Top Ten Disney Heroines

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Top Ten Disney Heroines MainI’ve done the heroes and the villains, now it’s time for Disney’s leading ladies to have their chance to shine. The following are, in my opinion, the ten best female Disney characters in terms of personality, spirit, heroism and entertainment value with bonus points if they’re cute. To qualify they must appear in any of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ 52 feature films; no Pixar, Disney Toon Studios or other outsourced animation bodies will be considered. Without further ado, these are the ten women who most typify what great Disney heroines are all about. Continue reading

Book Review – How to Train Your Dragon (Cressida Cowell)

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How to Train Your Dragon CoverI’m getting the feeling that reading books that served as inspiration for animated feature films might become a habit of mine. Just a few weeks ago I reviewed Neil Gaiman’s Coraline which inspired my number one film of all time. Now it’s the turn of How to Train Your Dragon which was adapted by Dreamworks into possibly their best animated feature to date. Cressida Cowell’s original novel, the first in a pretty lengthy series, is only passably similar to the frankly superior movie it spawned. Continue reading

Game Review – Mario Party 9 (Wii)

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Mario Party 9 BoxIf I have a gaming guilty pleasure it’s probably Mario Party. I’ve played most games in the series and even though the series is fifteen years old now I always seem to end up coming back for more. The games present a surprisingly engaging board game scenario with mini-games to break up the strategy. In multiplayer it can be an absolute hoot especially with four players all conspiring to screw each other over. The last few entries have felt a little stale and now after a fairly long hiatus the series returns with big changes to the formula. Continue reading

Film Review – Wreck-It Ralph (PG)

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Wreck-It Ralph PosterMy two favourite things together at last. Continue reading

Film Review – Zero Dark Thirty (15)

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Zero Dark Thirty PosterKathryn Bigelow’s follow-up to the Best Picture Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker began life as a chronicle of the failed hunt for Osama bin Laden. Then the Americans found him necessitating a hasty rewrite. The film has garnered a great deal of attention and hype, not all of it desirable, but it is among a core handful of films sharing most of the big Oscar nominations this awards season. Continue reading

Film Review – Django Unchained (18)

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Django Unchained PosterDr King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), a German bounty hunter frees a black slave named Django (Jamie Foxx) in the hope he can identify three wanted brothers for him. When Schultz learns about Django’s wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) he decides to help his attempt to rescue her from flamboyant plantation hunter Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). Strangely enough it all gets a bit violent. Continue reading

Book Review – The Snow Merchant (Sam Gayton)

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The Snow Merchant CoverLettie Peppercorn is the twelve-year-old landlady of an inn on stilts. A note from her alchemy-practicing mother, who left a decade ago, warns her that if she leaves her home she could die. Confined to the inn with only a pigeon and a pair of demanding and belligerent old crones while the contents of the house slowly disappear to pay for her worthless father’s gambling debts, Lettie faces a pretty miserable existence. Then one day a rude man arrives to sell her something he claims to have invented, something called snow. Continue reading

Top Ten Redwall Characters

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Mossflower Cover ArtIt’s been some time since I finished reading the entire Redwall series but I’m not done with it yet. It’s time to take a look at the best characters in the saga and narrowing down the potentials to just ten was not easy. The classic figures cut include such heroes as Methuselah, Dandin, Sunflash the Mace and Mattimeo, heroines like Constance, Cornflower and Lady Cregga Rose Eyes and the villainous Badrang, Ublaz, Asmodeus and Slagar the Cruel. With characters like those left out you know the top ten will be made up of legends. Continue reading

Book Review – Itch (Simon Mayo)

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Itch CoverOne thing I find reassuring in my effort to become a children’s author is the knowledge that someone else in the family has already managed it. Simon Mayo, the popular radio broadcaster (who presents a weekly film review show with Mark Kermode that I listen to every week), is a distant relative of mine, second or third cousin once removed I think. We’ve never met apart from a brief conversation on Twitter but since his first and, so far, only book falls neatly into the type of storytelling I’ve built my life around, I definitely feel something of a connection with him. Continue reading

Top 100 Animated Films 2013

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Akira Image 1Today we debut a new annual post for this blog. I’ve posted my ever-updating Top 100 Games three years in a row and now its time that list was joined by one celebrating my other favourite thing; feature animation. I like to think I have a pretty broad understanding of the best animated films out there, I’ve seen every film made by Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks and a very wide range of pictures by other studios throughout history but I don’t claim to have seen every film ever made so if there’s a really great movie not on the list it’s possibly one that has never crossed my path. Either way my knowledge of mainstream American animation is pretty good. I’ll keep pursuing the medium’s history but for now these are my hundred favourite animated films. Click a link to read my review. Continue reading

Top 100 Games 2013

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The Legend of Zelda - Majora's Mask Image 2Another year passes and the list is back. I’ve tried to form my scoring system to make it a little harsher this year and I’ve found myself reducing the scores given to new games after reviewing them time and again, something that has become a bad habit. A few games have dropped out of the top 100 since last year as I’ve reconsidered things and only a couple of new ones have made the cut. Remember the list is made up predominantly of Nintendo games and is not meant to be definitive, merely a reflection of my gaming experience. As usual click a link to read my review. Continue reading

2012 Review of the Year

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20122012 will be remembered as a pretty momentous year by many, particularly those living in London. The Olympics came and left a lasting mark on the capital, silencing the doubters with a celebration of sport that provided a huge boost in morale for British people. Plus the world didn’t end which is nice. For me 2012 was a year in which not a whole lot really happened and I didn’t make much progress. I moved house again, this time to Greenwich, easily my favourite home in London to date. But my main reason for living, the pursuit of my writing dream, didn’t really go anywhere this year. That won’t be the case in 2013 however, I’m just starting to make proper progress with Wynks and I’m developing ideas for other books too. By the end of the year I expect to be on my way. Continue reading

Game Review – Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (Wii U)

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Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed BoxHe’s been at it just as long as Mario but Sonic’s history of racing games doesn’t hold the same pedigree, which is odd given that speed is his whole bag. It began on the Game Gear with the Sonic Drift games which pitted the blue blur and pals in karts. They hopped out of the vehicles for Sonic R which stunk up the Saturn and more recently there have been the underachieving multi-format Sonic Riders games and Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing. Can this newest effort, a follow-up to that last, finally hit the spot? Continue reading

Game Review – Fallblox (3DS)

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Fallblox Image 1Pullblox pretty much defined the 3DS eShop. The game’s mixture of cuddly characters and demanding puzzles proved the perfect fit for the download platform. The sequel was inevitable but this is Intelligent Systems we’re talking about, they’re not prone to churning out any old cash-vacuuming rehashes and as you can imagine, Fallblox, known in some territories as Crashmo, doesn’t just give you more of the same. Continue reading

Top Ten Most Anticipated Games of 2013

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PS3For monetary reasons I have been a one-console gamer for many years. Nintendo will always be my favourite but my inability to play certain exclusives on other consoles in the detail I would like has long been a cause for regret. Well hopefully this year that will become a thing of the past and I will finally get round to getting a PS3. With this in mind my Top Ten Most Anticipated Films of 2013 will be taking into account several PS3 titles I find appealing, which is handy because despite the fact the year ahead is critical for Nintendo there aren’t a whole lot of major Wii U or 3DS titles on the horizon. Hopefully E3 will shed light on some big ones but until then these are the ten video games due for a 2013 release that are most on my mind. Continue reading

Top Ten Films of 2012

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Film 2We’re at that time of year again when we look back at the past year and forward to the next. My review of the year, when I will be revealing my game and book of the year is on the way and will be appearing just as soon as I’ve figured out what title will be receiving the former honour (there’s a late pretender in the mix). For now it’s time we counted down the ten best films of the year and there has been no shortage of greats to grace cinemas in the past twelve months. To give you an idea just look at some of the films that didn’t make the list; Frankenweenie, Seven Psychopaths, Argo, Moonrise Kingdom, Marvel Avengers Assemble, The Hunger Games. All great films but by my reckoning, the following were the ten best. Continue reading

Film Review – Life of Pi (PG)

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Life of Pi PosterWhen a book is labelled ‘unfilmable’ you can bet a whole bunch of directors suddenly become interested. It must be a badge of honour among film-makers to have in their filmography a successful picture adapted from such a publication. Now Ang Lee has added his name to that club with this highly anticipated big screen version of Yann Martel’s novel about faith and survival, Life of Pi. Continue reading

Game Review – Nintendo Land (Wii U)

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Nintendo Land BoxWii Sports revolutionised social gaming in 2006 by appealing to the masses with an intuitive new controller and a large amount of the credit for the success of the Wii can be levelled at the decision to bundle it with the console. Now Nintendo are innovating again and are clearly hoping to repeat this success with Nintendo Land, another minigame compilation designed to introduce players to the new-fangled Gamepad, the only difference is that Nintendo Land is a much better game. Continue reading

Top Ten Most Anticipated Films of 2013

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Film 12012 was a particularly fine year for escapist blockbuster cinema and I will be celebrating the best of it soon with my Top Ten Films of 2012 post. But first I’m going to look forward to what the next twelve months have to offer. These are the ten films I’m most looking forward to this year. Continue reading