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DOUBLE REVIEW: A Star Is Born & Venom

Howdy ladies and gents of the internet, its review time once again and last week I watched A Star Is Born and Venom and I really wanted to share my opinion on those films online, so I’ve done my reviews for both films via my podcast, Film Focus and I’ve shared the episode in this post for y’all to check out.

Now I’m not gonna like, A Star Is Born is a film I was interested in but it wasn’t on my radar until I saw the trailer not too long ago and I honestly can’t hide my love for the film and you’ll hear it in the episode haha. 😀 And with Venom, from the outset I wasn’t down with the idea of this partly because removing Spider-Man, the key element of what makes Venom so compelling in the first place felt like a bad idea, but also because of the way Sony handled the Spidey franchise and basically made that cinematic universe implode before it even began, I was cautious of how they’d make the film work. So what did I think of Venom? Well, listen to the episode to find out.

Timecodes:

02:08 A Star Is Born Review
15:26 Venom Review

Check out my thoughts on both films in episode 60 below:

P.S. I may have made a few mistakes with a few things here and there so apologies in advance.

So have you seen A Star Is Born or Venom or both? And if so what did you think of them? Whatever your thoughts are, drop them in the comments below and if you have some spare time check out my podcast, Film Focus on Soundcloud and iTunes. Until next time, laters! 😀

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Posted by on October 8, 2018 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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PODCAST: Film Focus Episode 59 – 2018 Summer Movie Recap

Howdy ladies and gents of the internet, as some of you may have seen, in 2016 I started a film podcast entitled Film Focus and on this podcast, I talk about various topics in film and reviews as well on a biweekly basis. And the latest episode is a casual discussion on the summer films of 2018.

Here’s episode 59:

This was a topic I wanted to cover almost 2 weeks ago but because of work, rescheduling and the release of The Predator, I had to push it back. But I knew I had to do it as I had so much fun last year, plus there were a good few films I never got to review on the blog or podcast, so this is a meaty episode but a fun one for sure. However, I am not alone, to help me with this task is returning guest Eddie from Jaccendo and Sidekick Reviews. From Avengers: Infinity War to Incredibles 2 to Crazy Rich Asians and The Predator, we cover a bunch of notable releases that came out from April through to September.

In this episode Eddie and I discuss the following:

1) Our general thoughts on the summer films of 2018
2) We talk about all of the films we saw during the summer
3) After the main discussion, we then highlight both our favourite and most surprising films of the summer

P.S. There are a few mistakes in terms of misspoken names of actors, characters and so on, I’m aware of them, I can only apologise in advance.

As I mentioned before I’ll cover a different topic or review in each episode and since I don’t have much in the way of listeners or promotion, I’m here to spread the word about my podcast. 🙂

You can find my main site on Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/film_focus

Or if you’re on iTunes subscribe and rate me on there: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/film-focus/id1114233892?mt=2

So if you have some spare time on your hands and would like to listen to the ramblings of a passionate/strange man then please check it out, and share it with your friends if they are fans of film discussion. Also, you have any feedback or if you’d be interested in joining in future episodes be sure to let me know, until next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2018 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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What I’m Currently Watching #41

Howdy ladies and gents, and welcome to What I’m Currently Watching, a blog series where I give you an update on what TV-based stuff I’m watching and give mini reviews/impressions on them. It is week 41, and after watching a few shows recently I have felt inspired to once again share my thoughts on them online. So today I once again be talking about Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, but I will also be talking about Disenchantment, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan and Bojack Horseman. With that out of the way let’s talk about some TV! 😀

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing (Eps 13-25)

Ah, Gundam Wing, after watching those first 12 episodes I was all in on this show, but as the show went on it changed, evolved and then became something more complex than I expect. Seeing the 5 main Gundam pilots go on their own adventures on Earth, unfortunately lose their robots and eventually travel into space to the colonies and continue their mission was fascinating because of how it affects them mentally and emotionally. I thought it was pretty intriguing and surprising to see how the Gundams were this unstoppable force, but as OZ made their advancements in mobile suits technology and had the larger numbers in the army, they were able to take out the heroes and so it really looked like the bad take over especially with how they convinced the colonies that the Gundams were bad and that OZ’s military force was for security purposes. I loved seeing more of the designers behind the Gundams, those dudes were cool, and Lady Une, someone I absolutely hated at first, she ended up being one of the most engaging characters because of her split personality and seeing more of Relena and Zechs was cool especially after Relena learns of her relation to her brother. And though I love Heero, it was really cool to see more of Trowa, his journey was probably the more interesting a varied of the pilots, but Quarte, that dude had one hell of a journey, losing the plot and becoming disillusioned to the mission and going on this crazy hunt to destroy the colonies, that was intense. After finishing episode 25 it definitely felt like the end of an era within this show and it was transitioning into something different with the state of the government, OZ and their military powers, the new Gundams and the state of the original Gundam pilots. I’m still very much invested in this show even if some of the storylines aren’t as consistently interesting as others.

Disenchantment (Season 1)

I remember hearing about this show for the first time back in the summer and then seeing the first trailer just after Comic-Con at thought it was a strange and new direction for Matt Groening considering the setting and characters, but I was curious to see how it turned out. And the initial reactions after the show dropped were mixed to lukewarm to what I’d seen briefly online so I expected the worst, but after the first episode, I was totally on board. I watched the first few episodes in random patches and on finished the last 3 episodes in the last week. So after watching all 10 episodes, I can say that I enjoyed Disenchantment, it certainly has its flaws, but I when it worked I was entertained, I laughed and it was mainly engaged thanks to the characters. I really liked the world, its strange and interesting rules and law, and the humourous approach to most things that shouldn’t be funny like death. The humour doesn’t always land, but when it did I laughed mainly due to the stupidity or absurdity of what happens to characters with well-timed physical or verbal jokes. I love the theme song, I hummed it every time it came on after the first episode haha. But it is the characters that really make the show work, Bean, Luci and Elfo are an interesting bunch of individuals who work really well as a group with their banter and chemistry, I cared about them not only because they made me laugh, but because I liked what they did and how they grew as people especially towards the end of the show (well not so much Luci). I liked how the show felt episode but had continuity over the course of the season, it was surprising to learn where the story was ultimately going, learning of certain mysteries and revelations and having certain plot points from the start of the season finally have pay-off towards the end. And while I appreciated the more heartfelt approach to the show towards the end, at the same time I didn’t feel as emotionally invested as I think show wanted me to be and was surprised that story ended the way it, not in a bad way but just not in an overly satisfying way. But in the end, I enjoyed the show and will watch another season. 🙂

Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan (Season 1)

So this show wasn’t really on my radar, I mean I was certainly curious about it from a distance because it was another Jack Ryan adaptation and I was curious to see if it would fair better than the 2012 film Shadow Recruit with Chris Pine. But last week I had some free time and my mum and I just binged the show over two sessions, and you know what it was some good tv. I’m not overly into political thrillers just because sometimes they can be complex, layered and hard to follow and politics just never holds my interest in films (with a handful of exceptions to the rule). But this show was pretty clear in terms of what it was, how it progressed and concluded. I also enjoyed the cast especially John Krasinski as Jack Ryan, he was heroic, but also impulsive and didn’t always have the right solution for every situation and Wendell Pierce as James Greer was awesome as Ryan’s boss, he’s a bit of a hard-ass, but as the show progresses we learn more about him and he eventually chills out a little bit. I also loved the relationship between Ryan and Greer, they’re normally at odds with each other because of their different tactics but I liked seeing their relationship evolve. Abbie Cornish was also good as Cathy Mueller, and Dina Shihabi was very impressive as Hanin Ali, Suleiman’s wife. And finally, there’s Ali Suliman as Mousa Bin Suleiman, he was really intimidating and quietly intense as an Islamic terrorist and because we learn of his backstory and attachment he is to his family, he ended up being a captivating villain. I also enjoyed how the show didn’t just focus on the Jack Ryan’s perspective, but also on the main villain Suleiman and his motivations so you could understand why he does what he does. One of the best aspects of the show beyond the performances was the rising tension and escalation of danger and chaos, once certain situations start to play out the show just ramps up and never stops moving and that sense of urgency was very engaging and addictive. In a way I thought the overall plot could/would have carried over into season 2, but it was nicely wrapped up over the 8 episodes.

Bojack Horseman (Season 5)

Last year Bojack Horseman became one of my favourite TV shows in recent years because of its dramatic, uncomfortable, yet engaging and humourous content, and after the emotional rollercoaster that was season 4, I was totally ready for the next season. And season 5 has been one hell of a journey, building upon the foundations of previous seasons and presenting new and familiar characters and scenarios resulting in very engaging TV which was very hard to watch at times. While this season didn’t have the same emotional gut punch of season 4, it did have plenty of really insightful, poignant and agonizing moments that remind me of not only how incredible the show is thanks to all the writers, but also how much these stories and flawed characters remind me of real life. It was interesting to see Bojack and the rest of the cast end up making this TV show, and how their stories progressed on and off of the film set through non-linear storytelling, trips out of town, flashbacks and episodes that blurred the lines between fiction and reality. All of it was handled in creative, raw and hilarious ways. I found myself shouting at my laptop in disbelief at some of the stuff that happened on-screen and at several points I just had to stop and take in what happened because some of the issues the show tackles is deep and thought-provoking. .Also, the show’s funny, I’ve never found the show to be super hilarious, but this season may have some of my favourite laughs of the show so far with some of the one-liners and physical humour.

As for the cast is incredible, Will Arnett (Bojack), Amy Sedaris (Princess Carolyn), Alison Brie (Diane), Paul F. Tompkins (Mr. Peanutbutter) and Aaron Paul (Todd) deliver some of their best material to date alongside some great supporting and new cast members. I love learning more about Princess Carolyn’s past, seeing what Diane was up to and how she’s dealing with her own drama and the ever surprising and crazy life of Todd has never been funnier. Also shout outs to Rami Malek as Flip McVicker, Stephanie Beatriz as Gina, Issa Rae as Dr. Indira and Wanda Sykes as Mary BethBut. But now I wanted to focus Bojack specifically, he’s someone I really disliked in season 1, but later on I grew to cheer for him, for as shitty as he was and all the horrible things he’d gotten up to over the seasons, I could relate to his emotional state on several occasions and as he started to learn about himself and grow, I just wanted to see him change for the better. And while he does learn and grow, he also has to face up to all of his transgressions, and this season was the first time where I just couldn’t support him, he went to some dark and troubled places that were almost unbearable to watch and I’m not sure he’ll recover from it, but damn Will Arnett did damn good work with is voice acting. And after all of the drama and chaos the season ends in the place that I thought it would, not to give any spoilers, but after everything that happened with Bojack, the final moments of the show felt like the only logical conclusion and it was handled very well. I don’t know if I can handle any more of this show’s crazy and intense drama, but it’s so good that I can’t help but want to see what happens if and when season 6 rolls around.

Well, that’s what I’ve been watching. So have you seen any of these shows and if so what do you think of them? If you have any thoughts be sure to drop a comment below and let me know what TV shows you’re currently watching too. Until next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2018 in Reviews, TV Reviews

 

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PODCAST: Film Focus Episode 58 – The Predator Film Series

Howdy ladies and gents of the internet, as some of you may have seen, in 2016 I started a film podcast entitled Film Focus and on this podcast, I talk about various topics in film and reviews as well on a biweekly basis. And the latest episode is a casual discussion on the Predator film series.

Here’s episode 58:

Over the last few days I’ve rewatched Predator, Predator 2 and Predators in preparation for the new film that will be out next week and while watching them I thought it would be a good opportunity to talk about the series as a whole and share my nostalgic memories as well as talk about the pros and cons of each film and share my thoughts on what I think about The Predator considering the trailers I’ve seen so far.

As I mentioned before I’ll cover a different topic or review in each episode and since I don’t have much in the way of listeners or promotion, I’m here to spread the word about my podcast. 🙂

You can find my main site on Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/film_focus

Or if you’re on iTunes subscribe and rate me on there: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/film-focus/id1114233892?mt=2

So if you have some spare time on your hands and would like to listen to the ramblings of a passionate/strange man then please check it out, and share it with your friends if they are fans of film discussion. Also, you have any feedback or if you’d be interested in joining in future episodes be sure to let me know, until next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2018 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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What I’m Currently Watching #40: Mobile Suit Gundam Wing (Eps 1-12)

Howdy ladies and gents, and after AGES I’ve decided to resurrect What I’m Currently Watching, a blog series where I give you an update on what TV-based stuff I’m watching and give mini reviews/impressions on them. It is week 40, and like I said before, it has been AGES since the last time I talked about any TV-related material on here. I have watched a handful of shows here and there over the course of 2018, but recently I’ve been revisiting Mobile Suit Gundam Wing and I’ve been enjoying it so much that I just had to write about it. Be careful of mild spoilers! With that out of the way let’s talk about some TV! 😀

Ah, Gundam Wing, I have fond memories of this show and yet, upon rewatching the show recently I realised how little of it I actually saw. Before getting into this review let me give you a little history, Gundam Wing was the first mecha anime I’d ever seen back on Toonami in 2000 or 2001 and while I didn’t really understand what was going on and it was a lot slower in pace to the anime I’d seen before that Pokemon, Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z, but I was enamoured by it because of the difference in serious tone, art style and of course the awesome robot suits and music. I had at least 2 episodes recorded on VHS which I watched many times as a teenager and over the years since becoming a big film fan and becoming well-versed in anime in many genres, I had been meaning to go back to this and watch it properly ,but because I was binging so much live-action TV at uni from late 2011 onwards I just never got around to it until now.

So with that mini history lesson out of the way, what do I think of Gundam Wing? Honestly? I love it. No word of a lie, this show had me intrigued from the beginning from a nostalgic point of view but as the episodes progressed I found myself being more and more captivated by the story and characters. And let me just say this, the first 8 episodes are some of the most engaging TV I have seen in years, for real. This may seem like a bit of an exaggerated statement, but I’m serious, this show has a great sense of intrigue, mystery and style that just gets better as it progresses.

So whats the show about? Well, I’m going to borrow a wonderfully written summary from redcommander27 on IMDB: “In the future, humanity has constructed several space colonies. But the corrupt Treize and his organization Oz have manipulated the United Earth Sphere Alliance into controlling earth and its colonies with an iron fist. To counteract this extreme measure, rebel colonies launch Operation: Meteor; an attempt to smuggle Mobile Suits made of Gundanium alloy to earth to combat the corruption and free earth and the colonies from Oz’s control. One of these “Gundams” is piloted by Heero Yuy, who is shot down and is forced to blend into enemy society. Now up against social issues with a girl named Relena and Oz and its puppets, Heero must unite with other rebels and save his people.

What I love about this show is the way it drops you into the middle of the action and keeps things moving, and while you don’t have all the pieces of the puzzle, as the show goes on, it fills in the blanks about how we got the present point of the show, why there is so much conflict and the motivations of all the main characters involved. The show also throws a fair amount of information at you when it comes to organisations, certain notable characters and key past events, and while it can be a little hard to follow (especially if you’re not a fast reader of subtitles like me), it can still be understood as some of it gets repeated in the following episodes allowing to connect the dots. I loved learning about the motivations behind those who were for and against war, seeing those in power trying to keep hold of it while others lurked in the shadows waiting for their moment to rise up and seeing people who are committed to their cause and those who have doubt or may wish to defect to the other side. And as I mentioned before I love how engaging the show is, each episode brings up new and interesting scenarios involving the heroes and villains that have short-term and long-term ramifications, and the amount of showing twists and turns that happened in the first 10 episodes was just crazy to me.

And when it comes to the characters I love them all… For the most part. Firstly there are Heero, Duo, Trowa, Quatre, and Wufei; the 5 Gundam pilots who are part of the space colonies plan to take down Oz. Each of them has different personalities, talents and means of accomplishing their missions, and seeing how they operate individually and then eventually come together in pairs and then as a group is fascinating and fun. Quatre is a calm and interesting pacifist, Wufei is very honourable and values strength, Duo is crafty and hilarious, and Trowa is fairly quiet and emotionally closed off. But it is Heero who is the most notable character, he has the most amount of screen time and he’s quite incredible, he’s very smart, strategic, efficient and committed to his mission. And then there are the bad guys, firstly there’s Zechs, he is OZ’s ace mobile suit pilot, and while he’s bad, he has an interesting backstory, a cool presence and a moral code that makes him someone to root for. Treize is the main villain of the show and is the leader of the OZ, he’s calculated, always calm and plots ahead so when he makes a move it has a massive impact. I also really like Noin, another character who is part of OZ but has her own interesting part to play and Lady Une, Treize’s right-hand woman… Man I hate her, she is such a mean, self-righteous bitch who causes so much trouble for the heroes and you just want to see her get her comeuppance. And finally, there’s Relena Darlian, she happens to be the daughter of someone quite important and because of her unexpected interactions with Heero, she becomes quite important as the story goes on.

And then there’s the presentation. Visually the show is very nice, I enjoy the various designs of the mobile suits from the Gundams to the OZ suits like Leo, Cancer, Pieces and Taurus and how they transform and fight. For a show in the 90’s I think it still holds up pretty well, the action is dynamic, explosive and well-done for the most part, sure there is a fair amount of reused animation for fight scenes, transformations and explosions but I can look past it because it never feels too offensive to my eyes. But what is even better than the visuals is the music, the soundtrack from Kow Otani is frigging fantastic! The music really helps elevate what’s happening on-screen, it covers an emotional spectrum whether it is soft and uplifting or cold and ominous or bombastic and intense. I absolutely love the music during the action scenes whether it is scenes of chaos, heroism or terror, there are some absolutely killer tracks that have a jazzy kind of sound that sounds so gorgeous to the hear that it makes you want to go and buy the soundtrack. Yeah, it is that good.

So yeah if it wasn’t clear already I really have enjoyed my time with Gundam Wing over the last few days, it has been far more enjoyable than I could have imagined and though I am far from the end I am very hyped to see where the story and character go. I would recommend this if you’re interested in some classic mecha anime. 🙂

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

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2018 in Reviews, TV Reviews

 

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Mission: Impossible – Fallout & Ant-Man and the Wasp Reviews

Good day to you ladies and gents, I know it has been a little quiet on the review front, but I have been watching films, I just have been busy with my job and other personal projects to upload in a decent time. So today I just wanted to share with you my thoughts on Mission: Impossible – Fallout and Ant-Man and the Wasp via my podcast, Film Focus. 😀

So first up is my review for Mission: Impossible – Fallout, I have seen the film twice and would like to see it again before it leaves the cinema, I had originally posted this review online around 2 weeks ago but I didn’t have the time to upload it at the time. But anyway check out the review below:

Next up is Ant-Man and the Wasp, the film us UK viewers had to wait for AGES to see, I saw the film last week, twice, but had a lot of stuff to do and work was busier than usual so I pushed the review back by a week. Anyway check out the episode below:

So have you seen both films and if so what did you think of them? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to leave them in the comment section below and I’ll see you on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2018 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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QUICK THOUGHTS: Dragon Ball Super: Broly Trailer

Good day to you ladies and gents, from out of the shadows I have emerged again to talk about something very, very important to me; the first trailer for Dragon Ball Super: Broly.

Now I really liked Battle of Gods and thought Resurrection F was decent, and while Super was one of the most up and down experiences I’ve had with any TV show, however when it was good, it was hella good. So Dragon Ball in recent years has gone from being fairly invisible and nostalgic to being right back in the conversation of current anime and media in general, so when Toei Animation announced a new film and the teaser dropped with the new art and animation style, I was surprised but so intrigued. Since last year I’ve been following this guy online called Ajay who is really knowledgeable about animation and people who work on Dragon Ball and did a great job to detail the pros and cons of Super.

Now it was recently revealed prior to this trailer that this new film would feature Broly, the legendary Super Saiyan from Movie 8 and the two subsequent sequels, and this caused a mixed opinion from the DB fans I saw online, some people were hyped for this character to come back, some weren’t so happy and some just didn’t care. But with word that Akira Toriyama would be involved in the story and would be finding a way to integrate Broly into the official canon of DB, that’s what got a lot of us fans hyped that the character would return with more depth and purpose than before.

And last night the first trailer and it is glorious! Check it out either the Japanese or English dub below:

Simply put, this film looks insanely good. It looks like a lot of stuff will be going down and all of the key players from Super will be back to play a part in this film.

From the teaser trailer, I knew this film would be special and interesting because of its art style, colour palette and animation, and this trailer just dialled it up to one hundred. The movement of the characters is so smooth, elastic, expressive and is so fluid when compared to anything Dragon Ball has done in the past. The art direction is notably different from the recent/current DB animated material, with art that looks more illustrative or from the pages of a manga with detailed line art and a colour scheme that feels in line with the old DB manga. I also appreciate the camera angles and scaling as it makes this film feel more cinematic than the TV show.

Here are some personal highlights:

  • The facial close-ups look great: There are some nice shots of character faces up close and especially with Goku at 14 seconds, Broly at 27 seconds, and wonderfully detailed shots of Vegeta and Goku at 29 and 30 seconds. It all looks so beautiful.
  • Broly looks intense: While there hasn’t been any of his classic “Kakarot!!” shouting just yet, I do appreciate how he comes across in the trailer. He’s mostly quiet, stern-looking, emits powerful energy and when he is fighting he packs a punch. There’s a shot of Goku in Super Saiyan Blue looking shocked at Broly’s power, so that has to tell you something about this dude’s strength.
  • Vegeta looks cool: Vegeta is one of my favourite characters and he looks like he’s getting his time to shine here. I love how when Broly first punches him and he smiles, such a classic Vegeta thing to do, I love it!
  • Frieza’s back: Now in a different reality, seeing Frieza again would be a major turn off, but because he was handled so well in Super I love the fact that he’s getting be part of this film and witness Broly first-hand.

So yeah if you couldn’t tell already I’m really excited by this trailer, it was everything I wanted and then some. I reminded me of some of the best moments of Super but magnified on a whole new level with crazy slick animation and artwork. I really hope to see this at the cinema when January comes around.

So what did you think of the trailer for Dragon Ball Super: Broly? Did it increase or decrease your hype for the film? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to drop them in the comments section below and I’ll see ya on the next video, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2018 in Films, Media

 

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EPIC REVIEW: Incredibles 2 (Audio Edition)

Howdy ladies and gents of the internet, how are you all doing? It is time for another film review and today I will be giving you my thoughts on the long-awaited animated sequel; Incredibles 2 via my Film Focus.

I literally saw this film yesterday morning at the earliest screening and I was thinking about doing a written review, but I felt like an audio review would be best. So yeah please enjoy the sounds of me talking about this film.

Anyway here’s the review:

So what did you think of Incredibles 2? Did you like it more or less or the same as the previous film? Whatever your thought are be sure to drop them in the comment section below and I’ll see you on the review, laters! 😀

Also check out my podcast on Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/film_focus

Or if you’re on iTunes subscribe and rate me on there: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/film-focus/id1114233892?mt=2

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2018 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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REVIEW: Whitney

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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E3 2018 Recap & Personal Hightlights

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

Press Conferences (Microsoft, Sony, Ubisoft & Nintendo)

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

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

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

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

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

My Game Highlights

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

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

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

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

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

Jump Force

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

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

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

Kingdom Hearts 3

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

Resident Evil 2 Remake

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

Ghosts of Tsushima

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

Spider-Man

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

Fire Emblem: Three Kingdoms

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

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

 

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