January 2017 & Christmas

Christmas is my favourite time of year, I love the weather, the old Christmas movies, the friendly/cheerful atmosphere & the gift giving/receiving. For me, Christmas starts on the 24th. On December 24th, every year since I was 1 or 2 years old, me & my family go to the theatre royal to watch a pantomime. It’s a Christmas tradition that I will never miss. This year’s panto was a production of Cinderella.
When you’ve been to a pantomime as much as I have, you get to see the same stories over and over again. Sadly, the past years have been a little disappointing. The cast has become predictable & the jokes quite frankly are lazy. That being said, it’s still an enjoyable experience.

Then we have Christmas Day. Possibly the greatest day of the year. First we have the morning gift exchange, then we have a family gathering at my grandparents home in the afternoon, which includes dinner, games, more gifts & general fun. Finally, we have the other side of the my family visiting. This results in a busy, tiresome, but fun day (for me).

One of the films I watched over the Christmas holidays was Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. This is one of the best comedies of 2016. I’m a fan of Andy Samberg & Brooklyn Nine-Nine, so I liked him in the lead role. I also admire the way in which it uses the documentary style in a rather original way. This is a style of filmmaking that has been overused in recent years but this film does it well. I also want to address the inclusion of real life music stars such as 50 Cent, whose appearances really add to the hilarity.

One of my Christmas presents this year was Quantum Break on XBOX One. I quite enjoyed the game. The story is by far the best thing about it, if a little too long. Gameplay is fine, but very repetitive because so many of the mechanics are introduced really early on. One of this games selling points was that it was both a game & a tv show that would react & change based on player choice. Sadly, the tv show is the least compelling part of the game & I never really felt like my choices had that big of an impact on it. I’m also not sure if the live action show was necessary, it could’ve been done just as well, if not better if made using the game engine. Also, I encountered numerous bugs & glitches & the game crashed on me a few times. In 2016, I thought these issues were almost nonexistent.

The highlight of December 2016 was the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I loved the film, especially the final act. I was also impressed with the use of CGI used to recreate Peter Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin. Even if it was a little distracting at times & I couldn’t help but ponder about the ethics of bringing someone back from the dead like this. As a big Star Wars fan, my views are definitely biased, hence the reason I didn’t review it properly upon release. It just didn’t seem right to do that. Rogue One is one of my favourite Star Wars films (but not the best) because of the way in which it really expands on the mythos & it even alters the very original Star Wars film. There’s also a brilliant Darth Vader scene that I can’t get out of my head.

Sadly, December also saw Carrie Fisher passing away. I was heartbroken. Usually when a celebrity dies I’m sad but I can shrug it off and continue with my day. With Carrie’s death though, I really struggled. It took me a good couple of days to get over it. One of the things that annoys me about this, is that I could’ve met her at Star Wars Celebration earlier in the year. The only reason I didn’t was because of scheduling issues with a panel I wanted to see. I did however get to see her brilliant one woman show with Warwick Davis. That’s some consolation.

As for my views on her future in Star Wars. I don’t want her to be recast & I don’t want her recreated with CGI. The best thing to do is to write her out of Episode 9 or edit episode 8.

RIP Carrie 😦

At the start of 2017, I gave myself a goal. As a single, 25 year old who still lives with his parents, I was growing tired of my lack of contribution. My goal this year is to become more independent. For starters, I’ve started to learn how to cook. It’s a slow process that I’m definitely going to continue. My 1st dish was a Spicy Taco Skillet, it didn’t look great upon completion, but it wasn’t all that bad. I also learnt how to make a ‘London Fog’ tea, which my dad liked (apparently), chili con carne & naan bread pizza.

One of the 1st films I watched in 2017 was Hell or High Water. The film wasn’t bad, but it didn’t really resonate with me. The cast is fine, it’s good to look at too, but it’s very predictable and the characters weren’t all that interesting.

I’m also still an aspiring writer. I’m still trying to get my 1st novel published, I honestly don’t think it’s going to happen now though. I’ve also wrote a short story that I originally wrote as a screenplay. I’m pretty happy with it too. I don’t think I’m that good a writer but I like doing it. My skills are definitely more suited to screenwriting rather than novel writing, but once you’ve wrote a screenplay, it’s bloody difficult to do anything with it unless you’ve got industry contacts or a lot of money. As a result of all of this, I’m also on the job hunt. Sadly, all the jobs I’m interested in are based in London. This is sad because I’m not exactly willing to leave Newcastle, or more specifically, I don’t want to leave my dog.

I don’t usually talk about politics. Mainly because it doesn’t interest me, but also because a lot of it confuses me. That being said, January 2017 is the month in which Donald Trump gets inaugurated as President of the USA. Personally I’m not a fan. I don’t understand how he got elected despite the things he’s said and supposedly done. Also, am I right in thinking he didn’t even get the most votes? If not, I apologise. If so, that just suggests a problem with the American political system, 1 which should be dealt with swiftly, in my opinion.

One of this months PS Plus free games is This War of Mine: The Little Ones. I played the game for a few hours to pass the time. It was fun. I liked the art style, gameplay was basic but engaging too. However, after only a few hours of scavenging, sneaking & resource managing, I felt like I’d experienced all that was on offer. Maybe I gave in too early, I don’t know. There wasn’t anything in the game compelling me to play on. The story was minimalistic & the characters weren’t that interesting either. However, I understand the messages & themes were far more important & the developers did a great job of conveying them.

Other things. I’m currently awaiting a CT scan, to determine if my 2 years worth of treatment has worked. Fingers crossed. Scan days are always dull, long & unpleasant. I might write up something about it once it’s happened.

I’m eagerly anticipating the release of Resident Evil VII. I think it’s going to be a big hit & one of the key selling points for VR. I intend on reviewing the game when I finish it. Having played the demo, I’ve got some trepidation, because that was terrifying in VR. And I genuinely don’t scare easily.

This month also saw the full reveal of the Nintendo Switch. Nintendo consoles & games have never appealed to me. This one was no different. I won’t be getting it.

Finally, for the first time ever I’ve started watching a TV show called Friends. You might’ve heard of it. Anyhow, I’m only a few episodes into season 1, but so far it’s just okay. Nothing more. I think the show looks its age but I’m going to keep watching. I’m hoping & assuming it gets better.

I hope you’ve liked reading this. If not, well I’m sorry, but I guess you’ve wasted your time.


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