2018 Challenges: March Recap

So, I bailed on doing one of these for February. It’s not that I hadn’t achieved a lot, it’s just that I got really busy with a lot of stuff and didn’t really have time, and then before I knew it, we were well into March. So before we get too far into April, let’s have a look at where I was at the end of last month!

Watch 30 ‘First Watch’ films

I was off to a flying start on this one at the beginning of the year, but I’ve stalled somewhat since then. I will get back on track – I’m still only at 1 film watched, The Pianist, and I still haven’t written my review for it yet.

Watch all of Naruto

Oh man. I had the best of intentions when I put this challenge down. I really want to watch Naruto still, but just… it’s so time consuming. My progress with Naruto has become a bit of a running joke between me and my friends, who will just randomly ask, “How’s Naruto going?” to shut down a conversation. I’ve still only watched the two episodes, so I’m about 65-70 episodes where I need to be for this time of year. The spring anime season is so busy for me as well, so I don’t foresee this actually happening, but I might surprise myself and everyone else.

Watch 30 anime series

As of the end of March, I’d completed 2 anime series this year. This has now actually increased in the last few weeks, and I’ve made a lot of progress very quickly. I’m pretty confident on this one.

Platinum 12 games

I sprang out of the blocks on this one at the beginning of the year, and I’ve just sort of… stayed there since. I’ve been focussing on clearing my backlog (or trying to) instead of platinum hunting, so this is still at 1 platinum trophy. I’m confident I can claw this back.

Make 3 cosplays from scratch

I’m having a debate with myself about what constitutes ‘from scratch’, and how much of a costume I’ve made before it counts for this. I made a lot of my recent Sasha Braus cosplay, but not everything. I’ve not made anything else this year, apart from a skirt for Violet Evergarden. The sad thing is none of my cosplans involve me making everything for the costume, but plans change so we’ll see if this happens!

Watch 50 films in the cinema (and write a review for each film)

By the end of March I’d seen 15 films in the cinema, but only reviewed 3 of them. I’m still planning on getting at least a small review out for all of them, so stay tuned! This is pretty encouraging progress on at least the film-watching aspect of this challenge, so that’s something!

Advertisements

2018 Challenges: January Recap

For January I’ve been focusing a lot on my personal goals for the year rather than too much related to the 2018 Challenges, so progress has got off to a slow start. Having said that, I am really pleased with the small amount of progress I’ve made (and a great start to my personal goals also!), so here’s what’s been going on.

Watch 30 ‘First Watch’ films

So I’ve actually equalled my total from 2017 on this front, but I’ve watched something on my First Watch list. Celebrations all round! A review is in the pipe-line (recurring theme), but I watched The Pianist. Hooray!

Watch all of Naruto

Perhaps my weakest area, I’ve only watched 2 episodes of Naruto. I was afraid I wasn’t going to like it, but I really do, so me being behind isn’t down to lack of enjoyment, it’s mostly just a lack of time and having to prioritise my free time to other areas.

Watch 30 anime series

So for January I haven’t actually managed to complete any anime series. I’ve started a lot of ongoing shows and something from my To Watch list from MAL. I’m hoping to really turn this one around come February.

Platinum 12 games

Well and truly on schedule for this one. I platinumed Telltale’s Batman after it came free on PS+. A platinum review is forthcoming!

Make 3 cosplays from scratch

I’m having a really hard time planning my cosplays this year. My next couple aren’t going to be entirely from scratch though a lot of the elements are. My main issues are that I’ve not got a lot of conventions lined up, so I’ve not really got anything to plan for which makes things a lot harder.

Watch 50 films in the cinema (and write a review for each film)

I think this challenge might potentially be the one I struggle with most this year. I’ve watched 9 films in the cinema so far but have only written reviews for two of them. I struggled enough to get those reviews out as I felt really out of practice writing a film review, it somehow feels like a totally different process to writing a game review, which I suppose it is in many ways. I do want to get them done and catch up with myself, so again, these 7 reviews are going to be hitting the site imminently.

 

As always, you can follow my progress on Twitter by following me or on #cs2018challenge.

Review: Tokyo Ghoul

Tokyo Ghoul is one of my favourite anime, so when I saw that a cinema near me was doing a screening of the release of the live action film, I jumped at the chance to get tickets.

tg

In all, I really enjoyed the movie. It’s not perfect by a long stretch, but it’s a really good adaptation of the anime and manga, and stuck faithfully to its predecessors. There weren’t really any moments I could nail down where I could comfortably say “It didn’t happen like that in the anime/manga”, and trust me, I’m always the first one to point out that sort of thing.

Tokyo Ghoul is let down by some of it’s not-so-special effects. So much of the plot is reliant on CGI, so it’s really disappointing that the CGI was so subpar. It really took me out of it seeing the ghouls fighting using their kagunes which were just laughably bad. Really, I think this is the only negative I can say about the whole experience.

The movie does showcase some really stellar acting. Masataka Kubota in particular was especially convincing as Ken Kaneki, managing to show off his inner turmoil at becoming a ghoul. There are some really great moments later on in the movie where Ken is being overtaken by his ghoul side where you can really feel how the experience is affecting him and how troubled his mind is.

7 star

2018 Challenges: First watch films

So, I’m revamping the ‘New old’ films, as that was a bit of a clumsy title. These are the films I’ll be watching for the first time, so the feature is now ‘First watch films’, inventive right?

Anyway, here is the updated list of the 30 films I’m definitely going to watch for the very first time in 2018.

  1. Planet Of The Apes
  2. Die Hard
  3. Psycho
  4. The Godfather pt. 2
  5. Silence Of The Lambs
  6. Rocky
  7. Gone With The Wind
  8. Schindler’s List
  9. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
  10. American Beauty
  11. The Princess Bride
  12. Reservoir Dogs
  13. Good Will Hunting
  14. Dead Poet’s Society
  15. The Usual Suspects
  16. LA Confidential
  17. Lost In Translation
  18. Watchmen
  19. Garden State
  20. Leon
  21. The Terminator
  22. V For Vendetta
  23. Taxi Driver
  24. The Pianist
  25. Donnie Darko
  26. The Sixth Sense
  27. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
  28. The Princess and The Frog
  29. The Matrix
  30. Inglourious Basterds

    5

Review: Downsizing

Downsizing is a peculiar one. I think it’s really hard to make a ‘serious film’ where the key concept of the movie is that people are shrinking themselves. I don’t know if that’s because I was a child in a time where Honey, I Shrunk The Kids and its various spin-offs were a big thing, but to me the idea of a person shrinking is just funny.

ds

The thing with Downsizing, though it does have its funny moments, is it’s not really a comedy. The concept of ‘downsizing’ is so that a person takes up less space on the planet and has less of an effect on the environment, so the movie is a pretty serious one with a focus on environmentalism and the selfishness of humanity.

Downsizing doesn’t really deliver its message with much impact. Yes, we all know that the Earth is struggling to cope with the volume of people who inhabit it, as well as the way they treat it. Past this it doesn’t really offer much more exploration into things. There’s no focus on how things change once the project begins, how things are developing or whether the project met its aims. Things just happen, and we’re expected to accept that.

Downsizing touches on a lot of points that would have been really interesting to explore; the import/export business in the miniature world, the wealth divide in Leisure Land, politics between the ‘normies’ and the downsizers to name a few examples, but it doesn’t expand on any of them. It’s disappointing, but throughout the movie Downsizing has a habit of introducing an interesting topic and just leaving it, undeveloped.

The protagonist, Paul (Matt Damon) doesn’t really develop much, and the same can be said for most of the characters. Everyone ends the movie as they started, there’s no journey, no development, nothing to keep you engaged and the movie feels every second of its 2hr15 runtime.

4 star

Review: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Going into Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri I had very little idea about the film. I thought vaguely, maybe it won’t actually be about billboards, and the billboards might be a sort of metaphor? Nope, it’s about billboards.

three billboards

The billboards, whilst not necessarily a metaphor, are a representation of ­­­Mildred’s struggle to get closure and justice for her murdered daughter. Frustrated, Mildred (played by Frances McDormand) rents out the three billboards and puts up some choice words for the local police chief essentially questioning whether he has done his job properly.

There’s a pretty stellar cast, with Frances McDormand being joined by Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell, who is particularly fantastic throughout the whole film, portraying a really complex character perfectly. Everything is sublime and it’s really hard to find any faults in the whole movie.

I don’t want to delve too deeply into things, as I think it’s good to go into Three Billboards as I did, not really knowing much about it. I will say it’s a wonderfully emotional film with a really engaging plot.

Three Billboards does comedy and drama exceptionally well, giving you moments that are genuinely hilarious before smacking you in the gut with some well-delivered emotional trauma. The whole thing keeps you on your toes, in a good way, and you’re on an emotional rollercoaster along with the characters throughout the film’s 115 minutes.

I can’t recommend Three Billboards enough.

8 star

2018 Challenges: The Beginning

Though I rarely complete any of the challenges I set for myself, I actually quite enjoy having them there to focus on throughout the year. I also have a few personal targets I want to meet which are more standard ‘New Years resolution’ type things; get a new job, lose weight, get fitter, save money, travel more, as well as some other hobby based things which aren’t really measurable; continue to improve with photography, get better at posing for cosplay shoots, blog more. Having these challenges as a side to all of the other things I want to achieve helps me focus on things, even if I do end up never fully meeting the goals! It’s fun to try, at least. So, with that in mind, here’s what I’m aiming for this year!

Watch 30 ‘new old’ films

And come up with a better name for this feature! Yes, that’s right, I’m actually going to watch them this year. I’ve replaced the one film I actually managed to watch (and the one that made it onto the list without me realising I’ve actually seen it), and I’ll be getting all of this stuff done!

Watch all of Naruto

My anime knowledge has a lot of gaps, mostly due to the fact that I was a really late starter. I wanted to watch all of a long-running show, and after a lot of research I decided the show for me was Naruto (I will be honest, mostly due to Sasuke and Kakashi). Originally this challenge was to watch all of Naruto and Naruto Shippuden, but I’d managed to underestimate how much there was, and do some truly horrendous maths to figure out how much I’d need to watch each week, and frankly, it’s just not doable with everything else as well! So, not wanting to completely surrender my 2018 to Naruto, I’m settling for just watching Naruto.

Watch 30 anime series

Dejavu much? I know I didn’t manage to hit this last year, but as I said in my 2017 wrap-up, I was slow on the uptake and didn’t really get started until a good way through the year. I do think 30 series is probably pushing it, but hey, at least Naruto will count as one, right?

Platinum 12 games

Wow, another recycled challenge? As I mentioned in my 2017 wrap-up post, I want to get back in the platinum game. 12 platinums is only 1 a month (gr8 maths), so this is totally doable. Which is why I managed it last year. Oh, wait…

Make 3 cosplays from scratch

Last year I really enjoyed making cosplays, so this year I want to push myself more on that front. I also want to rewear a lot of stuff, which is why this isn’t a “do X cosplays” sort of target; that works out hella expensive. I think I have a vague idea of what I want to make across the course of 2018, so I’m excited to get some projects underway.

Watch 50 films in the cinema (and write a review for each film)

I hit 41 on this challenge last year, so I think 50 is pretty reachable. Sometimes cinema-going feels like a bit of a chore to me, but I do really love it still. In the spirit of trying to get myself into the habit of posting more regular blog content, I’m also going to try and post a review for each film I see.

 

Have you got any suggestions of challenges I can add in? Let me know in the comments!