Tag Archives: entertainment

Five must-see Netflix shows you should watch right now | Feature | Entertainment

NetflixStreaming is now more popular than ever and, regardless of your device, Netflix is the king as far as streaming TV goes. Don’t go thinking we’re on the payroll, no doubt there are better equipped services out there for films in particular (Lovefilm springs to mind), but that aside, with Netflix branching into original content and signing a deal with Marvel and even Dreamworks for brand new content, the future is rosy.

Now then, is a good time to get on the bus, so with that in mind allow us to present five shows you should get under your belt right away:

The Thick of It

The Thick Of ItWith Peter Capaldi about to step into the shoes of the most famous role in television (love it or hate it, you know it is), the time is now to get to know the actor. Capaldi’s turn as spin doctor Malcom Tucker is a masterclass in intimidation.

As British TV shows go, The Thick of It is one you could have missed back in 2005. A political fly-on-the-wall style show along the lines of Yes, Minister but injected with 2000’s satire and plenty of venom.

Simple ideas well-executed are often the best and in this case as the show changes it manages it without losing its flair.  The rest of the cast are good fun, particularly a pre-Mock The Week Chris Addison.

Castle

CastleWe all love Nathan Fillion, or we should, and Richard Castle is a role which he wears like a glove. The detective genre is nothing new, but the way Castle is executed makes it a class above – the humour it particular is perfectly balanced on the chemistry between the two leads.

A compelling mix of action, drama and comedy, Castle follows the escapades of crime writer Richard Castle and Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) as they solve real life crimes together.

The supporting cast are equally well-rounded, and bring life to what might otherwise be a fairly procedural drama. The overall story arc as the series continues ramps up, though unfortunately the best is yet to make its way onto Netflix itself. That said the first two seasons are a very strong start.

House of Cards

House Of CardsLittle more can be said than the excitement expressed in our recent Ten most anticipated titles of 2014, but don’t forget Netflix is the only place you can find the show – unless you pick up the DVD of course.

Just in case you missed it, the short version is that House of Cards is a political drama like no other. Completely unlike The Thick of It in almost every way – apart from quality – the show follows senator Frank Underwood on his rise to power, as he struggles to the top regardless of the consequences or what he has to do to make it.

With the entire series dropping at once on February 14th, you could even squeeze in a re-watch if you’ve already seen it to get you in the mood.

Spooks

SpooksThe coming of Spooks and its studio Kudos marked a landmark in British TV in that it was the first time you know the name of a production company by style and quality alone, and it’s even on the BBC.

Following the goings-on of Military Intelligence 5 (that’d be MI5 then…), Spooks is a high production value show which puts characters at the centre of its stories. It created a name for itself when it killed off one of the regular cast early in the first series – from here it flew in continued to change things up, refusing to let itself go stale over a run that lasts a decade.

In fact, it is one of the most re-assuringly long UK shows in recent years, and acted as a springboard for others such as Life on Mars and Kudos’ own Hustle. Most satisfying of all, watching the show in full is a journey through the technological and cultural changes of a post-9/11 Britain.

Black Books

Black BooksBritish comedy is an institution, and in many ways you either get it or you don’t. There is a wealth of it sitting on 4oD alone, and Black Books is one of the strongest examples of a show which is small, but perfectly formed.

More focused than the madness and reference-filled journey that is Spaced, Black Books is a simple sitcom starring Dylan Moran, Bill Bailey and Tamsin Grieg. The characters gel together well and reflect the personalities of their actors, and at just three seasons the show stays just long enough to avoid overstaying its welcome.

A particular highlight is an episode in which Bernard Black (Moran) and Manny (Bailey) write a children’s story, with typically hilarious results. There’s also plenty of familiar guest stars cropping up now again to boot.

***

Of course there’s more than enough to keep you going from now until the end of time, so what are you waiting for? Head to netflix.com to find out more, at only £5.99 a month it’s one of the best options on the market, but don’t take my word for it – give a free trial a go.

Top shows to add to your watch later list, or to plan in some time to get into, are: Breaking Bad, Firefly, Archer, Hustle and Star Trek: The Next Generation

James Michael Parry

Vans Warped Tour UK 2012 Review | Music | This Is Entertainment

Scream your heart out

The fact that America has the Warped Tour every summer might seem unfair (and it is), but what it does mean that on the odd occasion it does make it to the UK you know you are in for something special.

The 2012 Warped Tour saw a host of bands, and some extreme sports stars, take over the iconic Alexandra Palace in north London – and the building scarcely lived to tell the tale.

For hours before the doors were even opened, a motley crew of punk rockers, metal heads, trendies and outcasts flocked around the venue like strung out rock ‘n’ roll junkies – which obviously NONE were…- waiting for their fix.

After navigating a queue which would put any Apple store to shame, the crowd were greeted by an elaborate entrance hall quite out of tone with the ‘hardcore’ happenings within (and, unfortunately, a bit of a bottle-necked navigation nightmare).

Vans Warped Tour_001

Entering the West Hall is the first moment the event really begins to fit like a glove. A huge vert ramp for skateboarding and BMXing stands proudly next to the bright orange Jagermeister Stage, home to bands who weren’t necessarily smaller names, but took things a little less seriously.

Through the grand doors at the far end is the main hall. Filled with two stages, East and West, joined at the hip like Siamese twins, the set up proved to be a stunningly simple way to pack more music into an already tightly-packed afternoon.

The first band to catch this reviewers attention were It Boys, whose enthusiastic pop/punk stylings included an impromptu rendition of internet sensation Gangnam Style. The spirit of fun continued throughout the day and the likes of Family Force 5, Breathe Carolina and 3OH!3 all successfully getting the crowd into gear. 3OH!3 pushed the envelope the most, showing off the range in their musical repertoire without alienating fans of any one song.

Music policy for the day largely held together, with a few jarring juxtapositions between heavy bands like Architects and pop/punk legends New Found Glory, though this did give time to scope out the hustle and bustle of the merch market.

NFG themselves were well below form. The band tried hard but leading man Jordan seemed strained throughout the set, far from the stellar performances of even just a few years ago.

Thunderous acquiesce

Luckily the rest of the big names were unanimously true to form, with Funeral For a Friend swelling the Jager crowd to almost bone-crushing proportions before making way for the ska punk Warped Tour Veterans from Gainesville, Florida: Less Than Jake.

As the years have passed LTJ have lost none of their fun and enthusiasm, and the crowd were instantly behind them. From there the punk-tastic vibe was carried on by Bowling for Soup who stuck to the formula (some old, some new) but kept the crowd entertained throughout.

On the main stage the scale was a lot more stadium rock than intimate pub gig as Lostprophets kicked off the final act of the night with ‘The New Transmission’. Vocalist Ian Watkins seemed increasingly frustrated with the crowd (perhaps overly familiar with a ‘prophets only crowd after a UK tour?), calling them out to shout, scream and sing louder after almost every song, but still the hits kept coming.

In all this year’s Warped Tour, the first in the UK since 1999, was an undoubted success. A sold out crowd packed into a venue which, while it may not have been the number one choice in practicalities (people traffic at times was unbearable and rooms had to be closed off to avoid over-occupancy), it definitely had character – something which has always been the driving force of the tour itself.

Fingers crossed it will find its way back to Blighty next year.

If you bring a gun, we'll bring an arsenal

View all the best pictures from the show here.

James Michael Parry

Entertainment | Five reasons we love Nathan Fillion | This Is Entertainment

courtesy gdefon.comSome actors stick with you. Whether they start off in bits and pieces before landing a lead role and suddenly have you thinking “Where on EARTH have I seen them before?!”, or they just pop up out of the blue and instantly impress.

Canadian heart-throb Nathan Fillion is such a person. Now a veteran star, Fillion made his first notable (yet fleeting) appearance in Saving Private Ryan – unfortunately he wasn’t the Private Ryan Tom Hanks was looking for.

Fillion has gone from strength to strength ever since, so we decided to celebrate his modest achievements by celebrating the five very best things about him.

  1. He always looks the part

courtesy ecleader.orgMuch credit should go to the costume designers, but there’s no doubt Fillion’s costumes suit him down to the ground. The ruffian Mal Reynolds (Firefly) avoids the obvious Han Solo parrallels not only with Fillion’s well-worn and loose costume, but also the way he carries himself in it – naturally, far from the 70’s swagger of Harrison Ford. Likewise Fillion’s turn as the charismatic writer Richard Castle (Castle) is accompanied by an attire to reflect the character – smart but playful. It’s touches like this which give his performances such effortless-ness.

  1. His voice suits every occasion

courtesy Halo.wikia.comDespite the danger of geographical stereotyping from his upbringing, Fillion’s voice is diverse and effective in all situations. Whether it’s making a emotional stand on Haven in Serenity as it is accompanied by the panicked look of backwater cop Bill Pardy (Slither) as he runs from alien slugs, Fillion commits, and as a bonus he has a particularly good handle on sarcasm. Of particular note is his role as squad leader Buck in Xbox 360 game Halo 3: ODST, which re-united him with some of his fellow cast members from Firefly.

  1. His has a rebellious attitude

courtesy allenpinney.blogspot.comSome could argue it’s Mal rather than Fillion who has the lions share of attitude, but enough can be seen through Fillions repertoire for it to be more than just coincidence. Fillion is a joker and a rebel in real life as much as he is on screen. He once played April fools jokes on his fans through Twitter (@NathanFillion) by saying his cat Spartacus has been killed by coyotes. In one interview Fillion admits to ordering a kit from Amazon to deal with a stray bit of skin on one of the Castle crew’s arm just because he felt like it – talk about devil may care.

  1. He’s always the underdog

courtesy entertainmentmentally.comDespite his obvious talent, Fillion hasn’t had enduring success until he began Castle in 2009 – reaching a landmark fourth series with the mystery-solving writer. Fillion might have had to fight and be patient, but that didn’t stop people noticing him along the way. Firefly was famously cancelled after one season, and it was so popular on DVD that it returned on the big screen in the form of Serenity. Luckily, the whole cast returned, but it’s difficult to imagine the film flying without Fillion in particular. Fillion seems happy enough flying below the radar though, even poking fun at himself by dressing up as Mal for halloween in Castle.

  1. He’s just a genuine, funny guy

courtesy legendsofgotham.blogspot.comAll of which leads us to an inevitable conclusion – Fillion is just as fun and interesting a person as the characters he plays. He manages to make a strong first impression on his first appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel Live (see below), quickly building rapport and coming across honestly, with quips abound. Some of his strongest comedic work is also his latest, since the cheeky personality of Richard Castle, which at times seems little more than a thin veil for his own trickster sensibilities, allows him to have plenty of fun with co-star Stana Katic (Detective Kate Beckett).

For those who haven’t had the fun of watching Fillion on screen, there is plenty to discover, but for the rest of us, we look forward earnestly to his next adventure. Keep up the good work Nathan.

Nathan Fillion on Jimmy Kimmel Live:

Nathan Fillion PSA:


Pictures: locustsandhoney.blogspot.com, halo.wikia.com, allenpinney.blogspot.com, entertainmentmentally.com, legendsofgotham.blogspot.com, gdefon.com,

2010 in review Part 1 – This Is Entertainment

Since we have a shiny new year upon us I thought I’d share some exciting information from WordPress about how my blog has done this year, slightly self-indulgent but interesting. Keep an eye out for some more posts about my top 5 Films, Albums and Xbox 360 games of 2010 in the next few days.

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 9,800 times in 2010. That’s about 24 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 32 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 89 posts. There were 33 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 27mb. That’s about 3 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was July 20th with 3,823 views. The most popular post that day was Film: Review – Inception.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were wordpress.com, facebook.com, healthfitnesstherapy.com, digg.com, and cardonation.sex991.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for mark meer, commander shepard, inception token, reading festival 2010, and inception.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Film: Review – Inception July 2010
132 comments and 57 Likes on WordPress.com

2

Gaming: Exclusive Interview with Mark Meer, Commander Shepard from Mass Effect July 2010
1 comment

3

About May 2010

4

Music: Reading Festival 2010 Review September 2010

5

Exclusive: iPad world premier of spy thriller Nikita September 2010