2019 Year In Review: Movies

2019 in many ways has been a pretty good year for me, but what it has not been, is a year full of spare time. So this has left me with major backlog of books, TV shows,  comic books, movies and video games to catch up on, (and look forward to doing so over the course of the year). But here are some of the best that I got around to experiencing in 2019.

So here are my top three films from 2019 (star wars would have been on it, but I didn’t see it until 2020).

Shaft

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I absolutely loved this film, I honestly thing that we all need to be a little more Shaft, in this wide a woke, post me too movement era, its nice to see a little bit of un PC humour coming back into movies, and this one was action packed and full of beautiful one liners and so many amazing coats that I wanted them all (and in fact actually purchased one). I also like that it  ties back to all the previous Shaft films of yesteryear an incorporates them without

Downton Abbey 

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It may surprise you to find that I am a huge fan of Downton Abbey (although if you could see the room I’m typing this in, maybe it wouldn’t be that much of a surprise), however I was very impressed with the show, and was rather disappointed when the show came to an end some years ago, but was delighted to learn of that a movie was in the works and this piece certainly holds up.

Aladdin 

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I wasn’t expecting much from this film, but I was pleasantly surprised, basically if you go in expecting Robin Williams, you will be disappointed, but Will Smith manages to take the role of Genie for his own, and really nails some of the musical numbers, the Fresh Prince certainly manages to keep things fresh.

Murder Mystery 

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I don’t know what it is, but lately I’ve really been enjoying the work of Adam Sandler, a great funny man, who in this instance teams up with Jennifer Aniston to bring yet another netflix original movie to a great deal of comic enjoyment.

As you can see its been a really slow year for me in terms of films I still haven’t even been to see Star Wars yet, which if you know me at all is shocking.  Looking forward to 2020 there are a few films that I’m looking forward to, most notably the New James Bond flick set for this year.

Book Review: A Princess Of Mars

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A little while ago I came up with a list of books that I wanted to read before the time I become ancient (30) first on the list was A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, a prolific American writer most well know as the creator of Tarzan. A princess of Mars is the first novel to feature his second most well known creation John Carter of Mars.

The novel itself is fairly short and is a prime example of the general pulp science fiction that was popularised in early twentieth century America and without giving away the plot does stick rather closely to the formula for pulp, of man from Earth winds up on alien planet, fights and then joins with the natives, rescues a princess and then saves the day. As an early example of the sort of pulp (originally serialised in 1912) that was floating about the market place in those days you can forgive it for seeming a little done to death over 100 years later, because you realise it was one of the first to do it.

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The writing style feels a little disjointed as it is written in the form of memoir, so Edgar Rice Burroughs has written it in the manner of memoir penned by Captain John Carter, who has a tendency to go off on tangents mid explanation, which does spoil the narrative, however I feel this may have been a conscious choice by Burroughs, as it lends a certain verisimilitude to the work, and it shows that only a really great writer would be able to write from the point of view of an amateur, that is to say terrible, writer.

My only main criticism is that whilst the world of Barsoom is a rich and vibrant world the secondary characters ring a little flat, and whilst the protagonist and his circle are explored the villains of the piece such as Tal Hajus and Sarkoja are lacking in any real depth and seem to be there mainly as plot accelerators more than as real characters.

Overall it was an enjoyable distraction I would give it a 3.5 out of 5 and pick up some the other books that make up the Barsoom series to find out the fates of Deja Thoris and John Carter of Mars.

Look out for more reviews coming soon. 

30 Before Thirty (Comics & Graphic Novels)

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I’m going to be thirty in just over 2 years and at this moment in time I’m OK with that (how I feel about it in 10 minuets is up for debate) but one of the things that I realised is that there are a fair few things I still want to accomplish whilst the career and social goals are somewhat out of my control things like films I want to see, albums I want to listen to and books I want to read are very much in my control, especially as I have 25 months to accomplish it. Here is a list of the Comics and Graphic Novels that I would like to have read by the time I’m thirty.

Grant Morrison’s 18 Days

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Camelot 3000

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Miracle Man: A Dream Of Flying

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All Star Superman 

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Preacher: Gone To Texas

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The Crow

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Sandman Preludes and Nocturnes

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Alan Moore’s: Saga of The Swamp Thing

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Marvel 1602

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Saga: Volume 1

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 The Order: Die Mensch Machine

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The Complete Scarlet Traces 

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Button Man

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Ronin 

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Superman: Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow 

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The Infinity Gauntlet 

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Amazing Spider-man: Kravens Last Hunt

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Promethea Book 1 

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Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus 

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Multiversity 

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Son Of Superman 

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Hellblazer: Original Sins 

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The Authority: Relentless 

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Hellboy: Seed Of Destruction 

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Doctor Who: Emperor Of The Daleks

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Death: The High Cost Of Living  

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JSA The Liberty Files 

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Alice In Sunderland 

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Daredevil Yellow

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The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch

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How many of these do you think I’ll get done before July 21st 2019?

30 Before I’m Thirty (Films)

Congratulations Mr Trump (2)

I’m going to be thirty in just over 2 years and at this moment in time I’m OK with that (how I feel about it in 10 minuets is up for debate) but one of the things that I realised is that there are a fair few things I still want to accomplish whilst the career and social goals are somewhat out of my control things like films I want to see, albums I want to listen to and books I want to read are very much in my control, especially as I have 25 months to accomplish it. Here is a list of the films that I would like to have read by the time I’m thirty.

How Green Was My Valley 

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Gentleman’s Agreement

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From Here to Eternity

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Gone With The Wind

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Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

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West Side Story

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Lawrence of Arabia

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Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf

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Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner

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Funny Girl

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Fiddler On The Roof

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All The Presidents Men

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Milk

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Kramer Vs Kramer

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Terms of Endearment 

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The Cider House Rules

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An Education

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The Wolf Of Wall Street

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Guardians of the Galaxy 2

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Moonrise Kingdom

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Saving Private Ryan

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Going In Style 

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Wall Street

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King Ralph

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Planes Trains and Automobiles

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O Brother, Where Art Thou?

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The Monuments Men

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Good Will Hunting

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Good Morning Vietnam 

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This Is Spinal Tap

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How many of these do you think I’ll get done before July 21st 2019?

30 Before I’m Thirty (Books)

Congratulations Mr Trump (2).png

I’m going to be thirty in just over 2 years and at this moment in time I’m OK with that (how I feel about it in 10 minuets is up for debate) but one of the things that I realised is that there are a fair few things I still want to accomplish whilst the career and social goals are somewhat out of my control things like films I want to see, albums I want to listen to and books I want to read are very much in my control, especially as I have 25 months to accomplish it. Here is a list of the books that I would like to have read by the time I’m thirty.

A Princess of Mars- Edgar Rice Burroughs 

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War and Peace- Leo Tolstoy 

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Ulysses- James Joyce 

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The Iliad- Homer

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Journey To The Centre of the Earth- Jules Verne 

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Frank Sinatra Has A Cold- Gay Talese 

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Three Men In A Boat (To Say Nothing Of The Dog)- Jerome K Jerome

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The Time Machine- H.G Wells

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Lolita- Vladimir Nabokov

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Animal Farm- George Orwell

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The Last Of The Mohicans – James Fenimore Cooper

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The Man Who Would Be King- Rudyard Kipling 

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Treasure Island- Robert Louis Stevenson 

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Stardust- Neil Gaiman

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A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court- Mark Twain

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Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years- Sue Townsend 

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The Fight-Norman Mailer 

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The Turn Of The Screw-Henry James

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The Stand- Stephen King

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Notes Of A Dirty Old Man- Charles Bukowski 

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Children Of Hurin- J.R.R Tolkein 

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Idylls Of The King- Alfred Tennyson

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Confessions of an English Opium Eater-Thomas de Quincey

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Little Women- Louisa May Alcott 

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A Little History Of The World- E.H Gombrich 

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The Mysterious Affair At Styles- Agatha Christie 

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Who Censored Roger Rabbit- Gary K Wolf

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Zen And The Art Of Motor Cycle Maintenance-  Robert M. Pirsig

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The Day Of The Triffids- John Wyndham 

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Winds of Winter- George R.R. Martin (Because surely this’ll be finished before the TV series)

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How many of these do you think I’ll get done before July 21st 2019?

 

 

 

 

The Cosplay Generation

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For those of you that don’t know cosplay is a hobby (to some a way of life) in which the participants (cosplayers) engage in activities dressed as fictional characters from film, television, comic books, literature, anime, manga,  video games or any other kind of media you can think of. Cosplay has risen in popularity over the last decade or so, in no small part thanks to the spreading of comic and film conventions, especially in the UK and the US. Last summer I was privileged to attend Newport Geekedfest with my daughter Marianna and she was amazed at the bright costumes and people who were dressed up as their favourite characters from TV and comics. However Marianna was no stranger to cosplay then and certainly isn’t now. Here are some of her best.

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The Fourth Doctor ( Tom Baker) from Doctor Who 
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Alice from Alice In Wonderland
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Superman 
velma
Velma from Scooby Doo
batgirl
Batgirl
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Snow White

Personally I’ve always thought that cosplay would be quite a cool hobby to get into, however I don’t really have the courage or the patience for it. So it looks like I’m going to have to live vicariously through my daughter, you can all look forward to more kiddie cosplay coming in the future.