2017 Challenges: March Recap

I’m sure you’re all dying to know how things are going for the 2017 challenges, so let’s crack on with my shame.

Make 10 new cosplays (including one entirely from scratch)
It feels like con season has well and truly started now! Only March and I’ve already got two conventions under my belt, MCM Telford and MCM Birmingham. I wore new cosplays to each of these conventions, both from Yuri On Ice!!. A photo of my Phichit is below, but I haven’t got any photos back of my drunk Yuri yet – when I do, I will share!

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Phichit from Yuri On Ice!!

This weekend, I started the work on my ‘from scratch’ cosplay; Kubo from Kubo and the Two Strings. I’ve got the kimono base done, so now I just need to weather it, and add the detail on. I also started making the guitar, but I feel like that’s going to be a much slower process!

On a cosplay note, I also finally made a Facebook page this weekend, so please head over there and like it!

Watch 30 anime series
I’m totally powering through this one now, with four series under my belt! I’ve watched Voltron: Legendary Defender (s01), Love Live! (so1), and Vampire Knight (s01 and s02). I’m still planning on doing reviews of each series, so stay tuned for those! As I’m apparently obsessed with social media, I’ve also made a MyAnimeList profile, so feel free to add me on there.

Watch 30 new ‘old’ films
The less said about this the better… I’ve still only watched one, and that was E.T. Moving swiftly on….

Watch 60 films at the cinema
As always, you can track the progress on this challenge by following me on Twitter (more social media plugging) or checking out the hashtag #cs2017challenge. I’m well on schedule, with 16 films under my belt. I won’t list them, so check out that hashtag!

Clear the gaming backlog
Look, I don’t think I even made the list for this did I? Probably not. And by ‘clear’ do we mean ‘continue to add more games until it’s totally out of hand’? Because if so, I’m way ahead of you…. Persona 5 comes out in two days, so there’s absolutely no chance this is getting done this year. Hooray!

2017 Challenges: New ‘Old’ Films

So, I’ve finally put together this list. That’s the hard part out of the way, right?

  1. E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial
  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. GoodFellas
  12. Reservoir Dogs
  13. Good Will Hunting
  14. Dead Poet’s Society
  15. The Usual Suspects
  16. L.A 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

2017 Challenges: January Recap

I’d like to be able to tell you things are going well, but I’m not in the business of lying. Let’s find out just how poorly things are going!

Make 10 new cosplays (including one entirely from scratch)
To be honest, I feel like I should be panicking a bit more about this target, but con season isn’t even here yet. I say that, but I’m actually attending MCM Midlands in two weeks time, so maybe I am in the business of lying after all. What I mean is, MCM London in May is my first ‘big con’ of the year, the first one that’s not just a day event, and that’s where I’ll put the wheels into motion for my first new cosplays of the year. I’ve got something planned for each day (including the one cosplay from scratch), so I have just over four months to pull it all together! As it stands, I’ve made no new cosplays, though I have got a variation on one of last years together, but I’m not counting that for the purposes of this challenge.

Watch 30 anime series
Failure breeds failure, it turns out. This year so far, I’m ashamed to say I’ve watched no new anime. I do have my reasons for this, and they can all pretty much be attributed to Kuroko No Basuke. My relationship with KNB feels really weird at the moment. When I’m watching it, I love it, and I want to watch more and more, but it’s just getting to the point where I actually put it on that I’m struggling with. For this reason, I decided not to start any new anime until I’d finished it, simply because I know I’ll never go back to it and I really do want to finish it. I’m about 8 episodes from the end, so looking forward to wrapping it up and making some headway on this one!

Platinum 12 games
Can you sense a theme? I’ve also not made any progress with this one. In the interest of saving money, I want to platinum as many games as I already own before I go trawling for some new ones. I’ve recently finished the main storyline of Final Fantasy XV (expect more on that another time), so I’m going to aim for that to be the first platinum of the year.

Watch 30 new ‘old’ films
Finally! A challenge I’ve done something on! My last post mentioned that I’d recently watched E.T for the first time, and this counts towards this portion of the 2017 challenges. Where I am failing is making the whole damn list in the first place, which I will definitely get to soon!

Watch 60 films at the cinema
Now we’re talking. So far this year, I’ve seen 7 films and you can track which ones on Twitter, either by following me or by viewing the hashtag #cs2017challenge. I’m keen to get as far ahead with this one as possible, as I know later in the year I’ll trail off.

Clear the gaming backlog
Damn Jade, back at it again with the weak resolve. Unless you can count Final Fantasy XV towards this one, I’ve made no progress. Once again, I haven’t even made the list of what I’m trying to clear! I will though. Very soon!

2017 Challenges: The Beginning

So, with 2016 out of the way (finally, amirite?), I’m now looking ahead to 2017. I’ve learnt a lot about myself over the course of the past year (mostly that I definitely can’t cram as much into a year as I thought I could), so with that in mind, and all the reflecting out of the way, it’s time to set some 2017 challenges!

Coming to you this year with a brand new hashtag (#cs2017challenge), how many of the films, TV shows and games can you name in the 2017 Challenge logo?

Make 10 new cosplays (including one entirely from scratch)
I did really well with cosplay last year (8!), and I got a sewing machine for Christmas. I’ve decided I want to majorly up my game, so I’m going for double figures and the condition that one has to be completely made from scratch. I also really want to make an awesome prop, but we’ll see how we go with that one!

Watch 30 anime series
I have a couple of series I need to finish off (Dream Festival and Kuroko no Basuke), and then it’s on with the new series. This year I’m refining my rules – mostly because there’s no way I’m watching all of Black Butler and it not counting because I’ve watched the first episode, so as long as I’ve watched three episodes or less of a series, then it counts towards this years total! I’m also hoping to write a quick review of each series as I go as review practice.

Platinum 12 games
Last years target of 24 games seems a bit optimistic now, especially considering all of the other challenges going on at the same time, so this year I’ve reduced the total to just one platinum a month. I will be writing platinum reviews for each game I manage!

Watch 30 new ‘old’ films
I have a few films which when I say I’ve never seen, people are always shocked (E.T and Die Hard to name a couple). In the next week or so I’ll be compiling a list of 30 of these films, and watching them over the course of the year. I’ll be writing up my impressions of these films in an as yet unnamed feature.

Watch 60 films at the cinema
Look, we all know I failed hard at this one in 2016, so I’m reducing my total by 20 to give myself a chance. I’ll be writing reviews where I can, and logging my progress on Twitter under the challenge hashtag.

Clear the gaming backlog
My gaming backlog is shameful, and growing by the month. My aim for the year is to finish every game I own, and try to catch up with the releases I’ve missed. I’ll update this post with a proper list of which games this entails when I get a chance!

2016 Challenges: A third of the way through

I’ve discovered if there’s anything I’m worse at than updating this blog, it’s actually achieving my 2016 Challenges. I had such a promising start to the year, but since then… Oh boy.

Let’s revisit each challenge and find out where I am! (Clue: not on target)

Watch 30 anime series from start to finish

“It’ll be easy”, I said. “You watch so much anime, you’ll get that one done”, my housemate said. HOW WRONG WE WERE. This year to date, almost half way through May, I’ve managed to watch 4 series; Sword Art Online S1, Prince of Stride: Alternative, Kuroko No Basuke S1, and Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches. What’s going wrong? I don’t even know. I love anime, I watch it pretty much all the time when I’m at home, but there’s something about having to do something that makes it so much less appealing. I also severely underestimated how long some series’ can be. I’m currently trying to boost my numbers by watching a lot of 12 episode anime, so hopefully I can get back on track with this one.

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Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches was a real emotional rollercoaster

Platinum 24 games

Maybe 4 is my unlucky number, as I’m also stuck on 4 for the platinum trophy challenge. My housemate upped the ante on this one, and also simultaneously challenged me that he could get more platinum trophies than me. It pains me to say, he’s actually winning with 5 platinums to my 4. Joining Life Is Strange on my platinum list are Amnesia: Memories (finally figured out what I was doing wrong), Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ and LEGO Jurassic World. Despite being 6 platinums behind schedule, I’m still naively confident about achieving this one.

Watch 80 movies in the cinema

Hey, remember back at the end of January when I was all, “I’m doing really well on this one, going to smash it”, well, that was pretty foolish. I’m a quarter of the way through this challenge, having watched 20 movies in the cinema. I’ll spare you the list of what I’ve seen, but you can check out what I’ve seen by using the Twitter hashtag #cultureshack2016challenge. I think it’s still achievable, but my 20 movies need to quadruple themselves in the next 8 months.

Read 24 books

On paper (haha) this one seems like it would be hardest, least to me, anyway – reading books is time-consuming! I set my quota for this one using the GoodReads challenge system, and have logged everything I’ve read. Now, GoodReads is telling me I’ve read 15 out of my 24 books, all thanks to manga, which it counts as a contribution towards the end goal. If GoodReads counts manga, then so do I! Ridiculously confident about this one, but I’ve been burned before (I’m looking at you, movie challenge).

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Create 5 new cosplays

MCM London is in two and a half weeks, the first big cosplaying con in my year. I’ve decided to go for 3 new cosplays for the event, and I’ve not finished a single one. A photo of my proposed roster is below, so fingers crossed it all comes together! I’ve got Nekozawa from Ouran High School Host Club, Yamaguchi from Haikyuu!!, and Negan from The Walking Dead. Each day, I’ve got at least one person cosplaying with me, which is a first for me, and I’ve got a couple of shoots planned, so I’m really excited about MCM this time around!Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 15.37.21

Writing this, I’ve realised the moral of the story is that I really need to pull my finger out if I’m going to meet all these challenges! Let’s see how the next month goes…

News: Debut trailer released for Men, Women & Children

Paramount Pictures have today released the first trailer from the upcoming Men, Women & Children.

Directed by Jason Reitman (Up In The Air and Juno), the film is based on a novel by Chad Kultgen and centres on the effect of the internet in modern society. With the trailer featuring no dialogue, instead replacing it with a chilling backing track, adding to the serious tone of the film’s subject matter.

Packing an all-star cast including Ansel Elgort (The Fault In Our Stars and Divergent), Adam Sandler (Blended), Judy Greer (Arrested Development), and Jennifer Garner (Dallas Buyers Club), to name but a few, Men, Women & Children tracks the lives of a group of high school children, their parents and the impact of the internet on their lives.

Tackling many serious issues such as self-image, infidelity, eating disorders, Men, Women & Children promises to be a serious look at modern society, and will illicit some hard acting from known comedy actors, such as Adam Sandler and Judy Greer.

Review: Now You See Me

Some people love high school slasher films, some people like mall cop films. Myself, I like most films, but I have a real soft spot opening up for that favourite genre “magic films”.

As a Cineworld Unlimited customer, I am invited to the preview screenings the chain hold for upcoming films. Mostly, I let these pass me by as I always think I’ll catch the film at a later date anyway, and as screenings are on a Tuesday, I’m never with my cinema-going partner in crime. This screening was too good to pass up – even my parents went, sucked in by the excitement surrounding the event.

This screening was a tip-top secret. Cineworld invited all us Unlimited customers without telling us what the film was, revealing clues along the line. Tension mounted as the cinema workers remained tight lipped whilst being grilled by customers. Fellow guests fidgeted and whispered through the trailers as they tried to guess what was coming next. Suddenly, Jesse Eisenberg’s giant head filled the screen and he and his cast members introduced our next two hours.

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The film focuses around a newly created magical act, The Four Horsemen comprising of Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson and Dave Franco. The Horsemen have been instructed to put on three magical shows across America, whilst dodging the grasp of FBI agent Mark Ruffalo, as their stunts become more daring and less legal.

The group dynamic works well, though at times it feels as if there is not enough focus on the relationships between characters. Certainly, the relationships are alluded to, but it often feels that the story will return and never does. The group has the benefits of each member having specialist skills, and the plot moves along allowing all team members equal screen time, but overall, being overshadowed by Mark Ruffalo who quickly becomes the central character, often stealing the show.

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I thoroughly enjoyed Now You See Me. The film felt fast-paced and the plot moved on with ease. The concept of three magic shows was introduced early on in the film, and this certainly helped with the pacing of the film, as the audience was left waiting to see what the Four Horseman could pull off next. Though some tricks were a little unbelievable, for the most part things were explained as Morgan Freeman’s character sets out to debunk the magic behind the tricks of the most popular magicians.

Now You See Me was a great choice for the secret screening, with the genre and plot of the film adding to the mystery shrouding the whole night. I would recommend the film to anyone looking for an interesting film, with plenty of twists and an exciting new concept.

7.5