Tag Archives: 2016

The 12 Best TV Characters Of The Past Year

TV has once again gone all out to entertain us all. This year has shown more great revelations, some gripping edge-of-your-seat moments and the most baffling of all, the renewal of Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. for a fifth season (WHY!!!!!!!!!!!). But, we know that after the writing for the shows, it all comes down to the actors and actresses who bring our favourite characters to life. I am happy to share with you the characters who have stuck out for me in the last year, and who I think make these shows so good!

Jeffrey Dean Morgan – Negan on The Walking Dead

How could I not put this guy on the list? Jeffrey Dean Morgan managed to not only become a fan favourite within minutes, he took out two full time characters with thanks to Lucille in his first full episode. Negan has spent most of season seven being the one man you don’t f**k with. Morgan showcases a new kind of charisma and installs a fear which hasn’t been seen on the show previously. With season eight promising to be one very tense showdown, look forward to seeing Negan front and centre of this list next year!

Pearl Mackie – Bill on Doctor Who

It was going to be tough to get someone who could fit into the shoes of Jenna Coleman’s Clara, but then we didn’t know what Pearl Mackie was going to bring. With Bill, we got a great new companion who is clued up and ready to challenge everything. There was a lot of focus on Bill being a lesbian, but this is hardly scratching the surface. Even though the series hasn’t finished yet, Bill looks to be one of the best new companions of all time!

Tom Hardy – James Keziah Delaney on Taboo

Tom Hardy is indeed able to make almost any character he plays a fantastic one to watch, and James Delaney is no exception. Given Hardy co-created the show, he manages to make Delaney a great person that you would be happy to have on your side, and will never be able to turn your back if you ever cross him. He has survived years in a wild land, being shot and…long enough to make it to season two! I…CAN’T…WAIT!

Ian McShane – Mr Wednesday on American Gods

American Gods was a show I waited to see for years. Based on my favourite ever novel, the series focuses on an ex-convict Shadow who is caught up in a battle between the old gods and the new. While Ricky Whittle plays Shadow well, it’s Ian McShane who steals the show as the man who can out-con even the most experienced scam artist. Mr. Wednesday is one of the most unique characters in the show, he manages to shine in every scene and provides plenty of laughs amongst the gritty and bloody moments of this awesome show!

Bryce Dallas Howard – Lacie Pound on Black Mirror ‘Nosedive’

There are a lot of great characters in Season 3 of Black Mirror, it was hard to narrow it down to one. Where I really enjoyed Jerome Flynn and Alex Lawther in ‘Shut Up and Dance’ and Gugu Mbatha-Raw in ‘San Junipero’, it was Bryce who really got under my skin and won me over. She is hungry for attention and the Instagram-like app that takes over the lives of so many in this episode is one that many can relate to. To see her flying so high to suddenly crashing into obscurity was a sight to behold. ‘Nosedive’ may not be the best episode, but it had the best character.

Grant Gustin – Barry Allen/The Flash on The Flash

OK, I am sure I have placed Grant Gustin on a list previously, but he does deserve a lot of recognition this year. Season Three may not have been an overall strong series, but there was plenty to applaud from Barry Allen. In this series, he had to fight the “god” Savitar, find a way to stop his fiancée Iris from being killed and then face off with himself in the future and in the present. We see someone who lives with the pain of creating Flashpoint and basically changing the Arrowverse forever in a way where it will never be the same again. Also, we need that cliffhanger solved!

Jessica Henwick – Colleen Wing on Iron Fist

Before anyone says anything, I do really like Iron Fist. It doesn’t compare to Daredevil or Jessica Jones, but it is enjoyable and a worthy addition to the line-up. While I am sure Finn Jones will shine more in The Defenders, it is Jessica Henwick who really stands out in this series. This girl can handle her own in a fight and shows she isn’t a damsel in distress. Also, we know her fight scenes in that cage were some of the best the show offered! Please keep Colleen in this universe!

Grace Gummer – Dominique DiPierro on Mr. Robot

Mr. Robot is one of them shows that I got hooked on, I remember binge-watching the show during the summer and I couldn’t get enough of it. While the first season got us to learn about Elliot, Darlene, Angela and Mr. Robot, the second season gave us someone who wants to take them down! Grace Gummer is an actress I have never really seen before, but she made Dominique DiPierro one of the most engaging characters the show has had so far. She is shown at her most vulnerable and we become so familiar with her that we hope she will succeed at the end of the day!

Justin Roiland – Rick Sanchez on Rick and Morty

Ok, only one episode has been shown of Season Three, but how bloody good was it? To see Rick and Morty back was a great delight and Justin Roiland has been missed very much. While Morty and Summer both do really well, it is Rick who gets the nod as we are believed to be seeing his life before he became the twisted genius that we now know. ‘The Rickshank Rickdemption’ has us laughing, gasping and lapping up every moment. It’s not everyday you can outshine Nathan Fillion, but you did it!

Dan Mintz – Tina Belcher on Bob’s Burgers

I love Bob’s Burgers. It is easily the best animated show from Fox at the moment (The Simpsons and Family Guy really need to pick their game up!). All the characters are so fun and give a lot to us in each episode, but my choice is Tina for one reason, you can’t help but love her. She lives like any teenager, but maybe is a bit more odd than what you may have been like. She’s eaten cat food (watch and you will understand), worked to get her own phone and even made some rather humorous fan-fiction. However you see her, Tina is truly the heart of the show and it would not be the same without her!

Sian Gibson – Kayleigh on Peter Kay’s Car Share

I have said before how much I love this show and I would say Kayleigh is probably the main reason. She is adorable, naïve, silly and fun. You fall in love with her just seeing her interactions in that car with her buddy John. In series two, we get to see the duo reunite and their “friendship” is getting a lot of people talking, you really want them to come closer. Then you have that last scene of the series, where you think John has finally sweeped Kayleigh off her feet and admitted his feelings…then it turns out to be a dream! PLEASE PLEASE PETER KAY, DON’T LET IT END THIS WAY!

Bob Odenkirk – Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman on Better Call Saul

When it first began, I honestly thought Better Call Saul was going to suffer as a show. Following Breaking Bad was never going to be easy, but luckily enough, the writing and the character portrayals have managed to almost make this its own entity even though you know how it must all end. While there are so many to choose from, the lead is definitely the strongest this time. He has done all he can to keep out of jail, prove his Brother is a deceptive scumbag and he continues his journey to becoming the criminal lawyer we know and somehow like to see!

OK, I said 12, but there is one more I want to mention!

Alanna Masterson – Tara Chambler on The Walking Dead

I find it sad that many wanted to bully or moan at this actress. Alanna is a lovely human being who truly shows her worth in this show! Tara begins this season away from the group with Heath on a supply run when Negan deals with the rest of the gang. During this time, we see Tara go on her own adventure when she ends up at Oceanside, a community that has only women after all their men were killed by the saviors. Tara not only has to deal with the group (who nearly kills her too) but she also becomes key to helping Alexandria prepare for a war with Negan. Also, she is a little bit of light in a show where many characters have shown or now live in their dark side. I don’t care what anyone says, Tara is a superb character and deserves more recognition and for those who bully Alanna online either for her portrayal or physical look (she looks fine, she just had a baby and that does not affect her acting, trolls need to get a life and f**k off!) you need to grow up! I look forward to see what Alanna does next on the show!

What do you think of this list? Is there anyone who you would put on here? Let me know!

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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Why We Shall Never Forget Carrie Fisher

The news was indeed hard for any Star Wars fan to believe today, Carrie Fisher sadly passed away following the heart attack she had suffered just a few days ago. As well as the iconic role of Princess Leia, Carrie was indeed a very popular actress who could do comedy and drama well. It wasn’t just the acting which kept Carrie in the spotlight, just watching some of her interviews was enough to brighten your day. Carrie will be kept alive thanks to her unmistakable performances, her family (daughter Billie and pet Gary for example) and the memories that millions of fans will hold for her. Here are some of the big reasons we will miss our Princess!

Carrie Fisher Believed In Star Wars Before Anyone Else

When the film was first in production, a lot of people doubted it would become a success. It did at one point become the highest-earning film of all time. Carrie though was a firm believer that Star Wars will become a success. She honestly thought a lot of people would disagree with her, but aren’t we glad that we did? It shows that she gave the part her all as she wanted it to succeed, meaning that we love this princess because she wanted you to love her and this world which came to us nearly 40 years ago. George Lucas really did well with this piece of casting, and the rest is now movie history at its greatest.

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She Starred In Two Of The Best Films Of 1980

In 1980, The Empire Strikes Back took us back to the galaxy far, far away for possibly the greatest film sequel of all time. But, this wasn’t the only superb movie to star Carrie Fisher. She was also seen in the comedy classic The Blues Brothers, Carrie plays the wife-to-be of John Belushi’s Jake Blues. In the film, her character tries to kill Jake throughout the film to get revenge for leaving her at the altar. It does provide some very comical moments in the film and gives Carrie another very memorable role.

Meryl Streep “Technically” Played Carrie In A Film

A number of years after the original trilogy had left the cinemas, Carrie started writing. Her first novel was a semi-autographical story called ‘Postcards From The Edge’. A few years later when it was adapted into a movie, Carrie Fisher was able to create the screenplay for her own story for the big screen and Meryl Streep was cast as Carrie Fisher Suzanne Vale. When asked why she didn’t take the role herself, Carrie just said she had done it already. But following the sad news, who could possibly play Carrie Fisher in a bio pic for real?

Carrie Was Not Afraid To Take The Mick Out Of Herself

We know that Carrie probably had a lot to deal with after her initial time in the sci-fi franchise, but it would never keep her down. She had well noted incidents such as problems with drugs and also her relationships with Bryan Lourd and Paul Simon. She does take a lot of comments about her in good humour and was not afraid to take the piss out of herself. Check out some of the videos below.

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Gary Fisher

In the last few years, Carrie would always have her faithful companion by her side. Gary Fisher gained his own following with fans and many would love to see him as much as Carrie. The canine companion of Carrie Fisher even has his own twitter, but in the last few hours there has been some very heartbreaking posts. The big question will be, who will now look after Gary? Nobody will be able to replace his Mum, but we will always have them great moments of the two.

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Family Guy And Other Shows

One thing Carrie Fisher did do well was that she could make an impressive mark on the small screen as much as she did on the big screen. Starring as herself in Sex And The City, Ellen and The Big Bang Theory did provide some laughs and her voiceover work on Family Guy as Peter’s boss Angela was indeed favoured by many. Most recently, Carrie had been reprising her role as Mia in the Channel 4 comedy Catastrophe! Her star shined bright not just on big and small screen, but on both sides of the Atlantic.

Legacy As Leia

Whichever way you look at it, Carrie Fisher will forever be known as our Princess from Alderaan. She took the part and made it her own. Everyone remembers her hairstyles, that bikini from Return Of The Jedi and just how much of a badass she is. Carrie also proved with Leia that this was a character who would be seen as a strong role model for young women. You can’t help but think of Leia when the conversation of Star Wars comes up. Let’s be honest, how happy was you when she turned up in The Force Awakens? It made me smile! I know that when Carrie appears in Episode VIII, it will be with a sense of joy but also with a great burdening sadness as this shall be our last outing with our Princess.

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What fond memories do you hold for Carrie Fisher? Will you miss her portrayal of Princess Leia? R.I.P. Carrie and may the force be with you!

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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Moana Review: An Inspiration From The Sea (SPOILER FREE)

By Joanna Cosgrove

Personally, I had been waiting a long time – a long long time – to see Moana since I first heard of it being announced. It just felt like it was going to be an adventure differing from previous ones we had seen from Disney and its vast collection of heroines. It was different. A good different. An exciting different.

There is so much to try and condense down into a review, but it all needs covering. First of all: “I’m not a princess!”
Moana is a large, strong leap from the Disney princesses of the 1950s, who were created to fulfil the “damsel in distress” stereotype that sadly, many grew up with. With Moana’s constant correction to Maui, who calls her a princess repeatedly as an undermine of her abilities, by stating “I’m not a princess, I’m the chief’s daughter”, it brings a new sense of character to the leading female. She isn’t rich, she isn’t entitled, she doesn’t have it all handed to her; she refuses to have her work done for her and her dreams crushed for what’s expected of her. I personally felt deeply inspired by Moana’s character – imagine what many other young girls must feel after seeing what is possibly the best animated example for them on the big screen.

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Let’s continue with the cultural background of the story, because this is where we all must feel our proudest.
As we all are too aware of, Hollywood has a thing about celebrating minority cultures. They don’t do it – and if they do, it involves white people who are lying right to our faces about it. Moana, however, does it all right. Most importantly, the voice behind the lead character is Auli’i Cravalho. She is a young, Hawaiian-born actress who auditioned for the role despite feeling like she would never be chosen – and look what happened!
Cravalho has a rich ancestry, being of Chinese, Puerto Rican and Portuguese descent, to list a few. Having an individual like her, who portrays the character more closely than possibly any other girl who auditioned, is going to make girls and women of colour grow up with hope and confidence in their talents and skills. “Representation matters”, as they say, and I believe it.
But Cravalho and the cast aside, the story of Moana of Motunui is one which believe me, many would not have expected to be told in a film. To my knowledge, I had never known a film with such a high backing as Moana had from Disney that was telling a story based on Polynesian mythology. It proves that every corner of the globe has a culture with stories that are worth sharing. It could inspire young movie-goers to seek out and learn more about the mythological figures of various cultures. I know I’m very intrigued to learn more. Best yet, you can tell the culture was greatly researched beforehand; those working on the movie took research trips to islands such as Fiji and Tahiti, and conversed with those who were native to the South Pacific about their culture; they didn’t want to get a single detail out of place, which makes me very proud. They were careful of their content, and wanted to honour the culture wholeheartedly. This is what all movies should aim for: do your research!

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Let’s move to the music, because we all know Disney loves their tunes in their movies. Moana, of course, was no exception.
We have all sort of grown bored of the cheesy, overplayed songs of Disney hits (Let It Go, anyone?), but I felt differently about the ones in this movie. Every song was heartfelt, and used elements of music styles you would find from musicians of that culture.
Special thank you to music genius Lin-Manuel Miranda for his major involvement in this movie’s score. As a great music (and Hamilton) enthusiast, I was ecstatic when I learnt that Miranda was lending his skills and his vocals to these songs – it just made me more impatient to see it – and let me say, I was not at all disappointed. The songs were well-placed, served their emotional or humorous purposes (thanks for the laughs, Dwayne Johnson), and just well done, Disney. These are songs I would love to hear over and over again.

Finally, and I wouldn’t always comment on the animation and the look of the film, but I had to. The rich use of colours, and every fine detail took my breath away.
The movie focuses on nature and preserving what the Earth has given us, and never trying to tamper with it, no matter the intentions you had behind it. The stunning aesthetics on the big screen were blinding, but in a beautiful artistic way. I had never seen clearer how gorgeous nature truly is away from real life, but Disney did it in Moana. It drives home to themes of nature, spirituality, and in general, living life how you wish.

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I really recommend seeing this movie, if you hadn’t already. Well, if you have already too. I know I wanna see it again!
Well done, Disney. Keep doing us and our little girls proud.

Rating: 10/10

TOP SONGS OF 2016 (5-1)

Well, this is the finale! After the last few days of seeing what got us to this point, I can finally reveal my five favourite songs of the year. We have a group of singers who do rock covers in a lounge style and the big finale from an icon! Read on now for my top 5 of 2016!

  1. We Signal Fire – When The World Starts To Break

During my radio days and even now, I enjoy listening to new and upcoming artists. Manilla PR have definitely been superb in providing top quality acts to my ears. We Signal Fire really impressed me with this track. It is 6 minutes of great rock from a superb Manc band! They may list The Foos, Incubus and Deftones as influences, but they definitely make themselves sound very unique and will surely have many hits to come in the next few years.

  1. Biffy Clyro – Re-arrange

Biffy Clyro are undoubtedly one of the greatest bands in the world. With the previous two albums being filled with many hits, ELLIPSIS had a lot to prove. Luckily, the album was a Number One hit and the tracks are all great. ‘Re-Arrange’ is possibly the best song on the album because it just reinvents the band but retains their signature sound which has charmed and entertained fans for years. The new album proves Biffy have got a lot more to come.

  1. The Lounge Kittens – Africa

This fantastic trio of female vocalists blew me away earlier this year. When I heard their cover of ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’, I knew this was going to be a great band to enjoy. Following them on YouTube, they released a video for a cover of the Toto hit ‘Africa’ and my jaw hit the ground. This song was indeed fantastic, it paid homage to the original so well and just sends a shiver down your spine throughout. Also, the album SEQUINS AND C-BOMBS is fantastic, make sure you listen to it!

  1. Coldplay – Hymn For The Weekend

Arguably one of the biggest bands in the world, they can still impress today even on their seventh album! A HEAD FULL OF DREAMS is crammed with big tunes and so many do hit the mark. This track, a partial collaboration with Beyoncé, was so catchy and would even get the most stubborn person up and dancing. The track itself is very uplifting and is guaranteed to put a smile upon your face (kinda quoting an old song there, did you catch that one?).

  1. David Bowie – Lazarus

So, we have reached my number one song of the year. The question is, why is this the best of the year? We can bring this back to just days before his untimely death. The song features an opening line that says “Look up here, I’m in heaven”. Just a few days later, this song then made a lot of sense to a lot of people. This was his goodbye to the world, he wasn’t necessarily hiding it, but nobody actually knew this until he died. The feeling of the song is a hard hit to the chest; you do feel emotion on some level from this track. The song was emotional enough, just that music video just a few days before he died (the video debuted on his 69th birthday) really pushed people to tears and this is a track that fans will mourn David Bowie with. But it shouldn’t be to mourn, this beautiful and gripping track will always be his goodbye message to his fans and it will standout as one of the greatest songs he ever released. R.I.P. David Bowie.

What did you think, would you have put Bowie at Number 1? Who else should have been in the list? Comment below and let me know!

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

Concert Review: Panic! At The Disco – Alexandra Palace, London, 19.11.16

By Joanna Cosgrove

This year has been one of the greatest for the pop-punk band (technically a one-man-band at this point), and as it began with some great UK shows by Mr. Brendon Urie and his tour band, it’s only right to end the year with some too.

At London’s own Alexandra Palace, Urie made his debut at the beautiful venue that Saturday night, and brought every last bit of that charismatic and sparkling personality we all know and we all sure as hell love.
With his tour band, consisting of guitarist Kenneth Harris, bassist Dallon Weekes and drummer Dan Pawlovich, Urie rocked the place all night long, never missing a beat or skipping a note (but in fact added some extra high notes, as he does them oh so well). With a nostalgic throwback to the 2000s era of the band, mixing in a fair share of the newer tracks in the band’s repertoire, the night was a sure success among all fans in attendance, young and old.

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The show began with an opener of the Black Eyed Peas’ hit “Pump It”, but that wasn’t a long-laster. It was just a short warm-up, getting everyone pumped for the experience that was about to begin. It worked! Because as soon as that music faded and the beginning notes of Death of a Bachelor hit “Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time” echoed, everyone was dancing and screaming and singing and – if they were like me – were jumping in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the man behind the voice.
Nothing sparks a fire in the crowd more than the LA devotee himself screaming his welcomes at his “motherf*ckers” in the audience of over 100,000 before him. There was not one moment on stage where Urie stopped and breathed – he kept going, kept his feet moving and hit every note he needed to.

I would personally say one of the surprise hits on the setlist was the Fever track “Time To Dance”, because of that fact itself: it’s a track from the band’s debut album A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, which was released over 11 years ago. And yet, Urie added this non-single track because obviously, he knows what his audience loves to hear. Everyone in the place was singing along, dedicated to every word of that track, singing their lungs out for the love of their emo idol on that stage.
Another stunner that night was the performance of newer track “Crazy=Genius” from Death of a Bachelor. The energy was electric, and the roaring 20s feel shook through everyone on the floor, but how could you make that effect even greater? Two words: drum off! That’s right, some stage-hands brought on a second drum kit so Urie himself could play alongside/battle against Pawlovich in a once-in-a-lifetime breakdown in the middle of the track. If crazy equals genius, then Urie sure is a rocket scientist! We know of his musical talents, among multiple instruments (as demonstrated on his 2016 release), but to see it with your own eyes just makes the fact so much clearer. It was time to pinch; this was NO dream!
And what’s a Panic! concert without that one song? That ONE single? You hear the beginning notes, you freak out because of course “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” was going to be played. One does not simply go to a Panic! concert without expecting that song. Introduced as “one of our newer songs, so don’t worry if you don’t know the words”, met with an obvious giggle from the crowd, every single fan had that bond for a few short minutes because no matter if you’re an old fan, or newly getting into the band, you know this song. This was the song.

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And I can’t finish this without a mention of a regular now in Panic! concerts, which everyone expected as soon as they saw Urie make that stroll up to the grand piano on the highest platform of the stage. “This isn’t a Panic! song, but I wish it was”, said Urie as he prepared. This was time for “Bohemian Rhapsody”.
As I began with, 2016 has been a massive year for Panic! At The Disco, and this song was one of the reasons. As well as being released as a studio recording as part of the soundtrack for the DC movie Suicide Squad, Panic! has made this classic rock hit a regular in their concerts and every fan gets excited about this as much as they do about the original Panic! hits. It’s that song that brought us all together, swaying, singing, some were crying. It shows that the whole room, they are a family; every one of us are one large family. That is what a fandom should be. What we felt in that moment. One family.

Overall, with the performances and the interactions with the crowd (Urie spreading his love among the thousands in front of him), there was never a dull moment that night.

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This was Panic! At The Disco’s first performance ever at the Alexandra Palace. Thank god we made it a memorable one!

Rating: 5/5

Bowling For Soup – Hey Diane. REVIEW

This band was one of those that I loved to hear from the very first song. With a great hard-rock vibe mixed with some well-seeded humour. Bowling For Soup have always been a must-have addition to my music collection. The latest song, ‘Hey Diane’, is no exception. They can tell some brilliant stories within their lyrics, and Diane looks like another great character for them to mine.

The lyrics state about how much Diane means to them, Jaret even mentioning how she fixed his hoodie (Frank Turner hoodie, wish I had one of those!). The band always seem to have this energy that I can’t see matched by any other band. The band released their first album in 1994, and their style has remained consistent and addictive throughout their career.

‘Hey Diane’, from the latest album Drunk Dynasty is definitely a hit. Using Pledgemusic again, the band have struck gold by creating another incredible piece of music. I will be listening to the album very soon (I can almost hear the fans shouting at me as I haven’t listened to it yet! I am sorry!). But if this first song is anything to go by, I can imagine the rest of the album will sound bloody awesome!

Final rating: 9/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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Hot Sauce Pony – Fenced In. REVIEW

Punk is possibly one of the greatest revolutions in music history, and today it still exists and remains ever so popular. Hot Sauce Pony give us 2 minutes of that punk rock which many people grew up listening to. It gets you straight from the first second, it gets you moving and you are shocked at how quick it is over.

Though a relatively new band, Brixton Hillbilly Record Club showcase them and I know they have made a great decision. At such a short length, you won’t get bored listening to this stunner of a track and the replay value is there.

If the chance comes, I would happily hear more from this South London band. There is an energy that buzzes from them and a fire which is aching to be set free.

P.S. its available now with Gaygirl – Dance To Death through the following link: https://www.rdjrecordings.com/Shop/DownloadDetails?rid=RDJ_RE_14

Final rating: 8/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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We Signal Fire – When The World Starts To Break. REVIEW

A Manchester band who don’t follow the Britpop standards of their elders (I love Britpop, in case that was in question), this alt-rock four piece entertain fully with some deep and gritty chords mixed with the voices of Chloe and Pete. The band stands out well, reminding me of acts such as Unleash The Archers (a bit heavier, but worth a listen). Not to take anything away from We Signal Fire, as this song is captivating and punchy.

There aren’t many songs I hear where you get a whole band who has a chance to shine on a track. Chloe’s powerful voice is the charm to this rocking tune, and every instrument is given its chance to be heard and shine! The song begins with a great riff; how often can you hear a line which opens and sounds original? Within seconds, you are pulled into this musical delight. If Amy Lee thought nobody could dethrone her, someone better tell her about this charming lady whose voice stands up there with the best of them.

As I mentioned, ‘When The World Starts To Break’ is something that just sounds fresh and exhilarating. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for these guys and girl, and I will definitely be giving that E.P. a listen very soon!

Final rating: 9/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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A Street Cat Named Bob. Review

It’s not very often that when I am out with someone that we pick the film at the last minute, and I will admit that I do really enjoy my blockbusters in the cinema. But, that is exactly what happened when we came to watch A Street Cat Named Bob. The story of a former drug-addict whose life gets entwined with a ginger cat he finds in his home may not sound like a hit, but it works very well.

The film starts with James Bowen (played superbly and brutally by Luke Treadaway) as he is living rough on the streets. After being written off by so many people, James is finally a chance when his support worker Val helps get him a home and helps to ensure he goes through the recovery program for his addiction. James is a musician; he spends his time busking to make a small bit of money to feed himself. One day, he finds a cat in his home, who he is instantly fascinated by. Belle, one of his neighbours, says the cat wants to be called Bob and that he chose to be with James. Bob starts following James around, even coming with him to Covent Garden when busking.

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Suddenly, James sees a change in fortune. While out with Bob, he attracts a lot more attention. Bob loves to sit on James’s shoulders or on his guitar as he performs to the crowd. The bond between James and Bob grows exponentially throughout the movie. James finds a new purpose in life as he looks after his new friend and does all he can for him. Whether it is using his last few pence to buy cat food instead of a meal for himself, or gaining the courage to go see his estranged father.

I recommend this film to all. There are a few scenes that will be a bit tough to watch, especially when James goes cold turkey from the methadone and you see him in agony as he tries to get it out of his system. But, even with the more upsetting scenes, ultimately this film succeeds as being heart-warming and quite life-affirming too. Ok, how many times have we seen these stories based on real life events given the big screen treatment? Probably too many times. But this story does just feel special and uplifting. Also, finding out that Charlie Fink (lead singer for Noah and the Whale) wrote the songs for the movie was definitely a big positive for me. Also, would you believe the director (Roger Spottiswoode) also made Tomorrow Never Dies and Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot? Me neither! Also, Bob the cat in the film is mostly played by the real Bob. This does work on a lot of levels, and he seems to take to Luke Treadaway superbly. Also, I have to highlight the fantastic acting from Anthony Head as James’s dad and Ruta Gedmintas as his neighbour/love interest (actually his real-life girlfriend. May explain the strength in their chemistry).

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A splendid British Film which will leave you feeling better about yourself. Also, chances are you know this story from reading the book by James Bowen…but I can’t recommend the film more. Also, Oscar nomination for Bob the cat?

Final rating: 9/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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Ten Best Character Portrayals On The Walking Dead

If like me, you are a huge fan of The Walking Dead, then you have been really itching for Season Seven to come back. Robert Kirkman’s comic had a massive following, and a TV show was very much inevitable. Since 2010, The Walking Dead has been one of the most watched TV shows around the world. With six seasons passed, we have had many portrayals which have stood out amongst some of the greatest acting in the 21st century. Though we may have had some characters not given the life we would have liked (I know a lot of people didn’t like Laurie Holden’s Andrea, but I did…and Laurie is a lovely lady too), many characters have also just had such a great run and surpassed their comic book original. Also I will just say that these are my own picks and opinions, and I would like to know who you really liked to see. I know the title states ten, and I was so close to adding Abraham and Hershel to this list, but there had to be an honourable mention for someone who will most likely rise up this list soon!

  1. Negan – Jeffrey Dean Morgan

Can I really get away with this one? Despite only being on screen for around 10 minutes so far, Jeffrey Dean Morgan made an immediate impact as the leader of The Saviors. Though maybe not as strict to his look as in the comic, to see that leather jacket and the “Lucille” baseball bat was indeed chilling. His delivery to the survivors stands as one of the best moments in the show…and then there is THAT death scene!

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10. The Governor – David Morrissey

Starting off as a fairly understanding man looking after the town of Woodbury, we soon learn about the dark side to this character. He is willing to kill anyone who is a threat to him, he hides his own daughter who is a zombie and is able to get two separate armies against the gang in the prison. The Governor was then shown just as a force for vengeance and wanted to destroy Rick and the gang at all costs, which resulted in him finally being killed by one of his own.

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9. Andrea – Laurie Holden

When the character was first introduced in the show, it was evident that Laurie Holden would be playing a more mature version of the character. Andrea say her fair share of conflict and always tried to be the peacekeeper. Initially she is suicidal after the death of her sister Amy, but does become a strong character and a bridge between Rick’s prison and Woodbury. Her relationship with Shane was always to end badly, then her time with The Governor just spelt the end for the former attorney.

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8. Morgan Jones – Lennie James

Morgan appeared in the first episode and is still in the show. The character begins as the link for Rick to learn about what the world has become and to make his first true friend in the zombie apocalypse. After making small appearances in Season Three and Five, we finally get Morgan back full time in season six and we see how much his journey has changed him. Initially surviving with his son Duane, he ends up alone and has experiences which alter him to a more peaceful person who believes all life is sacred, so only kills the walkers…and we know Negan hasn’t killed him!

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7. Shane Walsh – Jon Bernthal

Shane was indeed a bad guy. He wanted to kill his best friend, he wanted his best friend’s wife and could have caused the downfall to the survivors. In the beginning, Rick and Shane are the best of friends. Shane does all he can to save Rick after the apocalypse begins and doesn’t purposely fall for Lori, but we all know how it went. Shane survived longer in the show than he did in the comics, and also gave us the moment we all needed to see: Everyone is infected with the zombie virus, whether or not you are bitten!

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6. Maggie Greene – Lauren Cohan

A character who surely has become a heart of the show. Maggie and Glenn surely have become one of the most popular couples in TV history. They help each other a lot and are not in your face about their relationship at all. Maggie begins her journey at her home farm when the Atlanta survivors first come to there. She has since fought for her friend’s numerous times and becomes a powerful figure in Alexandria. Maggie also helps in the fight against the Saviors and is also shown to be stronger than Carol at this time.

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5. Glenn Rhee – Steven Yeun

Where would the show be without Glenn? First, he helps to rescue Rick Grimes when he is stuck in a tank. Second, he is the best person to obtain supplies for the group as he is quick and resourceful. Since that BIG moment in issue 100 of the comics, the fate of Glenn has been a big question leading up to this moment. Not that we know if he is to be pulverised or not, but he would certainly be missed. He became one half of a very popular couple and is the most human character in the show.

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4. Carol Peletier – Melissa McBride

Given how the character was in the first two seasons, you could forgive Carol for her whiny faced outlook of life before she became the badass we now know her to be. Carol was always in the shadows, seemingly weak and timid. Then, she took matters into her own hands by trying to stop the flu-like bug in the prison, surviving the shoot-out with Negan’s men and who can forget single-handedly freeing the survivors from the cannibals Rambo style! Carol is probably your best bet at surviving the apocalypse, even if she does have a few morality shocks now and again.

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3. Rick Grimes – Andrew Lincoln

A leader has to be someone who isn’t afraid to do the unspeakable. Rick Grimes is that man. In the first few minutes, we see just how willing he is to keep himself and his friends alive. He has also survived the hordes of walkers, the betrayal of his best friend Shane, the sinister Governor and even the attack on Alexandria. But, can Rick survive Negan? And will he keep his hand (my comic book friends will know what I mean!)? Above all, he does everything he can to save his children. He won’t flinch when he puts a gun to a man’s head and pulls the trigger, especially if he thinks it is for the right reasons.

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2. Michonne – Darai Gurira

Where do we start with Michonne? Her first appearance is very much ripped straight from the pages of the comics. She has two walker “protectors” with their jaws sliced off, she dispatches of zombies with ease and she wields a flipping Kitana! Instantly a strong character, she makes herself a very vital part of the survivors, including being very close to both Rick (yep, we know!) and Carl. She starts very cold in season three, but has become more relaxed as the show has gone on and is definitely not to be messed with. Michonne embodies strength and coolness at the same time.

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1. Daryl Dixon – Norman Reedus

Was there anyone else? The only character on this list who was not in the comics, Daryl ended up being one of the most popular characters on TV today. Introduced originally as the brother to the terrifying and short-tempered Merle, Daryl eventually established himself as a true ally to the survivors and becomes Rick’s second-in-command as they fought for the prison and then for Alexandria. Daryl may still enjoy his own time, but that doesn’t mean he has no friends. He develops a bond with Carol when he gives all his effort to find her daughter Sophia and you could see there was real love there when he carried the lifeless body of Beth Greene out of that hospital. He is ace on his motorbike, wields a mean crossbow and is there any better way to say how f***ing awesome he looked with that rocket launcher?!?! Truly an iconic character and someone we really hope will be in the show till the very end!

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What did you think? Do you agree with the list? Who would you have put in the top 10? Let me know and maybe contribute your own favourite or top 10! Thanks for reading, watch out for my review of Season Seven Episode One this Monday!

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove