First Impressions Review Diary 5-May-2018

__Welcome to another batch of reviews of what I’m experiencing for the first time. If this is your first visit to my blog, I tend to keep my reviews fairly short: no longer than 250 words. Lately, however, I haven’t felt much inclination to write anymore (I guess you could call it writer’s block), so I’ve tended to just copy and paste my comments from Twitter – which seemed all the more ideal after they increased their character limit from 140 to 280. So I came to think of these blog entries less as reviews and more as a basic overview of what I’d been watching – or playing, as the case may be.
__But this time, I felt some of the mini reviews did deserve a couple of sentences added to them. And in doing so, I found I actually did have quite a bit to say. That wasn’t the case for all of them, though, so some of these reviews will be longer than others. Still, I’m proud of myself for feeling the urge to elaborate at all. Sometimes, to quote the Joker, all it takes is a little push.🙂

__Section one: cinema releases. Continue reading

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What I Enjoy in Video Games

__Some of you may have noticed a trend in my “first impressions” reviews lately: with movies, I usually just copy and paste my Twitter comments, but with games, I tend to elaborate a little more and write full reviews. That doesn’t mean I like video games more than movies; it’s just that I’ve seen so many movies now that I’m running out of original things to say, I’ve lost that drive to write about them in detail.
__I’m by no means what you’d call a gamer, but I’ve still played enough to have a clear idea of my own strengths and preferences. And that’s what we’re here to discuss today.
__First of all, I’d better explain my history with video games. They’ve always been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.
__I grew up in the 16-bit era, at the height of the rivalry between Sega and Nintendo. Some young gamers today might find this hard to imagine, but there was a time when all games looked like cartoons, there was no spoken dialogue, you typically saw the characters from the side, and the screen scrolled sideways as you moved, giving the impression that you were running from a clearly defined starting line to a clearly defined finish line. Continue reading

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First Impressions Review Diary 24-Feb-2018

__We’re almost two months into the year, and I feel like sharing my thoughts on the few movies I’ve seen up to now. I’m going to follow the same format I’ve taken to: combining a short plot summary with my comments copied and pasted straight from Twitter. Except for the video game I’m reviewing at the end: I’ll be talking about that at great length.

__Section one: cinema releases.
__Coco (2017). Aspiring musician Miguel, confronted with his family’s ancestral ban on music, enters the Land of the Dead to find his great-great-grandfather, a legendary singer. Pixar succeeds once again with a clever, inspired, touching and thematically rich adventure that defies several cinematic clichés and kept me guessing all the way, even if the pacing is a bit too rushed at times to let the emotion sink in.
My rating: 85%.
__Early Man (2018). Dug, along with sidekick Hognob, unites his tribe against a mighty enemy Lord Nooth and his Bronze Age city to save their home. I knew nothing about this latest Aardman offering going in, and was most disappointed to find out that, instead of an imaginative prehistoric adventure, it’s a generic sports movie that just happens to be set in the Stone Age.
My rating: 45%.
__Black Panther (2018). T’Challa rises to the throne in the isolated, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda, but his claim is challenged by a vengeful outsider who was a childhood victim of T’Challa’s father’s mistake. Believe the hype: this is one of Marvel’s absolute best!😀 It boasts a full cast of instantly memorable characters, it has outstanding action scenes, and a compelling story of the responsibilities of running an advanced nation.
My rating: 85%. Continue reading

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Parallel Universes

__The idea of a parallel universe or alternate dimension is a very popular topic in science-fiction, and is even debated as a scientific possibility. Every once in a while, I let my mind wander into scientific realms like this, and I’ve formed my own theory on the possibility of parallel dimensions. Of course, this doesn’t mean I believe they exist; I’m just hypothesising on how they could exist. If I were writing a sci-fi piece on the subject, this is what my interpretation would be. Continue reading

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My Wattpad Stories

__Quite recently, a friend of mine introduced me to a website called Wattpad, which is basically a book-writing social network that allows you to write and publish your own stories. Needless to say, I’d highly recommend it to anyone with a creative streak, a penchant for writing.
__I’ve been on the site for almost a year now, and so far I’ve mainly used it to post some of my older works from my teenage years, when I was really into creative writing. Several of them are from the many compositions I had to write for English class – the ones that stood out from the crowd, the ones that I decided to hold onto and immortalise. I personally find it quite hard to read those works today – my wordplay and teenage sensibilities are pretty embarrassing – which is why, in the optional description you can write for your stories, I make it clear how young and naïve I was at the time. In a way, it’s also in the interest of progress: just to see how I’ve changed as a writer since then.
__I do have some big plans for my Wattpad output in the future, including showing my devotion to Mass Effect by writing the trilogy’s story as I shaped it (my own choices, love interest and everything) in novel form. Until then, my work as a fiction writer will remain represented by my earlier, shorter stories.
__So, time for a bit of shameless self-promotion.🙂 I’ve posted videos from my YouTube page on this blog before; now it’s time to advertise another of my creative avenues. I’ve decided to list all the nine stories I’ve posted on Wattpad to date, along with the introductory description I wrote for each one, putting links in each title to that story’s page on Wattpad. If I sell them well enough for you, feel free to follow the links and read the stories for yourself. Enjoy.🙂 Continue reading

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2017 in Film: My Favourites and Least Favourites

__It’s that time of year again: the time when I look back on the year that’s passed and pick out the high and low points of its movie output. This is the seventh time I’ve done a year-end pair of lists like this, and I have to say, this was a particularly interesting year for movies. It started off surprisingly strong. January is usually a cinematic dumping ground, but the first 2017 release I saw was Split, which I thoroughly enjoyed. That trend continued for the first few months: I went to the cinema considerably more often than I had early on in previous years, and hardly anything I saw let me down. But that all changed when, later in the year, I started to catch up on what I’d missed; that’s when the real stinkers began to reveal themselves in abundance. The result was a very uneven year in my experience overall: it was marked by an unusually high-quality output at first, then devolved into a crushing sea of misery towards the end.
__If you’re not familiar with the criteria I set myself, I judge a movie’s release date according to its first public release listed on IMDb. So movies that premiered at film festivals in an earlier year but weren’t released to the public until 2017 are still applicable in my book. Another thing to consider is that movies like La La Land and Moonlight were released early in 2017 in my country despite coming out in the US the previous year. That doesn’t count; I feel like including cases like that would be cheating. Keep in mind also that, obviously, I can’t include movies I haven’t seen, because that simply wouldn’t be fair.

__Before we start, I think it’s time to introduce a new category to this year-end recap: the year’s biggest disappointment. This is where I pick the single movie that, while not necessarily bad, fell miserably short of my enthusiastically high expectations. I’m surprised I never thought to do this sooner, especially in the last three years. Continue reading

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First Impressions Review Diary 30-Dec-2017

__Well, the end of the year is almost upon us. I traditionally post my recap of the best and worst movies of the year on New Year’s Eve, and nothing’s changed; I’ll be posting that pair of lists tomorrow. Just time for one more “first impressions” instalment in the meantime. 🙂 Here’s my take on the last handful of movies I saw in 2017.

__Section one: cinema releases.
__The Disaster Artist (2017). When Greg Sestero, an aspiring film actor, meets the weird and mysterious Tommy Wiseau in an acting class, they form a unique friendship and travel to Hollywood to make their dreams come true. It’s definitely a good movie that beautifully details the challenges of the filmmaking process, but it presents Tommy Wiseau as so insane that I was more fascinated by his journey to realise his vision than genuinely rooting for him.
My rating: 80%. Continue reading

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