’ve been saying that every year since 2010 or 2011 haha). That being said there was plenty to enjoy, but there was also a lot of trash, most of which I avoided haha. I saw as many as I could though it was really tough to get out between October to December.

Top 10 Films of 2019

  1. Parasite
  2. Avengers: Endgame
  3. One Piece Stampede
  4. Ip Man 4
  5. How to Train Your Dragon 3
  6. Ford v Ferrari
  7. Doctor Sleep
  8. El Camino
  9. John Wick Chapter 3
  10. Knives Out

I’m sure I’m gonna get shit for my list missing a number of the critically acclaimed films of this year but I’ve only gotten to see a certain amount of films in the last couple months, plus films like Joker and The Irishman, I enjoyed for sure, but they didn’t do it for me like ones listed above.

For me, Parasite was just the best and such a lovely surprise. I’d heard rumblings about how good it was through certain areas of the internet and on numerous occasions its over-hyped BS. But Parasite was a unique, hilarious and unexpected film with twists and turns in many forms. Beyond that I just had a blast with Avengers: Endgame, as it was just an event-based film that wrapped up everything pretty well despite some minor, nitpicks here and there. Talking of event-based films, One Piece Stampede was a session and a half featuring some of the best references, character interaction, action, art and animation and humour the series has seen so far.

While I didn’t love Knives Out as much as everyone else did, it was a really well-made film with a terrific cast and a plot full of humour and neat twists and turns. Ford v Ferrari was better than I expected with great performances from the two leads and Doctor Sleep, a film not on my radar ended up being way more captivating than I expected with great performances, a good story and good references to The Shining.

Also, John Wick 3 was hella fun, just cool hand to hand combat and the expanding nature of that world continues to entertain me. How To Train Your Dragon 3 was a beautiful end to the trilogy, while El Camino was an intense and dramatic continuation for Jesse Pinkman following the events of Breaking Bad and finally Dolemite is My Name was really funny, engaging and it was great to see Eddie Murphy back on top form again.

Honourable Mentions

  • Joker
  • Dolemite is My Name
  • The Irishman
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home
  • Promare

Television

With TV there’s been SO many to keep track of this year that keeping up with them all is impossible. There are many I’ve yet to watch or finish like Watchmen, Jack Ryan, Succession, Good Omens, Bojack Horseman, Swamp Thing, all the CW shows and so on. But luckily I’ve got to see some really fun, familiar, new, exciting and crazy stuff this year that’s kept things interesting. I also want to say thank god for the streaming services, now I know there’s too many of them emerging left, right and center, but I love them because their episode counts are much smaller and easier to manage and/or binge. So I’ve found myself really enjoying the new and returning stuff on Netflix, Amazon and Disney Plus.

Top 10 TV

  1. The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance
  2. The Mandalorian Season 1
  3. Stranger Things Season 3
  4. The Boys Season 1
  5. Love, Death & Robots
  6. Lucifer Season 4
  7. The Witcher Season 1
  8. Umbrella Academy Season 1
  9. Big Mouth Season 3
  10. South Park Season 23

I’ve really enjoyed returning TV shows like Lucifer season 4 which was so fun and emotional, the third season of Stranger Things had some really interesting, dark and crazy stuff going down and Big Mouth‘s third season continued to be crude, weird, funny and true to life. And South Park‘s 23rd season was alright, but it certainly had its fun moments. With new TV stuff I had so much fun with Umbrella Academy‘s first season, The Boys on Amazon was one of the craziest rollercoasters I’ve ever been on with so much immoral, dark, hilarious and engaging stuff and Love, Death & Robots was one of the most strange, intriguing, beautiful, violent and visually unique things I’ve ever seen. And even though I’m a couple episodes away from finishing The Witcher, I’ve enjoyed that show ever much for its world, mythology, gritty and dirty look, catchy music and the beautiful Henry Cavill. 😀

And as much as I LOVE The Mandalorian for its story, characters, references and amazing music, The Dark Crystal show was incredible and has to take the top spot. I thought it would be good, but it was far better than I or anyone else could have expected. The way it expanded upon the original film with new characters, mythology and references were very impressive. The presentation was brilliant with awesome practical effects and a wonderful voice cast and I only gush about this show because barely anyone watched it and I want people to check it out damn it!

 

Music

With music, I have barely listened to any new music from this year. I have mainly been going back in time to check out music in the ’80s or going through the discographies of artists I know or have discovered over the course of the year. That being said there has been some 2019 music I wanted to highlight. Friendly Fires finally came out of hiding and released their new album, Inflorescent and I really liked it, was a very feel-good and dancy kind of sound (which I will review on here at some point). Also, SG Lewis, who is one of my favourite artists of the last 3 years I got to see twice in London and Vancouver and even got to meet him which was the best thing ever! I also got to see Jamiroquai live for the third time and they were amazing and I even made some new mates in the process!

But my favourite music from this year comes from the brilliant Ludwig Göransson, his work on The Mandalorian had been nothing short of amazing. From the first episode, he created new, enchanting, hopeful, dramatic and new sounds for us to experience in the Star Wars universe. And it all starts with that theme song… It’s SO GOOD! For me its the best and most recognisable piece of music that Star Wars has had since the Prequel Trilogy, yeah I said it and I’m not afraid. 😀

Favourite Songs

  1. Ludwig Göransson – The Mandalorian
  2. Coldplay – Orphans
  3. Friendly Fires – Silhouettes
  4. SG Lewis – Blue

My Experience

2019 has been one hell of a ride for me, full of all sorts of adventures, life-changing experiences and lessons. It’s honestly been one of the best years of my life and yet there’s also been a fair bit of struggle. I know I left this blog pretty vacant over the course of this year as I focused on my podcast and went off and tried new things, but hopefully, I’ll have a better focus on it next year as I still have numerous things I would like to share on here. 🙂

So this year I did numerous things but I’ll highlight the main stuff below:

  • I moved to Canada
  • Slowly got back into exercising
  • Went to Bulgaria and met some homies in real life for the first time
  • Experienced my first conventions outside of the UK in Vancouver and Seattle
  • I started networking and collaborating with some people on personal projects
  • I volunteered at a film festival and made some new mates
  • Really got into the groove with my artwork

I’ve just been in an extremely good mood trying new food, going to new places, going to events I’ve never tried and forging new connections with wonderful people. At the same time, I’ve dealt with some depression, a little loneliness, had to deal with some questionable individuals and confront some of my many faults that’s caused me problems this year. But I’ve also learnt a lot and I believe I’ll be much better and focused in the future.

Conclusion

In conclusion, 2019 has honestly been one of the best years of my life and while it wasn’t a perfect year and there were some downs, I’ve just learnt so much and been grinning almost all the time so the pros definitely have outweighed the cons for sure. So 2019, its been fun but you can go away now and let’s say hello to 2020!

Well, thanks for reading. So how was your 2019? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below and finally, have a happy new year and I hope I’ll see ya in again in 2020. Laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2019 in Films, Life, Media, Music, Reviews, Television, Video Games

 

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End of Year Review 2018

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Good day to you ladies and gents, so 2018 has come to an end and it is once again time for my annual END OF YEAR REVIEW! Now I think the year has been pretty good all things considered, I’ve had an interesting rollercoaster of highs and lows, but the pros have definitely outweighed the cons. 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

2018 was a great year for gaming and looking back on everything that was released this year and comparing it to last year, it really is hard to say which year had the better selection of games to play. The games industry has had a lot of dodgy and questionable stuff going on with the ongoing issues related to gambling and microtransactions to the poor PlayStation Classic to Nintendo’s bad online service to Metal Gear Survive to Bethesda and the never-ending dramas of Fallout 76. But I will say that my overall gaming experiences were better last year because I played a lot more, however, the 2018 games that I did will stay with me for a good while. This year I finally gave into the hype and tried out Fortnight and I dabbled for a little while and gave up because I just wasn’t into it haha. I also restarted Zelda: Breath of the Wild and got lost in that world again and good god that game is SO much fun, the exploration and traversal just put me in a good mood especially when you end up playing for a good few hours. Another game  I also bought Rocket League and discovered the joys and frustrations that come with that game, I also played a fair amount of Fallout Shelter and discovered the addictive nature that comes with micromanagement and expansion, and Pokemon Quest was another one of those games that ended up getting way more of my attention than I expected, like 10 plus! 😛 But here’s my top 4 games:

  1. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  2. Spider-Man PS4
  3. Sonic Mania Plus
  4. Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu
  5. Dragon Ball FighterZ

Oh look Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is my game of the year, who would have guessed? Haha! 😛 But in all seriousness Smash is my everything, it is my favourite gaming franchise and after the E3 reveal I was all in and the game is pretty much everything I wanted. The game mechanics are as fun as ever, the music selection is AMAZING, the amount of characters to mess with is fabulous and World of Light and Classic Mode are very unique and lengthy, though the former gets a little tedious after a while and the CPU difficulty is a hell of a lot harder than before. When it comes to Spider-Man I think it would have been my game of the year if Smash hadn’t come out, I REALLY had a great time playing that game and I’m still annoyed I never reviewed it back in September. The game is best Spidey game so far with its incredible web-slinging and overall movement, the versatile combat, wonderful selection of suits and a story that takes so many wonderful aspects of Spidey’s source material and adaptations and crafts its own unique and beautiful story that’s up there will the best of the Spidey material. Thanks to the Plus DLC, I ended up revisiting Sonic Mania and fell in love again. And while I still haven’t played Encore mode yet to my shame, I did love messing around with Ray and Mighty’s new game mechanics. As for Pokemon Let’s Go I was surprised by how captivated I was for the first few days. After seeing some of the videos and positive word of mouth around the game when it released I caved in and bought the game. I loved the nostalgic feelings the game gave me from seeing the enhanced visuals to the wonderful soundtrack, and on top of that, the seeing Pokemon in the overworld was cool and the new catching mechanics being easy to do for the most part. Alas, the changes to some of the core mechanics of battling and level grinding and a lack of features from later generations meant that my engagement waned. And finally Dragon Ball FighterZ I only played for a little while but it left a really good impression on me, while I wasn’t very good at it due to its technical aspects similar to the Marvel Vs. Capcom games, but I loved the visuals, the attempt at a story mode and attention to detail when it comes to the voice acting and specific finishing attacks.

Films

For me, 2018 was a good time for films and while I didn’t watch as many films as last year, I feel like I saw most of the films that I wanted/needed to. I had a lot of fun, interesting and surprising experiences in the cinema this year but definitely tried to watch more films at home. Also for those who aren’t aware, I’m only counting films released in 2018, films originally released in 2017 that got a UK release this year DOESN’T COUNT! And with that out of the way, these are my favourite films of 2018:

Top 11 Films of 2018

  1. Searching
  2. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  3. Avengers: Infinity War
  4. A Star Is Born
  5. Annihilation
  6. Crazy Rich Asians
  7. Mission: Impossible – Fallout
  8. Bumblebee
  9. Whitney
  10. Widows
  11. A Silent Place

Honourable Mentions

  • Bird Box 
  • Incredibles 2
  • Bad Times at the El Royale
  • Overlord
  • Creed 2
  • Sorry To Bother You
  • Blackkklasman
  • First Man
  • Black Panther
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Ready Player One

Top 4 Worst/Disappointing Films of 2018

  1. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
  2. The Predator
  3. Tomb Raider
  4. Den of Thieves

Top 5 Surprising Films of 2018

  • Crazy Rich Asians
  • A Star Is Born
  • Bumblebee
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story
  • Deadpool 2

Television

Man, my TV viewing experience for 2018 was a far cry from last year and it’s not because I’m getting bored or not interested in what’s available and more to do with the fact that I just haven’t had the bloody time to watch everything like I used to haha. 😛 That being said I was able to check out a good few shows here and there and I will say that most of them were worth watching. From finishing the super fun Tournament of Power arc in Dragon Ball Super to enjoying the second season of The Tick to really liking the direction of the first half of season 3 of Into the Badlands (which I hope comes back at some point). When it comes to new shows I liked Disenchantment with its weird sense of humour, world and ongoing storyline, I also liked Altered Carbon for its visual design, an interesting cast, and on Amazon, you had Jack Ryan which was quite captivating with its plot, cast and the concise number of episodes. Daredevil season 3 and Bojack Horseman season 5 have been my favourite TV from this year giving just wanted while also providing me with content I didn’t know that I’d love as well. And finally Lucifer‘s season 3 got really good towards the end, and for a little while my show was cancelled, but then Netflix gave us a miracle and picked it up for season 4, sweet!

Top 10 TV Shows

  1. Daredevil (season 3)
  2. Bojack Horseman (season 5)
  3. Altered Carbon (season 1)
  4. Lucifer (season 3)
  5. Jack Ryan (season 1)
  6. Into the Badlands (season 3)
  7. The Tick (season 2)
  8. Disenchantment (season 1)

Music

In 2018 I wasn’t as overly fussed about music as much as last year, there wasn’t much new music that caught my ears, however, there have a been a few new songs that have caught my ears from new and established artists which have made my year quite enjoyable. Interestingly enough a lot my favourite music hasn’t been from mainstream radio but more so from films in the cinema and other places. There have been a good few films with nice film scores from Avengers: Infinity War to Solo to Annihilation to Incredibles 2 and son. But it’s Ludwig Göransson’s score for Black Panther that I’ve remembered with “Wakanda” being my absolute favourite! Firstly there’s the return of Justin Timberlake with his Man of the Woods which was a nice album with a good variety of tracks and a catchy first single with “Filthy“. I’ve also been continuing to listen to SG Lewis and his EP, Dusk has been one of my favourite listening experiences this year with “Aura” being one of my favourite songs of the year. AFI came back with The Missing Man and I really liked that EP especially with the songs “Get Dark” and “Trash Bat“. Also, there’s the Eurovision Song Contest, I haven’t followed this event since 2010 or 2011, but this year had a good number of really good songs, but my favourite was “Dance You Off” by Benjamin Ingrosso, that song was SO catchy! And finally there’s Tee Lopes, crafter of the brilliant Sonic Mania soundtrack who released his debut album Youinverse which is wonderful, but my favourite song is awesome “Gray City Day“.

Favourite Songs

  1. Ludwig Göransson – Wakanda
  2. SG Lewis – Aura
  3. Justin Timberlake – Filthy
  4. AFI – Get Dark
  5. Benjamin Ingrosso – Dance You Off
  6. Tee Lopes – Gray City Day

My Experience

All things considered, 2018 was a pretty decent year and in a lot of ways has been my best year in quite some time just because, looking back on the year as a whole, I dealt with a fair amount of bullshit, but it wasn’t nearly as troublesome or time-consuming as previous years. As for the stuff I got up to, there weren’t as many crazy adventures but I did have some fun here and there and experienced some things for the first time. Firstly there was my trip to the MCM London Expo with my best friend for our 10 year anniversary since we went in 2008, I also gave blood for the first time after talking about doing it for around 5 years haha, I also attended my first hen do and first baby shower which were surreal and delightful experiences. And I also did my annual volunteering for the 5th year and it was just as fun as ever. But on top of that, I feel like I’ve started to find my creative side again with all the drawing and animation stuff I’ve been doing which has been way more than previous years. Plus my mental state of mind I think has gotten to a place where I’m stable and can live with myself and have a good outlook on life which has been great especially in the last few months.

There’s also a lot of stuff that happened in the world, too much to mention, from the ongoing fears and dramas surrounding Brexit to Theresa May and her weir “dancing skills” to the absurd amount of memes we went through from Ugandan Knuckles to Bowsette to the recent Bird Box film. And then there was the death of certain celebrities this year as well, but the main two that hurt me the most was the passing of Jon Schnepp and Stan Lee. Schnepp has been one of my favourite people to watch on AMC and then Collider because he was such a passionate nerd and taught me so much, also her Superman documentary was great and even met him 2015. So his passing just sucked. But then there was Stan Lee’s passing, that felt so surreal and unnatural. I always thought the guy would live forever and it still feels weird to talk about him in the past tense, but I sort of knew he would pass on at some point but I was not prepared at all. I am forever grateful for not only being able to meet him but for all of his creations that made me the person I am today.

Conclusion

In conclusion, this year was a good time, had some good and bad experiences, learnt some life lessons and yeah I don’t have nearly as much to complain about which can only be a good thing right? Well 2018, its been fun but its time to say goodbye, and hello to 2019 because it will be a year of big changes for me which I can’t wait to share in due time. 🙂

Well, thanks for reading. So how was your 2018? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below and finally, have a happy new year and I hope I’ll see ya in again in 2019. Laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2018 in Films, Life, Media, Music, Reviews, Television, Video Games

 

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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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Late End of Year Review 2016

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Howdy ladies and gents, 2016 is technically over and normally at the end of the December I do my annual END OF YEAR REVIEW, however, because of timing issues, relating to work and New Year’s Eve plans, I never got around to releasing it on time. And so I’ve debated over the last few days whether or not to write it, but after 5 years it felt wrong not to write something, so, even though it’s late, my 2016 review is here now! Now 2016 was one heck of a year and while there were some good times here and there, it was somewhat of a surprising and melancholy year due to a lot of the events that took place. And while I can’t cover everything I’ll do my best to discuss what I remembered. As with previous entries, I’ll 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

games-of-2016

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

Films

fav-films-of-2016

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

Top 10 Films of 2016

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

Special Mentions

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

Top 5 Worst/Disappointing Films of 2016

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

Television

fav-tv-2016

TV last year was pretty filthy, I was watching a lot. From the Marvel/Netflix material with the great yet flawed second season of Daredevil and Luke Cage which had a great first half and the questionable yet decent second half, but it was Stranger Things that was my favourite show of 2016. It was a frigging revelation and I’ve not loved an original TV show like that for a long time. I also got around to finishing The Wire which was awesome, also enjoyed out Luther and started Prison Break (better late than never).

On top of that in the Fall/Autumn, there was a lot of good TV. Season 5 of Arrow was the most fun I’d had since season 2, the first half season 4 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was pretty awesome thanks to Ghost Rider and The Flash’s third season was good but wasn’t as compelling as the previous seasons. Star Wars Rebels was a little up and down but had great moments in season 3, Game of Thrones definitely delivered with season 6 when compared to season 5, Atlanta was a surprisingly fun and engaging show, Preacher while a little patchy at first got better towards the latter half and The Walking Dead’s latest season wasn’t been as terrible as I thought it’d be. But Blindspot and Lucifer were the real surprises of last year, both of those second seasons were much better than expected and featured some really solid character and story material.

Top 10 TV Shows

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

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

Music

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

Top 6 Songs

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

My Experience

2016, to be honest, hasn’t been too bad of a year for me, I’ve dealt with a lot of shit, but my troubles haven’t been as severe as previous years. I had a lot of fun with friends and family, Firstly I got to attend a high school reunion 10 years after I left school in May of 2006, its something I’ve always wanted to do (due to films and TV shows making it look like fun) and it was awesome. Also like previous years I returned to the Children’s Media Conference and make new acquaintances, went back MCM London Expo October 2016 Review, attended two wonderful weddings too, and also got finally see Alien Ant Farm live for the first time and I also got to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers live again which was delightful. Another random fact, last year I worked in a total of 4 different places and hopped across 3 jobs before I landed the job that I have now, and 5 months on I’m in a much better place than I was before.

Blogging-wise things were fair messy/lazy and I feel like 2016 was the worst year I’ve had on WordPress so far, but hell I pushed on and I hope to rectify the lack of content in 2017. Plus my podcast, while it started out well and I got better at it, there was a lack consistency for sure, so again hopefully I’ll get things sorted this year.

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

Conclusion

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

Well, thanks for reading. So how was your 2016? Please be sure to comment below and I’ll see ya in the next blog post. Laters! 😀

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

 

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End of Year Review 2015

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Howdy ladies and gents, 2015 is Romeo done, and now its time for my annual END OF YEAR REVIEW! It’s the 5th edition on WordPress and I’m ready to summarise my experience in this post. While time has moved relatively fine, I swear toward the latter side of the summer till Christmas just flew by absurdly quick, and here we are at the dawn of a new year. As with previous entries, I will talk about the year as a whole from my perspective, breaking it down into sections and then conclude with a summary. You ready? Cool, let’s go!

Video Games

Gaming-2015

In the last two years, I’ve really been getting back into my video games, but this year has been the one for catching that fever and playing several games at the same time. Again I’ve been primarily on my Nintendo stuff playing loads of Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. 4 on my Wii U. But I’ve also been playing a fair amount of Child of Light, Xenoblade Chronicles, Lego Marvel Superheros, Super Mario Maker and Trine 2. And I’ve been bleeding through Project X Zone, Fire Emblem: Awakening, Sonic 2 3D, Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and A Link to the Past. However my favourite experience by far has been playing Xenoblade Chronicles X, I’ve only had the game for around a week now, but this game just makes me feel so satisfied when it comes to exploration, combat and sense of community when it comes to the online elements. Now obviously I don’t have a PS4, Xbox One or a fancy PC to play a lot of the awesome games that’s been released like Metal Gear Solid 5, Witcher 3, Batman Arkham Knight or Ori and the Blind Forest to name a few, but hopefully I’ll get around to a PS4 and some of those games next year.

Films

2015-films

For me, 2015 has been a pretty good year for films, and while there’s been a fair amount of disappointment, there’s also been a good deal of unexpected gems too. For all of the average/lame films that I had to watch like Terminator Genisys, Chappie and Fan4stic, we also got an Ex Machina or Black Mass. I missed a lot of films in 2015, however, I saw as much as I could and most films delivered, though I wish I could have loved some of them more like Avengers: Age of Ultron and Spectre. So now I give you my top 10 films of the year.

Technically I 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 2015, and films originally released in 2014 that got UK a release this year DOESN’T COUNT! But with that out of the way, these are my favourite films of 2015:

Top 10 Films of 2015

  1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  2. Kingsman the Secret Service
  3. Ex Machina
  4. Mission Impossible Rogue Nation
  5. Straight Outta Compton
  6. Amy
  7. Mad Max Fury Road
  8. Black Mass
  9. The Martian
  10. Ant-Man

Special Mentions

  • Cinderella
  • Sicario
  • Inside Out
  • Crimson Peak
  • Me and Earl and Dying Girl

Television

my-2015-TV-favourites

This year has been the most crammed one yet for TV where I took on multiple shows, new and old over the course of the year, sometimes overlapping several shows at the same time! One of the most heartbreaking experiences I had this year was seeing the end of Parks and Recreation with season 7. I also got to rewatch Fringe and relive all that awesomeness, and after around 2 years I finally finished the Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Oh and I finally finished Hotel Babylon after all this time. With Netflix and Amazon Video I really got into a good few shows like Blue Mountain State and rewatched The IT Crowd, Chappelle Show, Alpha House and Justice League. But the main show I really got into was It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, it was a show that was recommended to me by my mate’s sister back in July of 2013 and I decided to binge all 9 seasons over a few weeks and it was hella fun. That show is absurdly silly and funny and is one of my new favourite shows.

On top of that in the Fall/Autumn, we got to see the return to form of with Arrow‘s 4th season, more improvements with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 3, more great material from The Flash season 2, some smart and funny material with season 19 of South Park, the continuing awesomeness with of Grimm with season 5 and more great stuff with Star Wars Rebels. I will admit that my love for Game of Thrones this year wasn’t as high due to a disappointing season 5 and while I’ve enjoyed the latest seasons of The Walking Dead and Castle I haven’t been as invested as before, especially when it comes to season 8 of Castle.

But it’s not just about on-going shows. I really enjoyed Blindspot, Agent Carter‘s first season was pretty cool, also after getting past some of the weaker episodes I really got into Moonbeam City and Master of None‘s first season was one of the most unexpected surprises of the year with its realistic take on life issues, relationships and a unique style of humour with a film-like quality. But Marvel’s first two dips into the Netflix realm with Daredevil and Jessica Jones proved to be very successful, with darker, violent and more realistic portrayals of the heroes of the MCU. I really enjoyed the violence, fight choreography and crime drama elements of Daredevil, while with Jessica Jones it was all about the more serious and personal stories that dealt with more mature and realistic issues too.

Top 5 TV Shows

  1. Daredevil
  2. Master of None
  3. Mr. Robot
  4. Jessica Jones
  5. Moonbeam City

Overall this year has been great for TV and I’m looking forward to the continuation of my current shows, the return of Agent Carter and Daredevil with their second seasons, and the start of Legends of Tomorrow and Luke Cage.

Music

As for music, all I can say is that 2015 has been the most disappointing year for new music I’ve seen in ages. There’s next to no new music I liked, and most of the stuff I heard that was popular just wasn’t of any interest to me at all. The only new songs I liked probably not on anyone’s radar. Firstly there’s Asian Kung-Fu Generation with “Easter” from their Wonder Future album, it’s a great opening track full of style and intensity, and the other song was “Fiesta” from Bomba Estereo featuring Will Smith, while the song definitely fits into the standard EDM style of modern music, at the same time it has a pretty nice sound, and it also helps that my man Will Smith was rapping on the track which was so much fun.

My Experience

2015, to be honest, it is hard to rate this year when comparing it to previous ones. There were highs and lows, and I think I’ve realised that there will be no year at this current point in my life that doesn’t come without some struggle. That being said I’ve had one hell of an adventure.

I got to return to the Children’s Media Conference and make some new friends, I also went back for year two at London Film & Comic-Con and after a two-year gap, I went back to the MCM London Expo too. As for other events I finally got to see Asian Kung-Fu Generation live and witnessed a kick ass Pokemon concert too. In addition to that, I obtained my first long-term job that lasted longer than 6 weeks and got back into drawing in a big way for the first time in a while. But the key thing that makes me smile is the fact that I’ve been able to have such great experiences with my family and friends and that’s really helped me deal with some of the regular bullshit. Oh and the blogging, for those who read this blog on the regular you know this has been an inconsistent year when it comes to the pacing and amount of posts that I’ve done, but luckily I’ve had a lot of my regular people to help me through the slow days, and to them I thank you greatly. 🙂

Conclusion

In conclusion, 2015 was a good session, but I’m ready to say goodbye to this year and welcome the next. These days I’m all about the progression and I will look back fondly on some of my adventures individually and with other people, but for all I’m gonna say is “Peace out 2015, and hello to 2016! Come on, this will be my time!”

Well, thanks for reading. So how was your 2015? Please be sure to comment below and finally, have a happy new year and hopefully I’ll see ya in 2016. Laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2015 in Films, Media, Music, Reviews, Television, Video Games

 

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End of Year Review 2014

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Howdy ladies and gents, it looks like 2014 is well and truly over and so now its time for my annual END OF YEAR REVIEW! And this year is 4th edition on WordPress. 🙂 It seems like 2014 has flown by even though it felt long while it was happening, but today is New Year’s Eve, so let’s look back and talk about it. As with previous entries, I will talk about the year as a whole from my perspective, breaking it down into sections and then concluding with a summary. You ready? Cool, let’s go!

Video Games

When it comes to gaming I can say I’ve had a better year than before, while at university I had the chance to play a lot of games on Steam with my mates and while not many of them were new, I did have a lot of fun playing them. In terms of new games, I’ve played Trials Fusion, Super Smash Bros. for 3DS, Goat Simulator and recently Mario Kart 8. As for the other games, I’ve played I Fire Emblem: Awakening, Kid Icarus: Awakening, Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword being the main games I’ve messed around with. Something tells me that I’ve played more than what I’ve listed but this is the main stuff and hopefully if I get more money next year I’ll be able to play more new games.

Films

When it comes to films, 2014 I would say was a pretty good year for films, not the best but certainly better than last year for sure. Sure we had to endure films like Transformers 4, Horrible Bosses 2 and A Million Ways To Die In The West, but then we had good stuff like The Raid 2, Get On Up and Interstellar. This year definitely had more hits than misses and I certainly had fun in the cinema especially when it came to some of my IMAX experiences.

So now I give you my top 10 films of the year. Technically I already did a blog about my top 10, but for those who haven’t seen it I will list it below and as usual, I’m only counting films released in 2014, films originally released in 2013 that only got a UK release this year DOESN’T COUNT! Okay here’s my list:

Top 10 Films of 2014

  1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  2. Gone Girl
  3. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  4. Guardians of the Galaxy
  5. Nightcrawler
  6. X-Men: Days of Future Past
  7. How To Train Your Dragon 2
  8. Godzilla
  9. Edge of Tomorrow
  10. The Imitation Game

Honourable mentions:

  • 22 Jump Street
  • Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
  • Get On Up
  • The Raid 2: Berandal
  • The Maze Runner
  • Begin Again
  • Noah
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel

Television

Oh and then there’s the television. My god 2014 has been probably my most hardcore year for watching TV shows. I’ve watched so much stuff on TV and streamed a lot online, I think I had an addiction for sure. I had to say goodbye to one of my all-time favourite shows in the form of Boardwalk Empire (sad times). And I also got to enjoy the continuation of some of my other favourite shows like Game of Thrones, Grimm, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Regular Show, Arrow, The Walking Dead and Castle. I also got into a good few new shows like The 100, The Flash, Gotham and Constantine. And finally, I’ve also been revisiting old TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sonic Satam and Hotel Babylon.

Overall its been a good year for TV and 2015 only looks better with new shows and the return of currently airing shows too.

Music

When it comes to music I haven’t listened to that much new stuff, that’s what I do every year as I haven’t cared for new music since 2008. This year the radio has irritated the hell out of me with the horrible mainstream music that today’s kids consider ‘cool’. The only song I’ve remotely liked because of its addictive nature is Charli XCX with “Boom Clap” That song’s super happy and charismatic nature won me over.

Otherwise, I’ve just been going back in time for music mainly in the 90’s and early 00’s. I’ve gotten into more Anberlin, listened to a lot of Jack White, Janelle Monáe, The Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lenny Kravitz and A Tribe Called Quest.

Top 3 Song of 2014

  1. Lazaretto by Jack White
  2. Gust of Wind by Pharrell featuring Daft Punk
  3. Next to It by Lupe Fiasco

My Experience

Oh 2014, what a year it’s been. It feels like the year has escaped me once again without me even noticing, I can remember so many points in the year when I was ready for 2014 to be over, but now that it’s here, it feels very surreal. I can’t say that this year has been the best, I’ve had to deal with so much drama, but at the same time, I’ve had so much to be thankful for so I can’t really complain that much.

Let’s start with the bad stuff. 1) I would say that financially I’ve had my fair share of lows due to not enough hours at work. 2) I have had some really shitty work experiences in both the hospitality and warehouse industries to the point where I just wanted to have nothing to do with having a job ever again. 3) Within my close friend circles, I had to deal with so much unnecessary drama and some of my friends drifted from me, possibly forever. And 4) I swear this was the year when a lot of my work colleagues just wanted to piss me off as I have had to deal with very mean, annoying and two-faced people across several of my different jobs this year. And I think that’s the main things.

Now let’s talk the good stuff. Continuing from last year, this was a year being more adventurous and daring. I met Stan Lee, volunteered at the Children’s Media Conference, got to go to two video game concerts for Zelda and Final Fantasy, I went to three music gigs, had some hella fun times in the cinema, finished and graduated from university, got more into my artwork, got to work in an animation studio, I made a lot of new friends and I finally got a Wii U! I would say that counts for a positive year experience.

With all the good stuff that’s happened this year I can only hope that it translates into the next year, 2015 feels like a game-changer for sure.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I would say that 2014 was a pretty good year for the most part. For all the suffering and bullshit I had to endure, I have gotten to do so much and accomplish goals that I never would have been able to do before.

If you made it to the end of this post, I have to say thank you all for reading it all. So how was your 2014? Please leave me a comment below and let me know. And finally, whether you are a regular reader or new one, have a happy new year and I hope you’ll join me in again in 2015. Peace out! 😀

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2014 in Films, Life, Media, Music, Reviews, Television, Video Games

 

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End of Year Review 2013

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Hey hey hey ladies and gents, welcome to my annual END OF YEAR REVIEW!. And this is the 3rd edition on WordPress. 🙂 It’s that time of year again when the we reflect on the last 12 months asking ourselves where the time has gone and see what kind of stuff went down. As with previous versions I will discuss the year as I saw it, breaking it down into sections and then concluding with a summary. You cool with that? Nice, let’s go!

Video Games

With video games it’s started to take more a backseat to my love for film and going to the cinema, that being said I think I did a lot more gaming this year then last year. With my 3DS gaming I played a lot of Ocarina of Time 3D, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Mutant Mudds, Steamworld Dig and I totally had the best time ever playing Pokemon X and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds this year. And in addition of playing GTA V, Terraria and all the games I played on emulators that gave me serious rushes of nostalgia and new experiences, I’ve become more of a gamer than I ever was before. However since I haven’t played enough games due to my lack of cash and lack of free time, so don’t expect any top 10 list from me lol.

Films

When it comes to films, I thought this year was a pretty disappointing especially when compared to last year. There was so much promise of awesomeness and unforgettable material, however there was just a lack impact and presence when it came to a lot of the films this year. I even wrote a post about it a while ago. Now that’s not to say that 2013 was a complete waste of time, there were some really fun and impressive films on show that were on show and luckily made those days in the cinema not as painful.

Annoyingly just like last year there are films that came out this year that I’ll have to wait until next year for (12 Years as a Slave and American Hustle come to mind), but I’ve gotten used to the fact that the UK film distribution is totally unfair.

So it’s now time for my top 10, but before that keep in mind this was a frigging hard list to do and I’m only counting films released in 2013, films from 2012 that were released in 2013 for us UK residents DON’T COUNT! Okay here’s my list:

Top 10 Films of 2013

  1. Captain Philips
  2. Now You See Me
  3. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  4. Iron Man 3
  5. Gravity
  6. Saving Mr. Banks
  7. Rush
  8. Thor: The Dark World
  9. Frozen
  10. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Honourable mentions:

  • Fast 6
  • Despicable Me 2
  • The Wolverine
  • Pacific Rim
  • Kick Ass 2
  • Star Trek Into Darkness
  • Filth

When it comes to upcoming films I think that 2014 will be better, I’m praying for it. With epic titles like Godzilla, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, Interstellar, Sabotage, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past and so much more, I’m sure that it has the potential to rectify the mistakes of this year.

Music

Now let’s talk music! As with last year, I don’t care much for modern music because most of the time it sucks. I only make exceptions with established artists who have been going for a while or those odd few musicians who are good. Some of the music I’ve had to endure this year is beyond terrible, last year was the year of dubstep, this year was the year of dirty mainstream dance music bullshit. Everything sounded the same and what the hell was up with all the covers and sampling of old songs and then being raped by new artists? Is there no justice in the world?

Well outside of that, the return of Daft Punk, Justin Timberlake, AFI and Janelle Monáe was brilliant as they provided me with albums I had a lot of fun listening to. In addition to that while going back in time for music I got really into Deadmau5 over the summer, continued my love for A Tribe Called Quest, Q-Tip, RX Bandits and Alexisonfire, started getting into Alter Bridge, Beastie Boys and Coheed and Cambria, revisited Yellowcard, The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather.

Top 5 Song of 2013

  1. Get Lucky by Daft Punk featuring Pharrell
  2. Suit & Tie by Justin Timberlake featuring Jay-Z
  3. I Hope You Suffer by AFI
  4. Dance Apocalyptic by Janelle Monáe
  5. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays by Issues

My Experience

Ah 2013, good gravy, as with previous years I’ve never had a good or bad year, just a mixed bag and this year was no exception. There was many highs and lows in my world and I can’t even begin to know how to describe it to you, but hell I’m gonna try.

Let’s start with the bad stuff. Well there’s been an array of shitty situations that have befallen me this year that’s put me in the worst of places like: 1) Being financially messed up and again. 2) Almost getting kicked out of my house my old landlord. 3) Living with this horrible foreign bitch. 4) Getting stranded in a random town over the summer. 5) Having the most painful dentist experience ever. 6) Getting a new job just to get fired a month later. 7) Being rejected from another lady, again. So yeah it’s not been a good time at points lol.

Then let’s talk about the reverse with the good stuff. Firstly this has been one of my most adventurous years in the sense that I went out of my way to try new things like going to my first music festival, witnessing an amazing Zelda concert, doing volunteer work again, going to the Peak District for the first time and applying for various types of jobs. Friends have also been a big part of my year, the old ones have been true blue and badass as always and now I have some new peeps in the collection too.

So it has been a crazy year, but I consider it all a learning experience and I have gained much knowledge of which I shall put to good use in the future.

Conclusion

So to summarize 2013 was a good and bad year. I had so much fun and so much tragedy go down and the world of media has given me joy and pain in many ways. Well the year is done and I’m ready to move on, hopefully 2014 will be my year, it looks promising and I’m ready for some new adventures.

Thank you all for reading whether you are my regulars or fresh new face, have a happy new year and I hope you’ll join me in again 2014. Peace out! 😀

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2013 in Films, Life, Media, Music, Reviews, Video Games

 

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End of Year Review 2012

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Hi hi ladies and gentlemen! So yeah technically 2012 is over and I was meant to have this online but December 31st but I still feel the need to reflect on the year that was 2012. A lot had happened in the world last year and while I won’t be able to cover it all in this blog post, I will try to cover everything that I saw and did throughout the year. So prepare yourselves for an epic blog post just like 2011!

Video Games

To be honest I haven’t been following video games as much as I have in recent years purely because I’ve become much more of a film kind of guy. But I still played games and gained knowledge so I’m gonna try to summarize what I recalled in 2012.

When it comes to Nintendo they’ve had a rocky year, while there have been plenty of moments of success and new gaming experiences this company has also fallen on hard times and are clearly not as powerful as they used to be. So let’s talk about the Wii, honestly I thought the console was dead, especially with Skyward Sword being the last great game on the system last year. But of course there were still a few games to be released like The Last Story, Pandora’s Tower and several of the horrible third-party games. It was only after the release of the Wii U that the Wii finally got put to rest, although there’s still that Wii Mini coming out in Canada… Why?

Anyways let’s talk about the Wii U; man was there a lot of hype for this console before it came out. Every gaming publication wanted to know the specs of the console and know what games were gonna come out and so on, eventually in November the questions were answered and to be honest the Wii U’s reception to the public has been pretty mixed. Some think it’s innovate and awesome, others think it’s an alright console and some say that it won’t stand the test of time after Sony and Microsoft release their next big consoles. In any case the Wii U has had mild success with Nintendo Land, New Super Mario Bros. U, Zombie U, Scribblenauts Unlimited and several of its ported HD games from the PS3 and Xbox 360. Most critics say it’s hard to rate the console until we see how far it can go so hopefully 2013 will be year when Nintendo sort out their new console. Then there’s the 3DS that faired a lot better than its home console counterpart. While it still sells ridiculously well in Japan over on Western shores it’s still not shifting nearly as many units and even after the 3DS XL was released with its higher battery life and bigger screens it hasn’t been big major thing Nintendo thought it was gonna be. But anyway let’s talk games, the 3DS had a lot going on this year with Kid Icarus: Uprising, New Super Mario Bros. 2, Paper Mario: Sticker Star and while not a 3DS game Pokémon Black and White 2 received a lot of praise and sold pretty well too.

I honestly didn’t pay much attention to the movements of Microsoft or Sony (even though I have a PS3 now), I guess it’s because I have never really been attached to them unlike Nintendo who I have been following for a long time now. So now I’m just going to talk about some of the biggest games of the year and how they fared in the public eye.

Here’s a list  of some of the big games of 2012: Dishonoured, Dragon’s Dogma, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Far Cry 3, Max Payne 3, Street Fighter X Tekken and Borderlands 2 are some of the biggest games that dropped in 2012 to high praise from fans and critics. Oh and then there’s Guild Wars 2, damn. I lost so many of my friends to that game in 2012, that MMORPG captivated the hearts of all who played it and I swear at one point everyone was on the hype. And then of course there was the highly-anticipated Halo 4 which literally exploded once it was released, it basically took the original formula from the former games and made it better. And of course there was the beastly Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, one of the biggest games of the year that was highly praised by fans and critics and sold ridiculously well. It’s a CoD game so it was to be expected, but this game really did try to change the formula a bit and it succeeded.

Then of course there were some big games that didn’t quite meet expectations. And of course Assassin’s Creed 3 was one of the biggest and most anticipated games of the year, and while it definitely built upon the mechanics of the previous games, there were a number of elements taken out that fans didn’t appreciate, along with glitches and an ending that split fan opinions, AC3 was a great game, but just didn’t live up to the hype for some. Mass Effect 3 was one of the most talked about games this year due to its disappointing ending and the outcry from the fan base to change what they got. Final Fantasy XIII-2, while notably better than the FFXIII still didn’t quite give certain fans what they were looking for which made some fans drift even further from Square Enix. Sonic 4: Episode 2 was also in the disappointing department, while Sega corrected several of the issues in the previous game, there were a number which weren’t sorted or were new to this game. And there’s Resident Evil 6 which tried to cover different play styles while also trying to re-insert that horror element into the game, while noted as being a better games than RE5 most fans wanted more for RE6 and didn’t get it.

As for my personal experience with 2012 games I didn’t play too many because I couldn’t really afford them haha. But I did get the chance to play some games this year. Kid Icarus: Uprising, Sonic 4: Episode 2 and Sonic Adventure 2 HD were the only games from this year I got around to playing and owning.

Films

2012 has been a pretty beastly year for films and there had been a fair share of good and bad films. So when it comes to the good films in the year there are plenty to talk about including Chronicle, Marley, The Cabin In The Woods, The Avengers, The Hunger Games, The Dark Knight Rises, The Perks of Being A Wallflower, Looper, Skyfall, Argo, Silver Linings Playbook, Frankenweenie, Rise of the Guardians, Life of Pi and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to name a few.

There have also been a number of just decent or disappointing films including Prometheus, The Amazing Spider-Man, Snow White and the Huntsman, Brave, Ted, The Bourne Legacy, The Expendables 2, Dredd, Ruby Sparks, The Cold Light of Day and Hotel Transylvania. And then there were the films that were just downright awful including Wrath of the Titans, John Carter, Battleship, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Rock of Ages and Total Recall.

Top 10 Films of 2012

  1. The Avengers
  2. The Perks of Being A Wallflower
  3. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  4. The Dark Knight Rises
  5. Skyfall
  6. Looper
  7. Silver Linings Playbook
  8. Rise of the Guardians
  9. Marley
  10. Chronicle

Annoyingly there were many films in 2012 that I didn’t get to see because of horrible UK release dates, so films like Wreck-It Ralph, The Impossible, Django Unchained, Flight and Lincoln I won’t see until this year which is really annoying, but hey what can you do? But other than waiting for 2012 films, 2013 has got so much to look forward to including The Great Gatsby, Iron Man 3, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Man of Steel, Oblivion, After Earth, Sin City: A Dame to a Kill, Evil Dead, Kick-Ass 2, Pacific Rim and Despicable Me 2 just to name a few.

Music

In the area of music this year has been an interesting year for me. In terms of recent music I’ve been trying to avoid it at all turns because in truth I hate the majority of it, everything sounds the same and several bands and music artists are starting to cross genres of music together so then there is no variation whatsoever. I thought 2011 was an endurance test for music but it just got worse this year. Everything was bloody dubstep! And while I don’t mind dubstep from time to time, it was just taken way too far this year. I couldn’t stand the sound of Skrillex this year, especially when the song “Bangarang” in the clubs this year and it also didn’t help that I saw it every second of the day when I saw the trailers for The Watch in the cinema. But anyway little rant over.

As for the new music I did follow we shall start with Chris Brown, he released “Turn Up The Music” I was hyped and while the song was okay, it was the music video that really made me love the song. His follow-up singles were alright for the clubs, but just a little too mainstream for my liking. This was also the year when Jack White released his first solo album, Blunderbuss and I literally fell in love with and played several of the tracks over and over. I was also enjoying the sounds of Calvin Harris is year, while most of his singles were alright for the clubs for me it was all about “We’ll Be Coming Back“, at first I was indifferent to this collaboration between Harris and Example, but then I became addicted and it was my song for the summer! No Doubt finally returned to the world of music with their album Push and Shove. And overall No Doubt definitely returned with a new yet familiar sound with their latest album with “Settle Down” and “Push and Shove” becoming some of my favourite songs in the summer. Then there was the epicness of Jaden Smith with his mixtape The Cool Cafe: Cool Tape Vol. 1 which was totally badass. Jaden has a style of his own that separates him from his father, also reminded me of Lupe Fiasco and was very impressive for a kid his age. And lastly the Red Hot Chili Peppers were making me all crazy when they started releasing the unreleased tracks from their last album with A and B side tracks which were really different but also very awesome.

As for other music that hasn’t necessarily been new there’s been a lot. I’ve become a lot more accustomed to The Maccabees, Soundgarden, The Kooks, David Bowie, The Strokes, Kid Cudi, Radiohead and Deadmau5 to name a few. Some of my friends’ musical tastes were definitely starting to rub off on me as I was listening to a lot my house, dance and rock music. On top of the artists labelled above I became an Arctic Monkeys fan this year as I went through their entire discography and fell in love with their sound especially with their first two albums; why I never became a fan sooner I’ll never know. One of my friends introduced me to the Rx Bandits and their fusion of rock and ska-based music became my obsession since March of this year, their sound is so good! Another obsession was Alexisonfire, while I only started listening to their music at the start of December it has become one of my favourite sounds to listen to and I am so thankful I got to see them live when they came to London, to say that they were amazing doesn’t even begin to describe how good they were! I also decided to revisit my past with Blur and found out that I really loved their sound too and I have definitely become a fan of their material too.

Top 5 Song of 2012

  1. No Doubt – Settle Down
  2. Calvin Harris – We’ll Be Coming Back
  3. Soundgarden – Live To Rise
  4. Jack White – Love Interruption
  5. Jaden Smith – The Coolest

My Experience

2012 for me has just been a mixed bag of good times and bad times and chaos. I swear if there is a god out there then he must have been testing me because I have gone through hell this year. From failing at uni to failing at job interviews, from being completely broke and unable to eat to having the worst of days at work, I have felt the ugly side of life slap me in the face several times to the point where I was ready to cave in and call it a day. But luckily I survived, and lived to fight another day. Last year I did a lot interesting stuff like travelling around Sheffield and getting lost in the process, then I also got to do some networking with some animation companies, I also ended my time in halls and moved into house over the summer and I finally completed one of my long-term goals to get a job too.

But in truth this year has been all about me and my friends of which I have forged many new alliances this year while improving on the old ones too. Those beautiful people who were there for me when I was at my lowest and the people who I shared some unforgettable times with. From having the most epic nights out like my mates’ 20th birthday to my own 22nd birthday flat party to all of those nights at Corp, good gravy this year has all been about going out and partying it up. But besides clubbing it up, I have also spent time just hanging at my friends’ houses or in the pub or going out to lunch or just having coffee, you the simple things. I have enjoyed these small moments of happiness. I’ve also had a lot of support from my family members last year when I really needed them and I appreciate them even more than ever! 2012 was also the first year since 2009 where I had gone to the London MCM London Expo for one day only, but I still had a cracking time with my main man Chris and my other friend Craig.

Also it’s been a lovely year of blogging; I think I’ve finally found my passion for writing again through blogging in addition to my scriptwriting class in uni too. I have found myself on WordPress more times than I care to remember just writing about anything and everything, but I have definitely taken this whole blogging thing a lot more seriously and proper gotten into it when doing my film reviews too. I am just glad I have found a productive thing to do in my spare time and I’m also glad that I have people who enjoy reading what I write about too.

Conclusion

So to summarize 2012 was a mixed bag, there have been many great moments, but I also went through a lot of horrible shit that made a lot of days unbearable. It seems like ever since 2007 or 2008 all of my years since have been a mixed experience with there never being a solid good or bad year, what gives? Oh well, that’s the way life works I guess. Well I’ve got a lot of stuff planned and I’ve got hope for the future so let’s rock it! YEAH BRING ON 2013 YO!

Thanks for reading people, have a happy new year and I hope you’ll join me in 2013. Peace out! 😀

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2013 in Films, Life, Media, Music, Reviews, Video Games

 

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End of Year Review 2011

So here we are ladies and gentlemen at the end of another year, my goodness this year feels like it moved so slowly and yet here we are nearing the end of 2011 and looking back on everything that took place in this year it all seems to have flown by in a flash. A lot has happened in the world this year and I really mean a lot, there’s even been a fair amount of things that’s gone down in my world too. But at the same time for all this year’s happenings things have been pretty tame and dull when compared to previous years.

When a year comes to an end it always seems to come out of nowhere, like you’re always aware it’s going to happen but never see it coming until the last-minute and when you are in the last days of December it gets kind of surreal to know that you’ll be transitioning into another year with brand new experiences just around the corner. I always look forward to the future purely because of the level of unpredictability it brings, obviously there’s specific stuff I look forward to in the New Year like games or films or personal life-changing experiences I may have, and I assume there will be a lot of that in 2012. However for now I shall look back on the year and reflect on all the happenings that I can recall over the past year. Oh and by the way this blog post is going to be absurdly long so if you don’t want to read the entire thing skip to the parts relevant to you or if you’re really lazy just read the conclusion at the bottom. 😀

Video Games

It is strange, this year in terms of gaming has been very interesting and there have been some absolutely incredible titles showing up over the course of the year, and the change and shift in power between Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony in console wars and games development department has definitely taken a dramatic turn in a lot of ways. Also this year mobile gaming has become more apparent and all the talk surrounding the 8th generation of gaming is amplifying with Nintendo 3DS already out, the PlayStation Vita soon to be released and then with the Nintendo Wii U supposedly coming out next year. And there’s the rumours surrounding the PS4 and Xbox 720 too, so the future of gaming is actually starting to be talked about in a realistic manner.

This year has been a fairly rocky one for Nintendo with the release of their 3DS handheld in March. The 3DS had a fairly poor launch, it also had a hefty price tag and many gamers wondered if the 3DS would be worth buying at launch. Unfortunately for Nintendo people didn’t run out to buy the 3DS and the sales figures showed. The initial set of sales showed a slow but decent number of 3DS units being sold, however after a while the 3DS became non-existent. Sure there was The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D and Resident Evil: The Mercenaries to keep people preoccupied, but it wasn’t enough and for while the 3DS looked like it was just going die before all the good games showed up. Eventually Star Fox 64 3D shifted a few units, but it really wasn’t until November when actual good first party material showed up. Thanks to Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 the 3DS survived and helped shift a good number of units. Nintendo also gave a price cut to the 3DS along with software updates and Gameboy games were made available too. The 3DS was finally in a good place in the world of gaming. Along with their problems with the 3DS the Wii saw itself falling off of the face of the earth, with there being only two major releases over the course of the entire year which was Kirby’s Return to Dreamland and the highly anticipated The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. While the latest Zelda has been highly praised, in the end it wasn’t enough. It was clear that the Wii was on its way out especially with the Wii U so close by. And speaking of the Wii U, let’s look back to E3 2011 when Nintendo showed off the Wii U, the successor to its current home console. It’s a new a console that also has a tablet-like controller that you can play your games on and you can also shift the games you play from the tablet controller to the console. The hardware specs say that the console is going to be HD compatible, has many USB ports and there was going to be so much more third-party games on this new console when compared to the Wii. Everything seemed better, although the hardware seemed to be so much better than the current Wii console, in a way it was a few years too late. A HD Nintendo console is all and well, but again it’s too late and by the time the PS4 and Xbox 720 show up, graphically and hardware-wise Nintendo will probably be trailing in the dust again unless they have some very well hidden strategy. We can only wait until 2012 and see what happens.

I haven’t really followed Microsoft or Sony this year purely because I’m mainly a Nintendo-based gamer, unless the games were really worth my attention. All I know is that there have been some fabulous games this year, other than the already mentioned Zelda: Skyward Sword, other great games have show up in the shape of Portal 2, Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, Mortal Kombat 9, FIFA 12, the epic Skyrim, the critically acclaimed Uncharted 3, the endless Minecraft, Mario Kart 7, Infinity Blade II, the long-awaited Batman: Arkham City, the unforgiving Dark Souls and Gears of War 3 just to name a few. In my world of gaming I only got around to playing two big games of 2011, which was Sonic Generations and Zelda: Skyward Sword, both games gave me endless hours of joy, though obviously Zelda was the much better game by miles! I eventually got around to playing Mortal Kombat 9 too just before Christmas, which was stupidly awesome by the way. But the fact that I’ve only played 3 big games in 2011 shows how little gaming is part of my world these days. Before in previous years I would have gone to extreme lengths to play all of these games, but I guess I’m not as bothered as I used to be. That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop playing games though, because that’s just crazy talk, I am a gamer. Fact. 🙂

Films

When it comes to film in 2011 I’m not gonna lie, this year was a bit of a let-down to be honest. When this year started I was so excited for all material I was going to witness in the cinema and I thought that this year would be a totally fabulous year for cinema. However over course of the year several films came and were fairly lacklustre, uninspiring and downright disappointing. I wanted to cry and started to question what is going on with the world of cinema. Though this year hasn’t been all bad, there have actually been some good films that I have had the pleasure of watching, there have even been some brilliant films spread out over the year, though it’s unfortunate because it’s those films that are normally never seen. 2011 has also been a partially annoying year due to the continuing amount of sequels, remakes/reboots and spin-offs that keep getting made and let’s not forget the continuing amount of films that we were forced to watch in 3D that frustrated many cinema-goers to no end because of the additional price on top of your ticket and most of the time the 3D effect didn’t make a difference.

So let’s talk about the good films I have seen. So let’s start with Source Code, now this was a film I knew nothing about but heard many interesting things so I went to watch it with an open mind and it was lovely. It was a great film with an intriguing story and good sci-fi elements and I believe this to be Jake Gyllenhaal’s best film. Fast Five, the 5th instalment in the series was probably the best in the series as it delivers action on so many levels and it was just entertaining and that’s all that anyone could want from this series. It had cars, girls and Vin Diesel vs. Dwayne Johnson, sweet! Now moving onto my favourite film of the year, Thor. My god was that film was awesome, I really love it! Thor just had a great story to tell, with all the family drama between Thor and not only his brother Loki, but also his father and then there’s the adventures he has with the earthlings after he gets banished from his home world. It was just pure fun for me and that’s why I saw the film 5 times! Then I watched my second Marvel film which was X-Men: First Class which was surprisingly amazing, I was wary of this film due to the way the Wolverine film turned out. But First Class was a breath of fresh air and it kicked ass. I also saw Kung-Fu Panda 2 and that was definitely one of the best sequels I’ve seen in an animated format. I also got to watch this awesome documentary called Senna which was one of the best films I have ever seen. For me a person as a person who’s never been interested in Formula 1 the film was incredibly informative and engaging, very emotional and truly magnificent.

With 2011 also came the final film in the Harry Potter film series in the form of Harry Potter And the Deathly Hallows Part 2. It was a day I never wanted to come but in the end all things have to finish and the final Harry Potter film was lovely and quite emotional too, I watched it 3 times because I couldn’t let go of the characters yet! Over the summer I also got around to watching Super 8, the mysterious science fiction film that was hidden away from the world until a few months prior to the film’s release. I thought the film was nice, beautiful, heartfelt and even magical in some ways. Continuing through the summer was the highly anticipated film for The Inbetweeners TV series, The Inbetweeners Movie. I saw the trailers but I thought the film would be pants because most films based TV series’ suck, but luckily this film didn’t, in fact it was one of the funniest films I have seen in the cinema for years, maybe ever. And then the last film I saw in the summer was the reboot/prequel Rise of the Planet of the Apes and that was absolutely awesome, it had great story to tell, some great action and CGI and Andy Serkis was frigging wicked! Then in September I decided to watch Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy which had a very impressive trailer prior to the film’s release so I watched it and was impressive, but also very, very confusing. The film was so many layers of story along with a non-linear style of story-telling and it was hard to keep track of everything that was going on, maybe I’m just stupid but a lot of things in that film was way beyond my comprehension.

And after that I was away from the cinema for 3 months due to my busy schedule with uni and timing issues. So when December came into play the first film I saw was Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. I had been waiting for this film for so long and luckily it met my expectations and then exceeded them, the film was great full of action, a great story and character development too. I then watched Puss in Boots next out of interest to see if it would be any good when compared to the Shrek films and man it was actually really good. It was a lot better than the last 2 Shrek films and it stands on its own in a unique world full of adventure and great leading characters. Then after Boxing Day I saw Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and it was wicked!  It was a film I didn’t think would work because I didn’t believe it was entirely necessary, but then I watched he film and was overly impressed, it had action to an absurd level, Tom Cruise is still badass and Brad Bird is an amazing director who needs to be directing more films. And the last film I saw in 2011 was the American version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I was hoping that this would be good, though since it was David Fincher directing I wasn’t going to doubt his powers and he delivered a great film which was as disturbing as it was brilliant, Rooney Mara was incredible as the main character and Daniel Craig was equally good in the film too.

Now let’s talk about the bad films of 2011 starting with Sucker Punch, my god that film sucked. It was one of those sort of films that had too many ideas in the pre-production process and someone just decided to mesh all the ideas together into one story and that’s what this film felt like to me, a cluttered mess with ideas that weren’t fully realised. Besides the fact that the visual effects and the women who all looked hot in the end that didn’t compensate for the bad acting, bad plot and an overall bad movie. Then there was also the 4th instalment in the Pirates of the Caribbean series that shouldn’t have happened, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. For me the film was just okay, just barely better than the last film but that’s not saying much, Captain Jack Sparrow just isn’t as entertaining as he used to be and the film felt like a wasted opportunity and I felt like I wasted my time watching it the cinema. There was also another 4th instalment in another film series and that was Scream 4 which was a long-delayed sequel featuring the entire original cast member from the first 3 films, the film was alright, but not anything worth shouting about.

Next we have the film adaptation of Green Lantern, for some reason ever since I saw the first trailer I knew this film was gonna suck, while the later trailers looked better, I still wasn’t totally convinced, so then I watched the film and man was it lame. The GL film just wasn’t something you could take seriously and while I know it comes from the realm of science fiction, there has to be some level of realism for the audience to believe what’s going on or the film doesn’t work. I just didn’t like the film and it has proved once again that DC have a long way to go before they can make any films that aren’t Batman-related. With the summer coming into play, we were treated to comedy sequel The Hangover Part 2. Now for me I didn’t think that the first Hangover film needed a sequel, it was great on its own, but heck that’ll never stop Hollywood because they’re corrupt when it comes to film sequels. Basically The Hangover 2 was bad, sure there were a few chuckles to be had but overall the film was just the same as the original except it was in another location, with a different missing person, but the film was just bad, end of. Another sequel that sucked was Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Now before this film came out I had hoped it would be good, heck I would have hoped it was at least going to be better than Revenge of the Fallen, however my hopes were dashed when I actually saw the film. Man, the 3rd instalment in the Transformers films from Michael Bay just sucked, just plain sucked. There was nothing creditable about the film outside of the CGI robot fights, but otherwise this was one of the most forgettable films of 2011 and I continuously forget it even existed, that’s how bad it was.

And last now for the last disappointing film of this year which was Captain America: The First Avenger. Now I know that there were a lot of people who really liked this film, but to me this film just felt like it lacked that special superhero feeling that makes most other films in this genre work. The film rushed over too aspects in Steve Rogers’ life and most of the action scenes were in montage and was most of that stuff we saw in the trailers. But I think the main thing that hurt my soul was Hugo Weaving’s depiction of the Red Skull. Though he looked the part, somehow the filmmakers dumbed down his character making him come across as some sort of boring generic supervillain wanting to take over the world, there was so much more to the character than that and I wish it had been explored more.

My Top 5 Favourite Films of the Year:

  1. X-Men: First Class
  2. Thor
  3. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  4. Harry Potter And the Deathly Hallows Part 2
  5. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

My Professional Top 10 Films of the Year:

  1. Senna
  2. X-Men: First Class
  3. Thor
  4. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  5. Harry Potter And the Deathly Hallows Part 2
  6. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
  7. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
  8. Kung-Fu Panda 2
  9. Puss In Boots
  10. Fast Five

Music

When it comes to music in 2011 strangely a lot hasn’t changed, most new music I don’t really care about it either because it all sounds the same or it just generally sucks. That’s my basic opinion of things, don’t hate. However I can probably say that I was pretty into music more so this year than I was last year due to an open mind, constant radio airplay and friends constantly playing songs until they were embedded in my mind. Most of the music that I listened to this year was from continuing artists who had established themselves before 2010 unless they were new artists with a good sound. Chris Brown finally returned to the world of music properly after his rocky path in his career with his new album F.A.M.E which was a pretty darn good improvement over his previous album. The Friendly Fires returned in 2011 with the second album Pala which took the band in a different direction in terms of sound while still retaining the awesome sounds they created with their first album. The Red Hot Chili Peppers busted out their latest album, I’m With You in August and while a lot of long-time fans can’t accept the fact that the old guitarist John Frusciante isn’t part of the band anymore and hate the new album, in my opinion I love the album, though it’s an album that takes a little while to get into, when you find your groove this albums sounds really incredible. The Foo Fighters also busted out their latest album Wasting Light in the early part of 2011 and it was one of the best albums I had heard for a while, it’s loud its proud and has incredible amounts of replay value.

Other than albums I have listened to I have found myself listening to a lot more artists than I usually would. Like Katy Perry for instance, her singles from her Teenage Dream album really did start to grow on me this year and LMFAO were a group which I really didn’t care for when their first single came out even though it was fairly addictive, it wasn’t until I got their album and the single “Sexy And I Know It” came out that I became a fan. I was also obsessed with the song “Earthquake” by Labrinth featuring Tinie Tempah, at first it just started out as a song I heard via my sister and then my friend picked it up and played it ever since September and continuously we have raved to that song whenever the opportunity represented itself. I also found myself listening to Deadmau5, David Guetta, Tinie Tempah, The Kooks & Maroon 5 too. I also became obsessed with the band Them Crooked Vultures, their self-titled album was one of the best things I had ever heard, I continuously listened to the songs “Elephants”, “Bandoliers”, “Dead End Friends” and “Reptiles”. I have become one of their new biggest fans and I am eagerly anticipating their follow-up album.

Though I have listened to much more new music then I did in the previous 2 years, I have still been looking further into the past for my music needs. I have also expanded my listening habits with more attention paid to jazz, classical, hip-hop, dance and rock music. I found out this year that I was really into jazz, more so than ever before. So there was much love for Joe Henderson and Yellowjackets among others. I have also gone back to the 90s for my hip-hop with a lot of A Tribe Called Quest going on in my iTunes.

My Top 5 Songs of the Year

  1. Labrinth – Earthquake
  2. Chris Brown – Beautiful People
  3. Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie
  4. Friendly Fires – Hawaiian Air
  5. Foo Fighters – Rope

But my real obsession with music this year has come from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. My god, I am so in love with their music at this point in my life and it was in the year 2011 that made that fact so very clear to me. I mean I’ve always loved their sound and have a lot of love for their albums Blood Sugar Sex Magik, By The Way and Californication. But when their new album I’m With You hit I thought to myself I had to get it. So when their first hit, “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie” I was initially in two minds about it but then I couldn’t stop playing it, then when I heard “Brendan’s Death Song” my ears were so moved by what they heard. So I decided in September that I wanted to see them live when they came to Sheffield in November. I listened to the album the same month and while initially it wasn’t what I had expected, there were definitely some proper awesome tracks on the album. Then I saw them in concert and I blew up, seeing them at the Motorpoint Arena was the most incredible thing of my life! And finally after all these years I got to see one my favourite bands live. It was after that I became obsessed with the Chili Peppers and I played their music continuously for ages, it was like I had to have my fix of their music all the time or I’d blow up.

Personal

Man oh man. In 2011 there have been several revelations that have taken place in my world which have literally changed my life in many ways, some it for the good and some of it for the worse. One big thing that happened was that I turned 21, but all that I did was chill in college doing a radio takeover, I went to London for dinner with family and friends but in the end I didn’t do anything extra or any partying, it was pretty tame and boring haha. Moving onto college, let’s go back to the earlier part of the year back I was still working as a voluntary media technician, man times were so much different back then. Continuing from when I started my volunteering job back in September 2010, over that course of time I was still working the college radio, doing tedious work-based tasks for tutors and expanding my friend collection on the side. I also found out the true meaning of manual labour when I was left up in Stockwood Park Discovery Centre, on several days I was sent up there to remove staples from walls, plaster holes in walls and paint walls for days on end.

My god it was like I was losing my mind in there, luckily I had my music to keep me alive but still I was so lonely working on an exhibition that wasn’t gonna take place for weeks. When it was completed the end result was pretty good, but still those were days of my life that I’d never get back. But other than my suffering working on that exhibition I truly did learn what it was like to work in a real job environment, to be needed by people, to help tutors and students and be part of a team. I had a lot of jobs to do, many of which I really didn’t like doing; besides handling the radio stuff, everything else felt like a tedious task to be honest. I lost so much enthusiasm for life in that place. Though it’s funny, for all the work I did do, I was fairly irresponsible and didn’t do as much as I should have, though to be frank I had done a fair amount of stuff so I really took my breaks when I needed them. So when my time at college ended in July and me and the rest of the Vtalent volunteers went our separate ways it was a heart-breaking, yet joyful moment, joyful in the sense that we’d never have work and suffer ever again, but at the same time I was losing my friends who’d been crew that had been built up since September.

Other than working at college one other major thing has happened to me which has changed my world; the fact that I went to university. Yep, I saddled up, left my hometown and went off to establish a new life in Sheffield. Now I had been told many things about uni before I went up so I had a few ideas of what to expect, but when I went up there in September nothing could have prepared me for happened. Firstly in my accommodation I found out I was not only the last man to show up, but that I was going to be sharing my flat with 4 other guys which was strange due to the fact that we all signed up for mixed gender lol. Secondly we went out on the night I arrived and I was introduced to the awesome nightlife, holy man there was so lights, so many people all over the place, so many different types of clubs and such electrifying in the air, it was frigging sweet. Thirdly I actually started my course in animation, now animation is something I’ve wanted to do for years but have never had the time or the mind-set to tackle it, so with it being part of uni then it would be mandatory so I would have to the work haha. And while it took a while for the course to get going and some of the assignments and lectures were a bit bogus, but in the end I have adjusted and enjoyed a lot of my work so far. And lastly it’s all been about living in Sheffield, it took me around a week or 2 to realise that living in Sheffield on my own was actually happening, that it was real and that this was my life. I did miss my house, my family and Luton to some degree but at the same time I didn’t. The new city I was living in presented so much to do at night but also in the day too and most importantly after only a short time Sheffield, it felt like home and it’s where I wanna hang for a while.

Another incredible thing that happened to me which I almost completely forgot about was the fact that in the summer I finally got to go to America for the first time as we headed off to Orlando for a week of epic fun. Thanks to the power of my mum, I got to head out to America and experience that wonderful place first-hand. From the endless amounts of television I watched to the fun times I spent chilling by the pool, it was all just wonderful. Even though it was raining for the majority of the time we were in Orlando it was still great, I got to see actual tornadoes which was totally amazing and loads of lightning and thunder too. We did however get some sunshine and when it did come it was absurdly hot, Orlando was on fire and when you stepped outside it was like walking into an oven! I was melting in a matter of minutes. While down in Orlando we went shopping and I finally got to see what the deal was with Wal-Mart and holy man the place was huge, like an IKEA but with everything in there. But the best part of the holiday was the food, holy man the portion size was massive and it tasted hella good. From having pizza 4 days in a row, to the finest steak I ever had as part of my dinner on my final night in America, everything was unhealthy and lovely and I’d gladly do it all over again. Even though 7 days isn’t nearly long enough for a holiday in America, let alone anywhere else in the world, it was worth the time.

This year has also seen the power of friendship play a big part in my life. Friendship has been one of the most important things to me this year in college or hanging out in my home town or in university. Over the summer I found some new people to hang with after going to a friend’s birthday party, we decided to hang at one point and swear it was like instant friendship. So after summer came uni and I really wasn’t sure if I was gonna make any friends because I’m mega nervous and paranoid about how I come across to people. But luckily my flatmates were awesome enough to befriend me and I now I loved them like they were my best friends. Outside of my lovely flatmates I found new friends and new opportunities for fun in the Hallam University Games Society (or HUGS for short) that me and flatmate joined back in September and to be honest I dunno where I’d be without it. HUGS are the group which gives you an incredible place where gaming takes place in a beautiful environment, filled with beautiful people. It’s funny though at first it was just about being around the games and the gamers, but then it became more about the people and after just a short time we’ve all created strong bonds with each other and we’ve become a family. We’ve gone out on social events from playing Bear Pong to having raves in Quasar (Laser Tag) it’s totally awesome.

For me this has been a year of change and transition, where many things took place and changed my life for both good and bad reasons. Not all of my year has been fun and joy, I have been very sad and depressed at many points, contrary to my normal demeanour. I have also had to deal with a lot of bull from a lot of people and other crap I shall not go into at this point. But for better or worse 2011 has come and gone and I think things will work themselves out eventually, I just don’t want to feel so down-in-the-dumps ever again because a happy me is the one that everyone wants to see.

Summary

In the end 2011 had its moments of awesomeness and I can honestly say that a lot of good stuff has happened this year in not only my own life but in the world too. I’ve done a lot of partying, I have too many friends to count, I love music, film and video-games even more than before and living in a new place is actually a lot of fun. However this year has also been fairly frustrating, complicated and downright dull too. Films in the world of cinema weren’t as strong as previous years, I am continuously broke and I have had some troubling realisations with the cruel side of reality. But for all the bad times that this year has presented, there has been much to love and celebrate and most importantly to learn from too. With 2012 on the horizon there is so much to look forward to in the world of film and video games; I’m stupidly excited for I shall find in the new year. In truth all I really want is to see The Hobbit film and then I’ll be satisfied 😀 (oh and also The Avengers, Batman Spider-Man and MIB3 films too.) So if 2012 is the year when we as the human race are meant to kick the bucket and everything is going to cease to exist then let’s go out with a bang and live up life to extreme with no regrets.

Happy New Year you beautiful people and I’ll see ya in 2012! 😀

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2011 in Anime, Films, Life, Media, Music, Reviews, Video Games

 

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