The Shawshank Redemption : IMDb bucket list number 1

Simply put one of the greatest films I have ever seen. The Shawshank Redemption is a film adaption of the Steven King novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. It drops the viewer into the harsh reality of the 1940s American prison system with intimidating guards who will beat a man within an inch of his life and inmates who will do the same to those who don’t fit in. It’s not quite as Arkham Asylum, but they do leave a similar shiver down your spine.

Enter Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins). This banker unfortunately finds himself in the Shawshank State Penitentiary for the murder of his wife, which, he actually had no part in. Showing the complete efficiency and accuracy of the 1940s judicial system, this innocent man is condemned for life and is thrown into prison in which there is seemingly no hope for this former banker.

After he experiences months of beatings and worse for being ‘the new kid on the block’ he quickly befriends the prison smuggler, Red (Morgan Freeman). The two create a lasting bond that is at the core of their attempts to make the prison a better place for all.

What really stands out to me about this film is how well it stands the test of time; the scenes are just as shocking and the story ever inspiring. The story broken down is one man’s quest to improve the lives of others and mentally escape the dark and often frightening setting.

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Robbins’ performance as the scheming banker is excellent in that he sustains the character of the clever and cunning Dufresne with a hugely convincing and heartfelt performance. What stands out is Andy’s desire not only to escape but to prove that he is the smartest man and often the most daring in the entire penitentiary.

Equally convincing, Bob Gunton’s interpretation of the callous sly Warden makes viewers want to lash out at the screen as he crushes the hope of all at the prison. But what really makes us angry is his emotionless response to all the bad he does. The heartless bastard.

The movie’s dark themes of violence and suicide are well contrasted with Andy’s knack for keeping going when things somehow manage to get even worse than they were before, which believe me, is very hard.

I am therefore giving this film a 9.0 star rating as it genuinely is one of the best movies of all time and I can definitely see why it is rated so highly on the IMDb top 250.

Costa Vs. Aguero :- Bully Vs. Poacher

After watching Diego Costa pester Gareth McAuley into giving up possession then neatly curling home, I now believe that he has become one of the premier league’s game changing players.

When Chelsea previously won the title with his goals, he was a great finisher and class A aggressor, but now he is carrying Conte’s men to the top of the premiership. This, for me, is the difference between a great player and a world-class player; he is in such good form that he is able to fashion chances for himself without the need of many creative players.

Costa’s main competition resides about three and a half hours up the M40; Sergio Aguero, who I would describe as the premier league’s benchmark for a world class striker. He one of the best natural finishers England has ever seen because his accuracy and consistency is simply outstanding; give him any chance at any angle and 99% of the time he will calmly slot it home.

For me, his key weakness lies in his inability to singlehandedly carry his team by tormenting the defence into submission. But after much thought, I am not sure who I think the better striker is so I am going to compare them head to head to see who is the premier league’s best centre forward.

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If we simply look at goals scored this season then it is clear that Costa is ahead in this respect with 12 goals compared to Aguero’s 10. However, I also like the factor in the number of assists that strikers get because I feel it can reflect extra contribution to the side such as chance creation and levels of pressing. Costa also betters Aguero this season with 5 assists compared to 0 in the premier league.

I believe the number of assists quite important in determining who is the better centre forward because 5 assists suggests that Costa is also adept at bringing his other players into the game whereas the stats suggest Aguero prefers to poach and wait for the chances to come to him.

This for me is the key difference in play style between the two. Aguero is the ultimate poacher and finisher; he always keeps a cool head and will take nearly all chances you give him.

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Costa is the bully who presses the other team into submission and is not only a great finisher but is able to create his own chances as well as bring other players into the game. This is why for me, Costa has got so much better recently; the stats show that he is becoming a world class game changer.

One thing I’d also like to look at is the nasty streak that all the best forwards have, that spark of aggression that can ignite and can even win a game. Suarez, Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic are all players who possess this rare ability.

I’d say that Costa is one of the best if not the master at irritating and being a nuisance for the other side. I think back to Arsenal at Stamford Bridge last season when he managed to get Gabriel Paulista sent off after pushing down Laurent Koscienly and only picking up a booking in the process. As much as people hate him for events like this, for him, it works a treat.

Aguero however has the aggression but doesn’t tend to use it in the right way; trying to kill David Luiz when your team is two goals down and being suspended until the New year is just utter stupidity. When your team needs you to stay fit to make up the gap between the top you don’t let your frustration get the better of you and further let your team slip away from the premier league leaders. In this respect, Costa is without a doubt better.

I think a fair conclusion is that Costa is a much better team player whereas Aguero is a better finisher. For me, Costa offers much more to the team than Aguero does in that he is not only able to finish well but he is able to create his own chances and make chances for others by bullying the defence. I think it is therefore acceptable to say that at the moment, the bully beats the poacher but that could quite easily change as the season rolls on.

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The Crown – First Impressions

Netflix’s brand new exclusive “The Crown” is a dramatization of Peter Morgan’s play, “The Audience”, which essentially follows the top of British royal and political hierarchy during the 1940s.

After studying this particular period for a depressing triple period every Wednesday afternoon I can safely say that I did not take in an awfully large amount, but the little I did learn was rather interesting.

It keeps a particularly close eye on the relationship between Queen Elizabeth II (Claire Foy) and Prince Philip (Matt Smith), which when studying a political history module, was not explored in great depth.

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What also appealed to me was a ‘Hello Magazine’ approach to the relationship between the Royal family and British government as well as the exceedingly open upbringing of Queen Elizabeth II and her family.

It was rather refreshing to see Matt Smith take on something in a completely different capacity to his gallivanting and quite often ridiculous depiction of the 12th Doctor.

In this show, there were no jammy-dodger based explosives, no suspicious time travelling with young Scottish children or even stupidly placed dinosaurs on spaceships. The Crown’s biographical drama already feels very historical and political, so if none of the above appeals to you, I wouldn’t bother watching.

 

Superbad – Film Review

2007’s Superbad is possibly the funniest American teen comedy I’ve ever seen. The ridiculously crude sexual references and cringe-worthy attempts at impressing girls reminds me of my time at school.

Writer’s Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg have nailed the taunts and behaviours of school rejects (like me) to the point where you can remember having the same discussion with your friends and often using the supposedly witty comeback of “…at least you got to suck on your dad’s dick.”

The movie follows near graduates, Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) who are the stereotypical high school social outcasts. Their chances of getting with a girl are very slim considering that Seth is some sort of dick-crazed maniac who draws rather artistic pictures of cocks and that Evan is Seth’s “faggot friend” who pursues Becca (Martha MacIsaac).

The boys think their luck has changed when they are invited to Jules’ (Emma Stone) graduation party and that their quite frankly disturbing friend, Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), has got his hands on an unconvincing and hysterical, Hawaiian driving licence under the alias “McLovin”, no second namesuperbad-di.

On their quest to obtain alcohol and get to the party Fogell finds himself in the midst of a store robbery and ends up basically being abducted by Police officers Slater (Bill Hader) and Michaels (Seth Rogan) who, still living in their adolescent past, want to show him that the can still party with the best of them by drink driving, shooting cars and setting things on fire.

Hill’s performance as Seth is so accurate of the sex-obsessed reject that he will have you in stitches from the very start of the movie. His on-screen chemistry with Cera precisely imitates the ‘losers’ we all know that will do literally anything for sex.

That’s not to say that Rogan and Hader’s performance is worth any less merit. The immature and possibly alcoholic police officers are very convincing as adults who refuse to let their partying past die. Hader’s remarkable impression of Yoda in the movie also earns him extra praise.

By far the funniest character in the film is Mintz-Plasse’s Fogell, who’s exceedingly paedophilic dress sense and feeble physique mimics that weedy friend we all have who thinks they’re much better with women than they really are.

But kids, if you ever want to learn anything from this movie, don’t get a Hawaiian driving licence with a name like an Irish R’n’b singer and with a picture looking like a future paedophile. The likelihood is that you won’t get served.

 

FIFA 17 – Two day Review

I have to say, I was initially sceptical about FIFA 17’s change to a new engine, I enjoyed the game so much last year (apart from the incompetence of every goalkeeper) that I considered whether it was really worth the £50 that Game were charging.

After playing the demo I was won over by the new Frostbite engine purely because it encourages you to play the game like real football. It’s been so irritating past games that it was way too easy to play the ball in behind with fast strikers.

EA has curbed the power of these particular forwards and made strikers that play as a target man and players who play out from the back just as formidable.

In my first game I played as an out of form Chelsea and was battered 3-0 by Arsenal despite hitting the crossbar from three different corners. I then thought I’d choose the impressive French side Nice and rinsed Leicester 4-1 after a Balotelli hat-trick.

I came to the conclusion that playing a back five system was the most effective way of pressing the other team into submission and flooding the midfield area. I was very pleased by how good, accurate passing was rewarded rather than punting it up to Aubameyang for the knock in.

I was also impressed by the new tournament features on Ultimate team and the way they encourage you to try out Europe’s youngest talents in order to discover new players. It’s so frustrating to play Ultimate team because every single game you end up playing pretty much the same team. With new competitions and advice you’re encouraged to make your team much more personal and to develop your own style of play.

Although the real thing I was keen to try out was the new The Journey mode which didn’t disappoint, it has added a brand new dimension to the game in which you develop Alex Hunter into the Premier League’s latest superstar.

The fact you can even mould the player’s personality through conversations and verbally bash people who think you’re never going to make it as a professional is pretty good.

So, after playing the game for a couple of days, I am rather impressed by EA’s latest FIFA game. I would recommend buying this year’s edition but go to your local Tesco and pick it up for £40 like I did rather than spend £50 on it at Game and waste £10.

Humble Beginnings

For my incredibly small and possibly non-existent readership I thought I’d begin by explaining why I bothered starting this blog. For people who want to do any sort of writing or journalism in the future you need to have a portfolio to show off your work and to demonstrate your interests.

I thought this would be a decent enough way to share my thoughts on certain things we do everyday such as watching films, TV and playing video games. In the unlikely event you have particuarly liked anything that you have read, perhaps check out my Instagram account @DebieuxReview where I will eventually post links to other interesting articles.