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

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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!

2017 Challenges: Year in recap

Overall, a pretty terrible year for me and the challenges. Looking back, I think I got off to a really slow start, so let’s blame that. I only achieved one of my challenges, which is really poor. Let’s take a deeper look!

Watch 30 anime series

I made a lot of progress on this one over the last half of the year, but the first half was a real let-down. My total for this challenge was 17 series watched. It would be 18, but I discounted Voltron. Unfortunately, I’m going into 2018 with a few unfinished series, which is pretty annoying, but I’ll soon get those mopped up!

Make 10 new cosplays (one from scratch)

I guess 2017 was the year of cosplay. as this was the only challenge I actually met. I did 14 new cosplays, not including tests, and one of those I made entirely from scratch. I’m really proud of my progress with cosplay this year. I think I have a really long way to go, but I really learnt a lot, and I’m hoping to improve on things next year.

Watch 30 ‘new old’ films

After spending the first couple of months of the year putting off writing the list of 30 films, I actually only watched 1 film. I’m going to bring this challenge back next year, replace the one film I did watch with another title, and burn through this list!

Watch 60 films at the cinema

I managed to get to the cinema to see 41 films this year. I think I’ve really recognised that my cinema-going habits have changed. I don’t think I did any trips to the cinema where I watched more than one film per day, which is something I used to do a lot in previous years.

Platinum 12 games

I’m determined to get back into the platinum game in 2018, as I only got 2 platinum trophies this year, which is really shameful. I had wanted to get to 60 platinums overall by the end of the year, but didn’t quite make it. Like my cinema-going, I’m not sure if my gaming habits have changed, but I still really like to get trophies, so I just need to get back into it.

Clear gaming backlog

The trouble with being a gamer is that there’s always something coming out, so the backlog just gets bigger and bigger. I don’t think I wiped anything off my list, and in fact it’s just doubled in size if anything.

Review: Planet of the Apes: Last Frontier

Planet of the Apes: Last Frontier is set between Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War for the Planet of the Apes – the two most recent movies in the franchise.

With the power of PlayLink, up to four players can decide the fate of humans and apes alike, as we take control of Jess, the head of a human settlement, and Bryn, an ape in a mountain tribe. If playing along with the PlayLink app isn’t cutting it for you, fortunately you can also use multiple DualShock 4 controllers. In fact, playing this way is preferable, as you’re not threatened by connection problems if your wi-fi isn’t behaving. Still, the option for PlayLink is there should you need it.

Read the rest of my review on Push Square.

2017 Challenges: October Recap

Make 10 new cosplays (including one entirely from scratch)

MCM London at the end of October saw me hitting my 10 cosplays target as I added Knives Chau, Speed o Sound Sonic, and V to my total. What a relief to have actually met one of my targets this year!

Watch 30 anime series

After careful consideration and A LOT of research, my total number of anime series now stands at 12 series’ watched. I had actually added to this number with my completion of Convenience Store Boyfriends, but as I was pondering whether to speed through the next 3 series of Voltron, I came to the conclusion that I won’t be counting Voltron as an anime for the purpose of this challenge. There are a lot of arguments out there about whether or not it should count, and as there doesn’t really seem to be a definitive answer, the uncertainty made my decision for me. So, a step back! 

Platinum 12 games

You know what? Maybe I’m just not the trophy hunter I used to be. Maybe the thrill isn’t there for me anymore. Maybe I’m just ruminating on the fact I added no more platinum trophies to my collection. 

Watch 30 new ‘old’ films

So, this definitely isn’t happening, and I’ve made my peace with that. I’m going to shelve this challenge until next year, where I will blast my way through this list!

Watch 60 films in the cinema

Currently I’m at 33 films on this a me, so yet another challenge that’s not happening. 

Clear the gaming backlog

Sorry, did you say clear or add to constantly? Because I’m definitely doing one of those things….

Review: Tsuredure Children

Anime: Tsuredure Children
Studio: Studio Gokumi
Crunchyroll description: To those of you out there who could never say “I love you” – this story is about ordinary highschoolers and how love makes them fired up, shaken, laugh, cry and hurt. Whether things go well or not, this story of adolescence and romance will show you how they spend their precious youth. Every character is the main character here, and you’re sure to find one you can sympathize with.
Genres: Comedy, Romance, School, Shounen
Original run: 04/07/2017 to 19/09/2017
Episodes: 12

tsuredure children

The theme of my summer anime seems to have been mostly me watching things and not really knowing what I was getting myself into. I had no intention of watching Tsuredure Children, but my housemate recommended to me, and as it was only about 10 minutes per episode, I didn’t have a reason to pass it up. I’m so glad I watched it.

I’ve seen a lot of people saying Tsuredure Children was the unexpected hit of last season and I wholeheartedly agree.

The basic premise of Tsuredure Children shows you snapshots of different sets of couples. Not every couple features every week, but across the series you get to follow the different stages of their relationship. There are a lot of characters crammed into this show, and going in, I was really apprehensive about how a 10-minute show was going to build on all of these relationships and develop the characters, but that’s the beauty of Tsuredure Children.

It’s surprising how quickly you can get invested in characters that really, you’re only seeing on screen for a couple of minutes each week, but Tsuredure Children presents us with some really likeable and well written characters. There’s the danger of having a lot of bland characters, or a few with similar personality types, but this anime seems to avoid this and all characters are memorable in their own right.

Each couple’s story brings something different to the show. Some are funny, some are emotional, and some are just downright bizarre, but they all fit together and make a really endearing and heartwarming package. Yes, I liked more of the individual stories than others, but there weren’t any that I really disliked. I especially liked the way some of the stories linked into each other, making them feel part of a whole rather than standalone offerings.

By the end of the series I did feel like some stories weren’t resolved as much as they could have been, and made way to Chiaki and ­­­­­Kana’s story instead, but the show started with some relationships already begun, so I guess the idea is that it ends with them and their issues ongoing.

Conclusion:

Tsuredure Children is a delightfully unassuming anime, which evokes all sorts of feelings. It’s heartwarming, funny and just a wonderful look at young love and all the ups and downs associated with it.

7 star