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January in Review

Happy Friday everyone and also, happy February! This month's review post is coming to you a little late in the month (and the day for that matter) but giiirl I've been super busy with my work life/personal life so I just haven't had a chance to get my head around all of January's happenings until now!

The Personal
So unlike December, January was work work and more work. It was my first month back to my job after a joyous Christmas break but it wasn't all bad. I've successfully ticked off a couple of small accomplishments that I wanted to start working towards on my goals for 2017 list and I'm in high spirits that I'll be able to keep it up. I've been reading a lot more and spending a lot less so win win on two of my goals thus far!

A little like December, January was the month of films for me. When it's cold and drab outside, there's nothing better than curling up with something new and interesting and there's definitely been a huge variety of movies in my life this past month and there's been a great deal of goodies in the mix. First off I obviously need to mention that I went to see Rogue One on New Year's Day (start as good as you mean to go on, ey?). For the first 30 minutes of it I've got to be honest, I wasn't too sure if I liked it or not but by the end of it I had audibly laughed out loud and almost cried a couple of times too. It was a brilliant addition to the Star Wars franchise and if you somehow haven't seen it yet, I would highly recommend it. I still preferred The Force Awakens as I feel I instantly connected with the characters better, but some of the characters from Rogue One - I'm looking at you Chirrut and Baze with ya cute bromance - definitely won my heart and fandom.

Now let's talk about my two faves from this month: Room and Bone Tomahawk. Room is based on the brilliant book by Emma Donoghue which I read last year and fell in love with. I put off watching the movie version for so long because I enjoyed the book so much, it was the first book I was worried wouldn't work as well and translate as well onto the screen. But one gloomy weekend afternoon Matthew & I sat down to watch it and balled our eyes out. The story is basically about a young mother and her five year old son, Jack, who live in Room. Room is a self-contained well, room, and Jack has never seen the outside world. He's only ever existed in room. I won't say anything more in case this story has passed you by and you want to read/watch it but despite some slight differences to the book, I found the film incredibly interesting and gripping to watch and would definitely recommend it. So let's throw in some contrast with Bone Tomahawk. As the name suggests, this is a western-set movie talking all about the stereotypical story of the cowboys vs Indians and as much as I love that stuff, I was just a bit "meh" about it when we put it on but boy oh boy was this a gripping on. The story basically follows a sheriff and a rag-tag group that go searching for the wife of a group member as the Indians have kidnapped her. I didn't think much of it a first but if you're not a fan of gore, this ain't a one for you. This movie gets such a high rating from me and I can genuinely pin it on one particular scene. The Indians are you "stereotypical native American Indians" in this story as they're cannibalistic, almost alien in their practices, people but that's what made the story fascinating. I won't say anything more but if you like a bit of violence in your films - this is for you.

Lastly I've just got to give a quick mention to the most polar-opposite film I watched this month which is Sausage Party. I'll be honest, since I first saw the trailer for this, I thought it looked so ridiculous I needed to watch it. If you haven't seen anything about it, it's basically Seth Rogen letting his weed-blinded mind run riot with immature jokes that border on racist, sexist etc etc etc (you get the jist). The story follows food from a grocery store that think being bought by humans means you're going to a better life - kind of like heaven. Except when they get out there they find out we actually eat food and therefore to fellow food, it looks like we're torturing a bag of crisps when we pull them open and eat their contents. Like I said, this film is typical cheap laughs humour but there was some absolutely hilarious parts in it and was that sort of thing that everyone wants to laugh at now and again but is bound to offend many. If you hate comedians like the likes of Frankie Boyle, you miiight want to skip this one.

There's been some cracking TV watched this past month and my top picks have been animated. First off can we talk about Trollhunters? If you have not watched this yet please stop what you're doing and get on Netflix right this second. This Dreamworks studio production is fan-bloody-tastic and I'm delighted to see that season 2 was announced yesterday. The wonderful director Guillermo del Toro (who created the likes of Pan's Labyrinth and The Book of Life) is responsible for this TV joy so I already fell a little bit in love before I'd even watched it properly. It's a show following a normal high-schooler called Jim who discovers there's a vast secret civilisation of trolls living right underneath his town and he gets heavily involved with them and all the shenanigans you can hazard a guess that will follow. I really enjoyed the first season and laughed so much as the great sly sarcastic humour of some of the characters and also had a wee cry or several at certain points of the show. This is a great one for any age but honestly, check it out now.

Second show I definitely need to mention is one of the latest anime instalments on Netflix, Ajin: Demi-Human. I am a big fan of anime but I tend to like the dark, slightly sinister, slightly gory anime rather than the cutesy annoying stuff (unless we're talking about Shirokuma Café then the sass of the panda slays my entire existence,) so you can imagine what this anime might entail. If you've watched the likes of Tokyo Ghoul and Knights of Sidonia then you are bound to like this one. This story centres around Kei, a high schooler who discovers (there seems to be a trend with my choices for January) who basically finds out he's an Ajin - a human who can't die. Ajins can produce IBM (invisible dark matter) which forms into this super-human, super-powerful "ghost". Now as these very human looking people can't die, you can imagine that the rest of the human race don't treat them too fairly so the story is full of high energy, high drama action and I really enjoyed it. Matt & I blitzed our way through every episode currently on Netflix and I found myself shouting in terror and anger multiple times. It's a good'un.

Music in January was pretty darn good too. I'll try to keep this list a little shorter so this post isn't the length of the Bible, but there's been some gems released in the alst 30 days or so. First off let's talk about the chilled delights of Zooey's latest drop, The Drifters. Zooey are a great bad to listen to when you're getting on with other stuff - cleaning, reading, working - they've got a great chilled vibe and The Drifters is a nice new edition to my chilled out choices. They always remind me a little bit of The Postal Service with a more upbeat sound. If you need something even more chilled out and instrumental but still incredibly electronic, Bonobo's Migration is another fantastic release this past month. Some of the songs have a strangely Final Fantasy feel to me which I'm all thumbs up about, but I'm a Bonobo lover no matter what. The guy can do no wrong.

So one of the most exciting releases in January for me was without a doubt "I See You" by The XX. The last release from these guys was years ago so this has been a highly-anticipated album for me and it lived up to every expectation. It's a great electronic album and I know it's going to be played a hell of a lot throughout the coming months. Another album that I was ecstatic to see released but wasn't expecting was Priests - Nothing Feels Natural. These guys always remind me of the early days of Blondie and remind me a great deal of some of the angsty lady-lead bands I loved as a teen. I think I still prefer their Bodies and Control and Money and Power album, but this new drop is certainly growing on me! If you need a recommendation that's reminiscent of early Bowie and soundtracks to any movies set in the 60s and 70s, then you've got to give Foxygen - Hang a good listen. These guys are new on my radar but I'm really enjoying their vibes that sound like my favourite era.

Now just a quick mention to some of my "heavier" choices. AFI were my jam when I 14 and looked like more of a trash tormentor than a raccoon with the amount of liner I wore, so when I finally remembered they had released a new album, AFI (The Blood Album), I was hyped. It is very very AFI, their sound hasn't changed at all, but I've got to be honest it's just an okay album. It's not bad but it didn't wow me either. Nothing's going to top their old stuff and I guess that's not necessarily a bad thing. Code Orange had a new release this January titled Forever and I've got to be honest, I really kind of like it. I've always had a love hate relationship with this band because the actual melodies and instrumentals of the band are the bees knees but their style of screaming is the kind I hate (the deep throat screaming that kind of sounds like a pig/boar snuffling around) so I never quite know if I like their songs or not. Forever seems to be a winner with me though so maybe I'm coming round to the deep screams of these guys!

Video Games
Surprise surprise, if you're here looking for some wee game reviews again this month, I'm going to have to disappoint you once again. I just haven't had a chance to so much as pick up a mobile app game nevermind an actual console game! However can we please talk about the insane Mass Effect Andromeda trailers that were released in January?! Guys, I am shook. I know I'm a huge Mass Effect super nerd but I honestly think this game looks so amazing a multitude of people are going to love it once it's released. I'm excited for a fresh set of characters (although y'all know Garrus better cameo in this game somewhere otherwise every fan will die a little bit inside) and the gameplay/large free-roam map areas look insane. I love the idea that it's a more customisable game as it's more of a scavenger hunt for your equipment etc. but ugh, it's just going to look gorgeous too. I'll definitely be doing a full blog post review once I get playing in March but for now, watching the trailers will have to do.

Another game that I've been loving watching others play is Resident Evil 7. I haven't played it myself yet because all the reviews and gameplay I've seen proves that the game is actually terrifying and as much as love Resident Evil, I'm also a massive girl pants and you know, Res now looks realistic and is no longer PS1 pixel cubes of gore and horror. Still though, I will build up the courage to play through it eventually but for now I'm just going to admire others managing to pay through it in record timing on the hardest difficulty with only a knife?! (like honestly what. Talent. So much talent).

So that was my January folks! There's been so much going on and changing in February already so I'm already looking forward to writing next month's review post.

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