Other Films Of Note Due For Release In 2017

22 02 2017

the-last-jedi (Lucasfilm - 2017)

As you may know (or not know if this is the first time you have visited, in which case “Hello”), whenever a new year rolls around I like to celebrate my favourite movies of the previous year, and also look ahead into the coming year to see which films are taking my eye. I do this by doing some Top 5/Top 10 posts and choose a selection of which films I am most looking forward to. Sometimes though it can be the case that some films which I also like the look of don’t get much of a mention. This can be particularly sad if those said films turn out to be better than the ones I was looking forward too, and even more if I find out about them later on. Anyway, with a lack of decision-making in terms of posts to write about at the moment, I thought I would do a separate post, highlighting films due out this year that I am also currently looking into.

the-great-wall (Universal Pictures - 2017)

One thing I am going to do though is not rank them. These films look interesting, but at current details are still small in my mind and I don’t want to rank them based on very few details. Instead, I have ordered them by which ones I wrote down first to last when looking them up on Wikipedia (and moved one around for the benefit of the post). So this is more of a general post than a ranked post allowing each one to state their case more equally than based on favoritism. The other rule I have done is; that I think it would be a little unfair to name films that have already been released (at least according to my knowledge), as they may no longer be out and it’s a bit late to mention them (for which I apologize). Anyway, I hope you enjoy this post (I’ll try to be as brief as I can be) and maybe also gain some more insight into this year’s set of movie releases.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (Warner Bros. - 2017)

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword – Directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law and Eric Bana; Legend of the Sword follows a young Arthur on his journey to becoming the great King of Legend. Do you remember when back in the summer of 2009 a trailer was released for a Sherlock Holmes film starring Robert Downey Jr? I do quite fondly. It was an interesting idea seeing the American actor of Iron Man playing a role that was quintessentially British; either way it worked out really well. Sherlock Holmes was a terrific film and still stands today as a terrific film. While we wait in the wings to see if a third film gets made, it’s good to see that Guy Ritchie has been at work taking another quintessentially British character on a road leading to another big budget movie. This is of course not the first time that King Arthur has had his time on the big screen, but it has been a while. It’s interesting to see the perspective Ritchie has chosen for this film. Upon looking at the trailer, it goes more down the route of fantasy than historical, but also it appears to carry the traits of Ritchie’s earlier works in British gangster and heist movies, with Arthur being something of a rogue before ascertaining his royal lineage. It’s an interesting looking film so far with some great differences in perspectives and is shaping up nicely to become one of 2017’s biggest epics.

Alien: Covenant (20th Century Fox)

Alien: Covenant – Directed by Ridley Scott and starring Michael Fassbender; Covenant tells the tale of a colony ship which lands on a remote planet, where they discover a lone android and a race of monstrous creatures. Do you remember (again) when Ridley Scott announced plans to make a prequel film to his science fiction classic Alien? It was pretty exciting news, but the more details that were released before and upon release suggested that it was not exactly the prequel we thought it was, rather a film set some time before Alien and featuring a different mythology (I quite enjoyed it). Yes, while technically meant to be a sequel to Prometheus, Scott has decided that instead of taking a proposed long route round, it might be better just drop some Aliens on a planet and let the feast begin. From first looks, it does look pretty much like most Alien films released to date, but the setting looks a lot nicer being on an earth planet like surface with some foliage instead of an inhospitable wasteland made up entirely of rocks and craters. Popular elements of previous Alien films look set to return, but hopefully it won’t entirely involve the same old plot of someone wanting to keep the creatures alive for the sake of financial gain. From the looks of the trailer it’s looking like a nice combination of action meets real horror and it’s going to be fun to see where this one leads us next (maybe even allowing Neill Blomkamp to have a go).

Despicable Me 3 (Universal Pictures - 2017)

Despicable Me 3 – Directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda, and starring Steve Carrell and Kristen Wiig; Despicable Me 3 continues the tale of former evil genius Gru now set on his new path as a secret spy trying to bring down a former child star who is obsessed with the 80’s. When the first Despicable Me was released, I was not all that interested, but upon seeing it, I really enjoyed it and was excited to see more. Since then the Minion characters have become stars in their own sense (even though their standalone movie was pretty pants), but have stayed loyal to the series that made them stars. Given the way the story was told for the part of the small girls, with Margo having main light in the first film, and Agnes in 2, it would be nice to see Edith get her turn in this film maybe. Either way, given what the series has delivered so far, hopes are high as Despicable Me returns for a third outing later this year.

lego-ninjago-movie (Warner Bros. - 2017)

The Lego Ninjago Movie – Directed by Charlie Bean and starring Dave Franco and Jackie Chan; The Lego Ninjago Movie sees a group of teenagers hired by an old master to become Ninja Heroes and use spectacular vehicles to protect their home from an old warlord who desires revenge. In honesty I don’t know all that much about this Lego product, I have heard about it and have seen board games of it, but due to my lack of knowledge have not really looked into it. Then when I went to see The Lego Batman Movie last week and saw a trailer for Ninjago, I was mightily impressed. It looked like a good fun animated action film with some level of plot based comedy such as the hero son and villainous father (but not in a way that made me think of Star Wars Episode V, VI; and probably VIII); one thing though that I could not help but think was how similar this looked to Power Rangers.

ID1

Geostorm – Directed by Dean Devlin and starring Gerard Butler; Geostorm is about a man who goes into space to try and prevent climate controlling satellites from creating a mega storm, while back on earth; everything is not so rosy. Currently details are rather sketchy with this one, but I do have a major reason to be excited about this one. You see, this is the feature directing debut of Dean Devlin. While that name may not stand out for many people, Devlin does have over 20 years’ experience producing several major titles as a producer; with films to his name including Stargate, Independence Day, Godzilla (1998), The Patriot and Independence Day: Resurgence. OK, yes he has worked a lot with Roland Emmerich, but given what this film currently looks like, and the projects he has worked on over the last 20 years, I think it’s going to be interesting to see how this film translates, and what kind of Director he becomes in the process.

wonder (R.J. Palacio - 2012)

Wonder – Directed by Stephen Chbosky and starring Owen Wilson and Julia Roberts; Wonder follows the story of a young boy born with a facial deformity who tries to fit in at a new school, and in the process teaches others around him that beauty is not constrained to the outside. When I was studying Creative Writing at the University of Central Lancashire, I did a module on Writing for Children, a module I still consider the best and most fun module I studied. During this module, one thing we did as a class was read the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio of which this film is based on. It was a very interesting book (which I managed to complete in one sitting) which really did show what it was like for someone to live with a facial deformity and how it impacted the lives of others around them. Upon hearing about this film earlier this year, my interest was immediately grabbed. It’s a very thought-provoking book and if the film does the same thing it could be an interesting film. One thing that grabbed my attention was the choice of Owen Wilson. Now given that I have not seen him much in a non-comedic role, my thoughts began to wander as to what this film turns out to be like. As I have not seen him in a non-comedic role it would be interesting to see how it turns out, but my one hope is that this film does not accidentally become a comedy for some audiences. One of the real beautiful things about the book is that even though you know the character of Auggie has this deformity, the book is respectful not to describe it, nor have other characters do the same; more just suggest it, keeping a level of respect for those who do. Having seen images of the film, it’s hard to really see how they are going to do it, but given that it appears to be in the third person, it does bring a level of worry and caution that needs to be respected throughout, as in my belief, this film should really be seen from the eyes of Auggie when he is in the scene, keeping that respect and magic from the book into the film, because in the third person I don’t know how respectful some audiences are going to be towards that character.

10-cloverfield-lane (Paramount Pictures - 2016)

God Particle – Directed by Julius Onah and starring Daniel Brühl; God Particle is about a group of Astronauts aboard a space station  who must fight for their survival after the Earth disappears, and a space shuttle appears. Yes, it does sound like Alien, and normally films like these don’t grab my attention, but this one does as it’s a part of the now finally running Cloverfield Franchise. While not a sequel to the wonderful 10 Cloverfield Lane or the first Cloverfield, a spin-off still gets me excited. Details are a bit low right now but one positive is that series creator J.J. Abrams is actively producing it. While it does sound a lot like the original Alien, given what the this franchise has delivered so far, I think it deserves the benefit of the doubt on this one and the allowance to speak for itself.

colossal (Voltage Pictures - 2017)

Colossal – Directed by Nacho Vigalondo and starring Anne Hathaway; Colossal focuses on a young woman who upon losing her job moves back to her hometown. Weirdly however she appears to be very connected with a Giant Monster (or Kaiju) currently in the process of attacking Seoul. This is a pretty recent discovery for me, which is strange given my love for Monster Movies. The trailer looks pretty good and the film is already set to be quite an interesting science fiction as well as a potentially laugh out loud comedy. It has some traits of Godzilla 2014 in its visual effects while also carrying elements of an inspired mix of both The Host and Cloverfield in its look and ideas. I don’t really have an idea of what this going to be like on the whole, but from what I sort of know and have seen so far, I am pretty, if only minorly, excited by this.

GENEPOOL (If there is anything else not mentioned here that you are looking forward to, please let me know).





Top 8 WWE Tag Teams From The Mid-2000’s That Did Not Get A Proper Opportunity

8 02 2017

WWE Logo

When I started watching WWE in 2004, the Tag Team division (at least on Smackdown) were alight with some cool tag team matches. Around at the time were teams like The Dudley Boyz, as well as a string of other tag teams made up of singles wrestlers including the teams of: Paul London and Billy Kidman, Rob Van Dam and Rey Mysterio as well as Rene Dupree and Kenzo Suzuki. While it may not have been a golden period for tag team wrestling, it was still pretty good. Come a few changes in the line-ups (less than a year later) however, and the tag teams were pretty low in terms of quality. You had MNM on Smackdown engaging in competition every week with the supposedly ‘only’ tag team around at the time made up of Charlie Haas and Hardcore Holly, where as Raw was pretty much doing what Smackdown had done one year previously, creating tag teams made up of singles wrestlers such as Eugene and William Regal and William Regal and Tajiri.

Dudley Boyz

As 2005 started to round down however, things began to change, with a string of tag teams entering the company, not exactly made up of well-known single wrestlers, but teams specifically put together for the purposes of tag team wrestling before they debuted. This was a major move for the company as it was an opportunity to create new and potential future stars, as well as lighten up a division which had been pretty static all this time. Some of these did go on to achieve some success, even winning a few tag team titles; teams like the aforementioned MNM, as well as Deuce ‘n Domino, Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch, Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder, Spirit Squad, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase, as well as the rebooted L.O.D. made up of long time Road Warrior; Animal, and the fledgling Heidenreich (although this could have been done more to promote a recently released DVD). Some of the Tag Teams though that appeared during this time (and there were a decent few) did not really get an opportunity to shine, which was a shame as some of them were pretty good. OK, yes some were pretty bad too, the main ones coming to mind (at least in my opinion) being; The Dicks (the Heart Throbs were not too bad although they were pretty much near the same as The Dicks).

Those though that were at least pretty good to a point though did not get much of an opportunity to shine, many of them sometimes receiving tag team title shots, but in the end did not actually get them, and although some lasted a while, in the end most were either released, or broken up (which created numerous other problems which did not work out either). The thing is though, for me personally, I had high hopes for these teams, and still fondly remember them to this day, and so I wanted to do a post on these teams. Originally I was going to do a post with just the top 5, but I wanted to be as inclusive as I could be, so I thought about doing 7, then 8 because I remembered one other team. So here and now then are the Top 8 Tag Teams from the mid 2000’s in WWE that I fondly remember, as well as I feel did not get their justly right opportunities.

la-resistance

8. La Resistance (rebooted) – When WWE brought back the ECW promotion in 2006, I was pretty excited given what I had heard about the ECW brand. How wrong I was to be excited; it was basically more like an episode of Heat with a Hardcore match each week for about 3 weeks, and then it just became Heat. Anyway, there were some good things for a time on it, things like TEST, Marcus Cor Von and a rebooted La Resistance. La Resistance were a tag team on Monday Night Raw for a few years made up of members Rene Dupree, Rob Conway and Sylvan Grenier. They had some pretty good success and for a time was the main tag team on Raw winning the championship 4 times overall. The group though eventually split, and Conway and Grenier had some interesting time as singles performers. Just over a year after ECW returned, Grenier and Dupree were brought back together to fight on ECW. Given how much Grenier improved in singles competitions, plus both he and Dupree’s Tag Team pedigree; I was pretty interested (was a fan of Dupree on Smackdown too) to see the result. The problem though was that they were on ECW, a promotion that had no real Tag Team division, nor tag team titles. So they eventually just disappeared after no more than 1 match. It was a shame really; I can still fondly remember their entrance music.

7. The Pitbulls – The Pitbulls is a name that has been used for many Tag Teams in the past, but I am talking about the team of Kid Kash and Jamie Noble. Both of these wrestlers were in the cruiserweight division and had some success in singles competition; but when they formed together making the Pitbulls it was a pretty exciting moment. At the time they were very hot single cruiserweight wrestlers, and teams made of cruiserweight wrestlers (like London and Kidman) usually were good value. These two though were not plumped on ECW, No, they were put on Velocity. Heat and Velocity were the shows WWE put on before the big events like Pay-Per-Views, Raw and Smackdown, just small things to get the audience going.  But if you were on one of the main shows and then went to Velocity or Heat, it was nearly a career death sentence. Some people did alright from it like Val Venis, but most of the time, it was where guys went before they were released from their contract. The Pitbulls had a few matches on Velocity and were pretty good, but it all ended rather abruptly after Kid Kash was released. Jamie Noble still stuck around for a time though.

jesse-and-festus

6. Jesse and Festus – In many cases with Tag Team wrestling, it’s not uncommon for teams to be made up of one little person, and one big person. During this time in wrestling Val Venis (not saying Val Venis is a small person, but…) was paired up with Viscera. It’s not necessarily a bad thing; it’s just the case that it can sometimes look like one certain person is doing all the work. That was not necessarily the case with these two, but the way they worked it out it could certainly look like that. Jesse and Festus played the parts of two wrestlers supposedly from the Deep South. Jesse was like a cruiserweight, Festus was definitely a heavyweight. Jesse was the talker/spokesperson of the team, whereas Festus was the muscle (it doesn’t help does it). It was a strange tag team in all honesty, as Festus looked like someone who should have been more in singles competition. Basically, Festus did not do any talking at all. He stared blankly into the camera, but supposedly had some kind of condition, which made him change personality from this dopey looking figure, to an enraged monster: when he heard the bell ring. Despite the strangeness of the team and its issues here and there, they were pretty entertaining, at one point acting like a removal firm. They had some good back stage moments, and some good in ring matches, including a good one between The Undertaker and Festus. But like many good, and entertaining Tag Teams in WWE, the two were split up. Jesse tried to become a member of Cryme Tyme, while Festus went on to be a sort of hard man enforcer type for many wrestlers like CM Punk in his Straight Edged Society. Jesse was eventually released from the company, later followed by Festus. It’s not all sad though, as Festus has returned to WWE once again in Tag Team competition as a member of The Club with AJ Styles and Karl Anderson; albeit now being called Luke Gallows.

tyson-tomko-and-gene-snitsky

5. Gene Snitsky and Tyson Tomko – This was another one of those cases where two mainly singles guys were brought together. Gene Snitsky had played the part of a large monster on Raw for a good long time and had scored a victory over Kane, and had been featured in a few main events including the main even at Survivor Series in 2004. But he began to dwindle after a time. Tyson Tomko was a big guy who could physically go, but spent most of his time acting like a bodyguard to Christian (much like Luther Reigns did for Kurt Angle), and we very rarely saw what he could do. So teaming these two together seemed like a good scenario, as two of the biggest and most imposing guys in WWE at the time would finally get an opportunity to show off. Well, to begin with you did not really get to see them, their main claim to fame was some kind of neck kink incident that John Cena walked in on. They did get one or two tag team title shots, but never really got it and then it just ended. It was a real shame; Tyson Tomko was one of these guys, much like Luther Reigns, who did have a good physical stance, but very little allowance to wrestle, and are instead hired to be bodyguards; Gene Snitsky meanwhile had proved what he was capable of, but this was never allowed either, and while this teaming up should have been a major move by WWE, it never went anywhere, and then they just disappeared.

the highlanders

4. The Highlanders – The Highlanders were a team of wrestlers apparently originating from Scotland who made a name for themselves mainly in Canada and in OVW. They came into WWE as two large, brutish wrestlers who had their own comedy and entertainment value and who in their first couple of weeks had shown what they could do, this swiftly ended with a loss to the Spirit Squad, and they just wandered for a long time. They became less a wrestling team, more a couple of guys backstage brought out for entertainment value, not wrestling value. This did change about a year later with a pretty good heel turn, which sadly did not last. When they first showed up they were very impressive and looked like ‘the team’; the ones everyone should look out for, the ones who got so hyped that they were going to be the tag team divisions next big thing, but sadly it never happened.

cryme-tyme

3. Cryme Tyme – For both Wrestling skill and backstage entertainment; no-one was better than Cryme Tyme. Cryme Tyme first appeared with a series of vignettes/promos where they appeared to be portraying a very stereotypical view on American street gangs. This view was shown by having two guys rob shops and beat people up, but in a way that was made to look entertaining. When Cryme Tyme finally appeared on Raw, they set the whole division ablaze with two wins against the Spirit Squad in a row. Their tag team skills in the ring were very good and they had some good finishers and good tactics (such as Shad Gaspard getting the pin, while JTG would distract the other team-mate). It was a good in ring team, but when they went backstage, they lit up the scene with a load of inappropriate sketches where they would greatly disrespect authority figures and rip people off. Their time as a team was sadly short, but they did get another go which went pretty ok too, but for a team that more than most showed they deserved a run with the titles; they never got them, and much like Jesse and Festus, they were split up in a move that was genuinely a bad move. Cryme Tyme were a fantastic team, and their combination of in ring skill and back stage antics made them one of the most memorable tag teams of that time if not more.

the mexicools

2. The Mexicools – The Mexicools were one of the first in the wave of teams that came about during this period of new tag teams. They were originally a stable made up of three very successful cruiserweight wrestlers; namely Juventud Guerrera, Psicosis and Super Crazy. The team was made to look like another group of stereotypes mainly that of Mexican immigrants employed to do house work. To this end the team would always come to the ring on a trio of Lawnmowers. The team originally started as just a group who would invade and disrupt matches, but soon would actually get involved with matches. This took the form of Juventud working as a singles wrestler and the group’s leader, and both Psicosis and Super Crazy in Tag Team competition. Within a short space of time, the group showed off with ease how good a team they were; displaying incredible tag team manoeuvres as well as spectacular single in ring performances including amazing high-flying skills. At the time, this team were more than obvious the ones who should have been getting title opportunities, and they did, nearly. Basically, the Mexicools got a shot at MNM’s tag team titles for the 2005 Armageddon Pay-Per-View.  The Smackdown before that said Pay-Per-View, Batista and Rey Mysterio won the Tag Team titles; so you would instantly think that come Armageddon, the Mexicools would face Batista and Rey Mysterio instead right? Wrong! Yes despite winning a shot at the titles; when the titles were won by somebody else, the team of Psicosis and Super Crazy did not fight that said team, but would fight MNM as usual, despite MNM not being the champions at that time. It was just stupid and ridiculous, and with the Mexicools finally on course to get something, they lose it for stupid reasons. The Mexicools hung round for a while after that, but Juventud had left, then Psicosis, and Super Crazy had a short singles run; until what became one of the most promising, and most deserving tag teams out there, became nothing!

the gymini

1. The Gymini – The Gymini were an interesting team. First introduced by Simon Dean on an episode of Smackdown, (with a cool entrance theme) one of them appeared followed by another. It was two rather large, muscled men who looked like a spitting image of one another. They showed no signs of being singles wrestlers pushed into one; they were in fact two real life twins also known as the Shane Twins who had some success in other companies. They came to WWE and quickly dispatched the hot tag team of the time; Paul London and Brian Kendrick, and they did this over a good few weeks. They stood out as a team; they both came with good individual in ring skills, as well as a series of team based moves which mostly involved throwing people in the air. They were as big as many singles performers and were dominant in every match. But again, were not given their just opportunity. They sort of stagnated and had one or two matches here and there, but instead of getting anywhere near the titles, they just dwindled, with the titles surprisingly being given to: Paul London and Brian Kendrick, the same guys the Gymini had destroyed on weekly occasions. It just did not make sense. The Gymini did not get a major full run compared to some other teams on this list, but for that very brief period in which they showed up and dominated the scene, they were in my opinion the best Tag Team of that period, and the one I wanted to see more of, and success brought too.

GENEPOOL





What I Would Like To Read This Year

1 02 2017

Even more of my books

Since joining Goodreads in 2013, I have enjoyed posting to the site what I have read, am currently reading, and want to read in the future. I don’t know exactly why, but it’s fun nonetheless. Every year since 2014 I have enjoyed the annual reading challenge the website puts up. How it works is that, you say how many books you would like to read in the year and you set that as your goal. Then when you finish reading a book, you make a note of when you finished reading it and then, as long as it’s in the current year, then it counts towards your reading challenge. The website keeps a track of the books you have read and how many, and then come the end of the year, if you are successful it will say that you succeeded. If you read more than the total number set, then even better. Since 2014, I have been successful year after year in the reading challenge, often setting myself the similar goal of about 10-15 books a year; well I am a slow reader, and so that I thought would still be a good amount. This year however I have reduced the number of books I want to read to eight.

Some of my books

During 2016, after a slow start reading one really good book, followed by a couple that were pretty low in enjoyment, I finally found my stride when I read the Anthony Horowitz Power of Five series (as well as a few Mr. Men books too). With the reading of the series going well, I had a thought. I thought that if I could finish the final book of the series; Oblivion before the end of the year, I might treat myself into reading another big book. Well, in the end I did not finish Oblivion until January. Anyway, that did not matter too much in the end, because I had another idea.

Some more of my books

In my big collection of books, there is quite a few I have collected which I have not actually read. Most of them are books that I have received as presents, or ones I have bought but not got round to yet. Anyway, some of these are kind of big; these include but are not limited to Next by Michael Crichton, Battle Royale by Koushun Takami and Stone Heart by Charlie Fletcher. Getting round to these books can be quite hard as they are not part of a series so can sometimes find themselves being muscled out of a reading schedule and then eventually forgotten. The other is due to their size, and when I have a high number of books I want to read in a year, it can feel impractical to read them as part of the challenge. So here is where my new idea came in. Not to slot them in as such, but to give them a level of commitment, and also give myself a shorter goal to work with, thinking that given how some of them are more than twice the size as other books I have read, I can then sort of fill the amount of time in with a much bigger book and give myself some slack by not committing to a high number. Therefore, what I did was slice the amount of books I read into near as half while also still challenging myself.

Hall Of Fame Book Shelf

As a result I have decided to read 8 books this year, but not only that, I have also chosen specific books I would like to read this year too. Instead of considering books like I have done in the past (so when I was reading one, I would think about the next one to read without any guarantee that I would); I have set aside a space on my book shelves and selected a group of books I want to specifically read, the plan being that when I finish a book, I can put it either in the hall of fame section (a section on my shelves where I put my absolute favourite reads: see above image), or somewhere else entirely on the book shelves, and then pick another from the specifically selected section, and carry on that way. The books I have chosen are as follows:

Books I want to read in 2017

Upon looking at that list, and the above picture, you may see that there are actually 9 books in that space. That is because I decided to include Horowitz Horror 1 by Anthony Horowitz; because (it nicely lines up the collection on display, but also) it allows me the option of reading a short story here and there instead of having to power through novels the whole time. The good thing about the books I have chosen too is that all of them but two are singular entries. Only 2 of the books (Steelheart and Stone Heart) lead into a series. Now while that is a bit of a dodgy game I have played with those two selections, by only having a couple, it allows me the chance to see if I like them before I continue the series, but also it means I am not necessarily muscling out the others either.

Steelheart and Stone Heart

That is my plan for reading this year. My plan for other books sort of comes in either next year, or when I finish the 8 main books here anyway (or if I dive into a series). Any books I buy/get/receive from here on in shall be put to one side for the time being for reading consideration another time, as right now I am both excited and optimistic of my chances of completing the reading I have selected for this year and since finishing Oblivion, I have already begun reading Burning Midnight, (because upon finishing Oblivion, I wanted to read something small). At time of writing I am nearly two-thirds through it. So with that going well, I am hopeful that I will accomplish my reading challenge for this year, plus get through the really big books too.

Burning Midnight

GENEPOOL





No, I Did Not Drop The Ball Last Week!

25 01 2017

football

Last week, the more frequent and eagle-eyed readers of my blog would have spotted that I did not post anything. Just to reassure you, no I did not drop the ball; it was sort of intended.

a-monster-calls (Focus Features - 2016)

Since 2011, I have been posting blog posts on this blog every week. I have been blogging in total for over 7 years now, but it was not until 2011 that I started posting more frequently, and have been doing so ever since. So why last week’s interruption, well there is sort of 2 reasons behind that. One is because I was hoping to post my film review of A Monster Calls, but after getting ill, and running dry of the emotions that the film created, I got a bit behind. The other though is that I have decided to scale back a bit when it comes to my blogging. Here’s why:

Steamboy (Sunrise - 2004)

In August 2016, I finally got a job, a job I am still doing to this day and am really enjoying; however when I first got it I was unsure as to if I would still be able to keep blogging frequently, so what I did was write a bunch of posts to post over a period of time instead of there and then. This idea worked, up until I started doing it for the rest of the year. I had written posts weeks, if not over a month ahead of when they were due to be posted. This took some of the fun out of blog posting, because when I have written a post, there is a great deal of excitement and energy about it, which makes you excited to see it simply get posted; if that is done weeks ahead, when it is finally posted the excitement has gone and so has the energy. Posting weeks ahead is only useful if you have a schedule to keep or have plans for a string of posts and need the extra time. For me it really took the fun out of it and as such I began to emotionally struggle with the blog, well thanks to both that and one other reason: Views.

views

When I started this blog, views were never really on my mind, as all I wanted to do was just write. When I discovered the views feature, it really started to grip me and I would look at it to see what was enjoyed, what wasn’t, and within a few years it pretty much took my main focus as I logged into WordPress every day. The views feature when you’re starting out can actually be quite fun, because when it’s the case that a lot of people are viewing your blog, that gives you a good boost of energy, but when they start to dwindle, that in return can get you down. Since 2011, I have actually kept a spreadsheet of my blog views on my computer, the main purpose being is that when I first started, WordPress used to provide views in a fun line graph, but this changed to a bar chart on the system, and as I quite liked the line graph, I decided to keep the spreadsheet to create the line graphs.

Godzilla 2014 (Legendary Pictures - 2014)

Come 2013 however, and the success I had achieved in 2012 quickly evaporated, and my blog views each month went from 3000-4000 views, to just over 1000. May 2014 saw a brief increase to over 2000 views mostly thanks to a certain film that was released that month, but since then views have been going down slowly. For the last 4 months of 2016, I received no higher than just over 900 views. I should just be happy that people are still looking at my blog from time to time, but when the views are sharp in your face when you turn on and go into the dashboard, and you see this continuing drop, it just gets you down, and with me losing the excited energy about the posting of posts, things really started to look grim. Then I had an idea, which upon considering it, made me very positive.

views-2

The issue; was that firstly the viewing figures were getting me down. So to combat this, I am no longer going to keep my own records, plus have managed to move the views window out of the way so it’s not completely in my face when I log on. I still have it to one side to look at every now and then, but now when I log in to WordPress I don’t get down when the views are down, because I don’t know if they are or not. Secondly, putting up posts every week did sort of begin to affect the kind of posts that I put up each week. This blog does not make money for me in anyway, it’s meant to be fun for me as well as a possible platform for my thoughts and interests, so why should I keep up a post each week? Posting each week does help me to keep it going and the frequency does help. The one thing I don’t want to do is give up, because in my current emotional state I may never get back into it if I did, so I decided to reduce the frequency to a post every 2 weeks. This keeps the frequency going, but does not put me in such a bad position. I can work on my posts more and have a little more freedom with less stricter personal deadlines, but also with more time to think and plan, I can potentially do more posts like the ones I really want to do. This does not stop me posting more frequently if I wanted to, but does not mean I have to rush a post out if I am late. It just gives me some options. Since deciding to go down this path, I have actually begun to feel a lot more positive and excited again about blogging and posting. While it’s in the early stages, I am beginning to feel pretty good about it. The rules I have put in place for myself are:

  • Post every couple of weeks at least.
  • Reduce number of film reviews a year too.

Film reviews have been a big part of this blog since the release of Inception, with me persisting to try and release one a month or at least 12 a year if I miss any. Doing big film reviews though do take up some time, and to allow myself as much freedom as I can, I am reducing my own required number down to six. If I am posting for half the year, I will do the same for film reviews too, but still continue to do them, just reducing the required amount in a year. So while it used to be at least 12, it is now 6. I am not intending to retire from blogging any time soon, I just want it to be fun again but also not tiring; so with this plan in place I am still hoping and planning to do the same as I always have done, just less frequently, and who knows, maybe this will turn out to be better than before, but right now that is not the important thing for me, the important thing is to be having fun again.

inception (Legendary Pictures - 2010)

GENEPOOL





Top 5 Films of 2016 (It’s Been A Funny Year)

11 01 2017

godzilla-resurgence (Toho Co., Ltd. - 2016)

Since a very young age, I have been a fan of the Two Ronnies. It’s a comedy love that I still carry to this day and continue to enjoy looking back on every now and then. But despite this love for two comedy greats, I have always struggled with Ronnie Barker’s sitcoms. I have seen numerous episodes of Porridge and Open All Hours, but in all honesty have never found them to be all that funny. I have watched plenty of episodes; maybe an odd wisp of laughter here and there, but on the whole, just did not get them. If anything, the only thing that would get a faint pant of air from my lungs would be the spring-loaded till in Open All Hours. Despite this lack of understanding on my part, one thing though that has shined on to me in a way is how sometimes on occasion, I cannot help but at the end of the day say; “It’s been a funny day”. Well, looking back on the movies of 2016, I now cannot help but say “It’s been a funny year”.

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A Funny year is indeed how I feel this year has gone by in terms of movie releases. There have been several high-profile and low profile releases that have caught the eyes of myself and many other movie goers. We have seen live action remakes of animated classics, rebirths of classic comedy, and revolutionary new ideas in already popular genres as well as the usual treasure trove of sequels and heart-warmers. For me personally it’s been a weird one, with a lot of films that I wanted to see being released in the first half of the year, with the second half being a collection of films that I was wavering watching or not. Quite a few of these films were pretty fun and are included in this list, but there have been one or two disappointments. Firstly I did not get to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows or Kung Fu Panda 3 (not forgetting the new Japanese Godzilla film which nobody considers releasing for people living in the UK!), but the big disappointment for me had to be Dad’s Army. It was funny in places; but everything else was just boring by comparison with an acting pool not living up to their own acclaim and a story that was not worth bothering with!

GR1

There have been some high’s thankfully, some of which are unable to be featured in this list and just want to give a quick shout out to (in no particular order): Allegiant, X-Men: Apocalypse, Eddie The Eagle, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. But now the main event; as per usual: films will be rated in ascending order with Number 1 being my favourite and 5 being not as much my favourite but still a good film, and as always, the list applies to films that were released and shown on the big screen between the traditional 12 month period of January to December. So without dragging this on any further, here are my Top Five Favourite Films of the year (yes, this year it is actually 5).

ethel-and-ernest (Cloth Cat Animation - 2016)

5. Ethel & Ernest – Based on the Raymond Briggs graphic novel of the same name, Ethel and Ernest is about the life of Briggs’s own parents as they meet, date, marry and live their lives through the changing face of Great Britain. Originally meant to be shown on TV during Christmas 2016, special big screen showings were done in places around the country including at The Dukes in Lancaster. Before seeing this film I had no idea what it was about, thinking it was When The Wind Blows by mistake (having forgotten what that was called), then my Mam told me differently; a little unsure but still interested I decided to go see it, and really enjoyed it. I liked how it was less a film, more an animated slide show of the lives of an incredible couple living through the hardships of London life during WWII, to raising a son, to a new way of life compared to their own upbringing. I especially enjoyed the shots of WWII city life as most documentaries I have seen have mostly focused on evacuations and the front line, but this instead showed what life was like in a major city. Overall I enjoyed this film a great deal, from its unique form of storytelling to its charming and colourful animation style.

10-cloverfield-lane (Bad Robot Productions - 2016)

4. 10 Cloverfield Lane – If you are like me, then over the last few years you will have been calling out for a Cloverfield sequel since Cloverfield’s original released in 2008. For years I have kept tabs on it to see if such a film was going to happen or not, and so far no official sequel has appeared; a spiritual successor has though. 10 Cloverfield Lane is a very different film to the original Cloverfield. Whilst the first film was a found footage drama about a group of people trying to survive a monster attack on New York City; 10 Cloverfield Lane is about a young lady (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who finds herself in a bomb shelter with two other people, and begins to get cold feet surrounding the older of the two (John Goodman). The film in essence is both a psychological and science fiction horror as for the first good half you get the feeling that something is going on above ground as the characters get used to a new life underground, until the main character finds evidence that suggests that everything underground isn’t groovy either, eventually leading to a tense situation that culminates in a giant twist that makes you rethink everything you have just seen. 10 Cloverfield Lane is a one-of-a-kind film that makes you want to feel out for your Teddy Bear and grip it tight.

Independence Day: Resurgence (20th Century Fox - 2016)

3. Independence Day: Resurgence – Much like number four on this list, if you are like me and absolutely love the Roland Emmerich science fiction film Independence Day, you will have also been hoping that maybe one day there might be a sequel to it; well (two decades later), one has indeed been released. Twenty years after the events of the first film, humanity has used the technology scrounged from the remains of the alien fleet to upgrade their own technology and bolster up defences of planet Earth. This however has not turned out to be all that fruitful however, as the once defeated alien empire has decided to enact a counter attack by sending in a much bigger force than the last one. The first film’s core cast (minus an obvious one) have returned to fight alongside a new cast of characters including (but not limited to); Liam Hemsworth, Jessie T. Usher and Maika Monroe. The film itself was once again packed with a jaw dropping cavalcade of special effects that once again bring the awe and fascination that the first film did so well, but does not content itself by making a simple remake, but a strong sequel that does things a little bit differently and contains several other genres, not just the basic few. Overall I was mightily pleased with the end result.

your-name (Toho Co., Ltd. - 2016)

2. Your Name. – If you look through the prolific catalogue of films produced by Studio Ghibli, there are many highlighted classics. Having recently become a major fan of the studio’s works, I am always on the lookout for new films to watch to add to my growing collection. Some of the films on show though that do not necessarily grab my attention however are the convoy of teen based romantic dramas. In most cases I actually try to avoid them as they don’t really appeal to me. Well this year, I saw a film which was along those lines (not released by Studio Ghibli) while also entwined with a Science Fiction enhanced story that within an instant became one of my favourite films this year. Your Name. is a Japanese Anime film directed by (Makoto Shinkai), which tells the tales of a boy and girl who have never met and live in completely opposite locations miles apart from each other, but for some reason get connected, as when they sleep, they dream the lives of the other, not realizing at first, that in reality they have in fact changed bodies. It is a strange film to begin with that leads to some really funny situations, but things take a sudden turn which causes one character to search out the other and come across a grim reality that makes them attempt to change the course of history. I must say I actually really enjoyed it. I was put off at first by its romantic idea, but upon finishing wanted to give it a standing ovation. It was so different, yet so unique that I was left gobsmacked for one that I enjoyed such a film that I would have normally tried so hard to put off. By failing to look round that I did not properly foresee the science fiction elements that I just so love and the two together created a potent mix that made me leave the cinema with a smile across my face. I absolutely enjoyed this film to its absolute core and it has made me rethink my earlier stance on romantic teen anime films.

deadpool (20th Century Fox - 2016)

1. Deadpool – Just bear with me for a moment as I get my head in the right frame of mind for this one…

With all the super hero related movies that are getting released these days, I think it’s good that we have at least one film that we as an audience can actually connect with. Saving the world is good and all, but what about when you return home and find out that some maniac has kidnapped your girlfriend, I think we can all agree that that is probably far more important! Deadpool is the next major spin-off in the X-Men Film Series and stars everyone’s loud mouthed mercenary as he sets out not to save the world, but rescue his girlfriend and hope he can receive some good plastic surgery in the process. Based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, Deadpool stars Ryan Reynolds in the lead role, backed up with the talents of Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller and Morena Baccarin in what has to be one of the strangest films of all time. Deadpool is not your run of the mill superhero movie, as Deadpool isn’t really a superhero, more just someone rather deadly you don’t want to offend. Deadpool comes wrapped in a neat pile of action, guns, violence, comedy, sexual antics and fourth wall breaking moments to create a truly incredible experience that will have other superhero movies (and super heroes) taking notice. Altogether this film creates a matchless form of cinematic awesomeness becoming not just the most standout film of this year, but also my absolute favourite film of 2016.

GENEPOOL (what was your favourite film of 2016?).








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