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Posts tagged “Review

Tech Review: Fitbit Charge 3

Wearables are everywhere; whether it’s a wearable gaming device, or the latest in health tech. Fitbit is one of those companies who really helped make wearable health devices a major part of our lives. Last year, I was given my Fitbit Charge 3 for Christmas, which I have been wearing regularly for most of the year so far. The more I use it, the more I love it. From the pedometer, to the heart rate tracker, there are some excellent built-in tools. Here are my thoughts on the tech, as well as what more you can do with it.

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Anime Review: Hinomaru Sumo

Whilst not the first anime based on the traditions of sumo, this one is fairly in-depth. The last sumo anime I watched was Rowdy Sumo Wrestler Matsutaro, where a local bully gets humbled and wants to be a strong sumo wrestler, to impress his teacher who he loves. This anime is a huge step away from that, talking about the desire to be a Yokozuna. Mix traditional sumo with shounen elements and you get Hinomaru Sumo. Sounds good? Read on!

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Film Review – Shazam!

Too often have I gone to the cinema after being told a film was some form of transformative experience. Shazam! doesn’t want to be such an experience. Instead, Shazam! stands on its own feet, introducing a humorous cast to the DC Cinematic Universe. Whether you’re a fan of DC as a whole or not, this is a film that you should consider checking out. Here’s our full review of the hero of pure heart.

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Not Reviewing Endgame

It took me a month… a whole month to get through Infinity War. Seriously, here are the articles:

Spoiler-Free Study – The MCU & The Avengers: Infinity War 1/4
Super Team Ups – The MCU & The Avengers: Infinity War 2/4
A Darkness Falls – The MCU & The Avengers: Infinity War 3/4
A Generation In Cinema – The MCU & The Avengers: Infinity War 4/4

And they were some of my best work, I was seriously proud of that content! 6128 words and that’s only a fraction of the content I’ve written on the subject of the MCU as a whole. This is the crowning glory of ten years of cinema, twenty-something films and a host of supporting content, the greatest minds in the industry, the biggest budget, and the finest talent, has been poured into a saga of films. Almost as many titles as James Bond crammed into a little over a decade, all drawn from the pages of comic book history, and featuring actors who have played the same characters in a stunning number of films.

So far as I am concerned, the MCU is over. I might go see the others, I would like to watch Far From Home, which will be Tom Holland’s fifth appearance as Spider-Man, outdoing his other predecessors; I am curious to see Baron Mordo return in a new Doctor Strange, and I am pleased that Gunn has been taken back onto Guardians 3… but ultimately, this feels done. This is my review, Endgame finished the saga in the best way it could be ended. It is not perfect, it has some glaring flaws that I will not go into yet, but will inevitably discuss in future.

It was beautiful, and it has simultaneously made cinema better and worse. I recommend looking on YouTube for the One Marvelous Scene collaboration started by Nando v. Movies and taken up by some of his friends and cohorts, and then onwards to dozens of other film analysts on YouTube, where they look back on the entire project and pick a scene that they love for its incredible depth of character, implications, or ramifications that ripple out across the series.

For what it’s worth mine may very well be the fight between our first three “main” Avengers, Thor, Stark, and Rogers, as they throw down for custody of Loki while the trickster god sits casually above them all. It’s a wonderful moment of synergy in which they learn a great deal about the ways in which they conflict and complement one another, every moment revealing a little more about themselves: Rogers the tactician, acting with authority and fighting in the name of a diplomatic conclusion; Tony acting recklessly but willing to get “experimental”; Thor, accustomed to victory is shocked to take a beating, all while Loki watches with a wry smile. Note the two conspicuous pair of crows that fly by the Asgardians, as father watches his sons squabble from afar. And let’s not forget “the gong strike”. Action and characterisation in perfect harmony.

In short, I’ll be talking about Endgame for quite some time, watching it again soon enough, and I might review it on the back of some other grandiose Marvel analysis series… actually I’m watching the scene on the lab in the Helicarrier following the custody battle, that’s an article in its own right. Maybe I need to get onto YouTube sooner rather than later. But three hours of Endgame that successfully ties up a decade of cinema with a wonderful cluster of callbacks and conclusions, it’s more than any one review can dissect. I look forward to talking about this for years to come.

Next week I want to talk about the two big wars of the week, Endgame and the Siege of Winterfell. There will be spoilers.


Mobile Game Review: Homescapes

You know when you see an advert enough times, you eventually just have to cave in? This is one of those times, where I’ve seen an advert for this Homescapes game on so many occasions and I’ve never actually even downloaded it. Indeed, I wouldn’t normally review a game like this – It’s one of those match three or more puzzle games, but it has a few extra elements worth mentioning.

If you’ve ever seen those Homescapes adverts, but want to know what it is, read on.

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Review – The Magic Circle

A parody of gaming auteurs, The Magic Circle presents itself as an incomplete game that you are playing while it is under construction, right down to the hovering cameras of the admins floating around openly discussing the development process. A black and white fantasy world filled with monsters and wonders, and placeholder objects, unrendered models, floating production notes, object interactions filled with placeholder text, and pieces of an old game spliced together with the new content.

I have not finished this game… but I still have some thoughts… (more…)


Anime Review: The Promised Neverland

Psychological horror that will chill you to the core, The Promised Neverland is simply a tale that will have you both captivated and horrified. With a likable cast, an excellent OST and a dark premise behind it, this will be one of 2019’s best anime, but it will likely go along relatively unheard of due to the genre. Nevertheless, I decided to check out The Promised Neverland, as the idea behind it caught my attention at the start of the year.

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Review – Captain Marvel

The release of Captain Marvel marks the last step to End Game and the first female lead across twenty two MCU films, a milestone that has been long awaited, and there was general consensus that she was a solid choice. Most of the good options from Marvel’s roster of female characters are either X-Men (or memebers of a team), villains, or female iterations of someone else, of those that remain Carole Danvers is easily the best known which, sadly, doesn’t say a great deal. DC at least have always had Wonder Woman to lean on, and they recently found some success with two thirds of a good film, Marvel have never quite had the same fortune.

Nor can we say that origin stories hold up against the big titles that Marvel has become revered for, Doctor Strange was a good enough film, Ant Man was ok, and certainly none of them are as bad as Thor 2, which I maintain still has some redeeming qualities, I’m getting off topic. The Avengers have been the films we have come to respect and love, characters are established and made strong on their own and then brought together to be stronger. A wise man attempts to build his house upon the sand, and tells us that because the house stands so tall that it will stand forever.

There Will Be Spoilers but I’m not going to lie to you here, it won’t make much difference if any at all. (more…)


Review – Alita: Battle Angel

Slowly but surely we are seeing those creators who grew up on anime and manga break into the industry and bring some of their favourite pieces to a more receptive audience. Robert Rodriguez has always worn his geeky side with pride, and his directing credits swing wildly between the more mature content and the kid’s action, you’d never believe that Dusk ‘Til Dawn was made by the same guy as Spy Kids. He also brought the Sin City comics to the big screen and made them household names, so to see him turn his action adventure skills to a 1990 manga (and a ’93 OVA) is something to be excited about. (more…)


Three Netflix Reviews

I have been quite unwell, and with all the time spent glaring at a screen from behind my diseased haze I have consumed quite a lot of the newer releases on Netflix. Rather than draw out reviewing each of the more interesting titles until past the point where anyone is interested, here’s a trio of opinions in quick succession, and relatively spoiler free.

The Umbrella Academy

What do you get when you cross X-Men with Preacher?

It’s an academy of kids with super-powers being trained by an eccentric old lunatic with a monocle, his monkey butler and robot maid! It’s been a while since they all got together, one died, one vanished through time, the others just filtered away to live their own lives until the only one that remained was sent to the moon. This all makes sense, right? We’re keeping up? Based on the 2007 Dark Horse comic series of the same name, the show takes us on a story of loneliness, time-travel, family conflict, and why eccentric billionaires shouldn’t keep secrets from the children they purchase.

Plot beats are fairly predictable once you’ve got a solid grasp of the characters involved, the end of the world is coming, there’s a time-travel plot including a time-cop agency that’s done moderately well, although it’s impossible not to draw comparisons to the agents of heaven from Preacher. Also like Preacher the tone strikes an odd balance between comedy and heavy drama, you have Robert Sheehan playing his own typecast of troubled class-clown with super-powers that he laid down in Misfits* alongside a fifty-something time-traveller in a child’s body, and opposite them you have Ellen Page as “the plain girl”, a mother torn apart by celebrity and relationships, an edgy “Nightwing” dealing with his own ego, and a man who has spent years alone on the moon.

All in all, not a bad watch, nice to see something that is neither Marvel or DC, and the performance from all parties is thoroughly enjoyable. The series does not balance its tone as well as Preacher, which can make it hard to invest in the stakes or characters, and of course the constant reveal of secret after secret does rather have you twiddling your thumbs waiting for the next “grand reveal”. Still, not a bad series, and easily worth watching an episode or two.


*Another Misfits and Preacher bridge, after a dramatic cast-shift in Misfits the character niche occupied by Robert Sheehan was taken up by Joseph Gilgun who plays the vampire Cassidy in Preacher! I hope those two are friends.


The Dragon Prince – Season 2

An improvement on season 1 which was already good, and I’m glad I gave The Dragon Prince chance to develop. We pick up where we left off, a potential war between humans and elves is beginning to reach the boiling point, and the only ones actively trying to put a preemptive stop to it, the newly orphaned prince who has the inexplicable ability to talk to animals, his older half-brother whose determined to learn magic despite the human inability to tap into primal energy, and an elf who is slowly learning to trust humans but whose scrutiny is proving far to useful to ignore.

Again, the real strength of the showrunners shines through in their character and world building that they proved in Avatar: the Last Airbender, although the narrative is still hitting some fairly tame plot-beats. Our main villain is, once again, evil for the sake of being evil, and I can see no reason for him to have gone kill-crazy. His best friend, the deceased king, was nothing but loving to him, heeded his counsel, gave reasons when he turned it down… anyway, let’s kill that rant early.

The show sticks to the D&D party paradigm, each party member fulfilling a role within the group and within the adventure, you can practically see the DM’s screen in the backgrounds of certain scenes. At times it feels a lot more “kids show” than Avatar ever did, but it doesn’t make it less fun, and the fact that you can consume a season in an afternoon makes it worth committing a bit of time to.

Velvet Buzzsaw

End this with one hell of a moodshift, a new horror that has been on Netflix for a couple of weeks now, we have a story of a mad artist whose work causes strange deaths among those who sell it. Told from the perspective of those in the art industry, the world we occupy is quite removed from a classic horror setting, bright, cheerful, full of life and business, no one is isolated, no one is removed from society or cut off from rescue, and that alone makes this an abnormal and interesting approach.

Our cast of characters are cutthroat and volatile, consumed with their own dramas, almost oblivious to the terror unfolding around them, more caught up in their own dramas, undermining and outdoing one another, that by the time it occurs to anyone that anything spooky is going on they’re already screwed. It’s a joyous thing to enjoy watching a cast of characters that you utterly despise, and there’s something a little cathartic about watching a horror film where you are not encouraged to feel bad for anyone except for Zooey Deschanel in the role of “innocent”.

It’s different, but I cannot say that it’s all good. The all star cast is great, sure, but it’s never proof against a failed experiment or a horror film that lacks tension. While I enjoyed what I watched, I found it all too easy to simply not pay attention to the story, skipping great chunks of the inter-personal drama, having to backtrack occasionally for bits of tension I’d inadvertently ignored while working on something else (work’s good, you?) and coming back to enjoy the grizzly moments and Zooey Deschanel finding another body and none of the nearby police thinking to arrest her for always finding the bodies.