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The ‘Ed Sheeran’ Singles Chart

Nine weeks ago Ed Sheeran got the number 1 spot on the UK Singles Chart with “Shape of You” and that is where he has remained along with “Castle On The Hill” taking up the number 2 place (and unfortunately hasn’t taken over as Ed thought… At least not yet).

In the past week Division, Ed’s new album, has been released and early in the week the chart updates already noticed his impending dominance in the chart…

Skip to this weekend and Ed now has a total of 9 out of the top 10 songs and all 16 of his albums tracks are in the top 20!

How is this you ask?

Simply put it’s the way music has changed; Unlike days gone by we can now purchase our favourite tracks from albums individually as downloads and streaming all come into play with the chart with 150 streams of a song equaling 1 purchase.

I never expected to have nine songs in the top 10 ever in my life

I don’t know if something has gone wrong, but I’m definitely very happy about it.

Ed Sheeran speaking with BBC Radio 1’s Greg James on their Friday afternoon Chart show

This weeks UK Singles Chart Top 10

  1. SHAPE OF YOU Ed Sheeran
  2. GALWAY GIRL Ed Sheeran
  3. CASTLE ON THE HILL Ed Sheeran
  4. PERFECT Ed Sheeran
  5. NEW MAN Ed Sheeran
  6. HAPPIER Ed Sheeran
  7. SOMETHING JUST LIKE THIS Chainsmokers & Coldplay
  8. DIVE Ed Sheeran
  10. WHAT DO I KNOW Ed Sheeran

My Top 5 Animated Movies

I have seen a couple of people (my sister included) put together a list of their five all time favourite animated movies… So I decided I would too, so in no particular order;

5. The Sword in the Stone

The Sword in the Stone was one of my most watched Disney films (apparently at one stage I watched this as often as my daughter watches Frozen, or at least used to we have had a rather healthy mix of film choices lately). I have always enjoyed the tales and myths of King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table and Excalibur and something always spoke to me about a chosen one being the sole person the be able to pull a sword from a stone (and yes its only in some versions of the legend that it was Excalibur which was that sword).

For a film which was produced in 1963 I think it holds up well, really a testament to the timeless animation techniques of Disney that even today a child could go from The Sword in the Stone then watch Brave and then something like Cinderella and not feel like they are watching an “old film” despite the fact they are.

2. Zootropolis (or Zootopia)

Zootropolis (or Zootopia as its known elsewhere) is a great small guy movie with a great mystery story, the type of film that parents can enjoy taking their children to see at the cinema without it being  “city full of talking animals” kiddie film which it so easily could have been. The characters were well rounded and the story compelling. I didn’t have high hopes going into see this film, yes the trailers looked entertaining but so do so many. Couple with that we were taking a not quite 3 year old to be her first trip to the cinema it didn’t seem like a good idea.

Was I ever wrong, all 3 of us sat and enjoyed the film from start to finish so much that it was an easy choice to ask for both the movie and some of the toys for her from Father Christmas last year. Probably one of the best original films I saw last year.

3. Despicable Me

Despicable me is a film which features a villain as its main hero, its a fact that through out history the heroes have been made or broken by the character of their villains (what would Batman be without the Joker, Riddler or Penguin for example) and sometimes (possibly even quite often) the villain has been shown to be more interesting than the Hero.

This is how Despicable Me starts, with a (down on his luck) villain who goes round using his freeze-ray willy-nilly to queue jump in coffee houses, has an army of (literal) minions at home along with a mad scientist friend and an underground lair which could possibly even make Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark jealous. He will even use little girls selling cookies to help his nefarious schemes.

What results is a villian to hero journey due to finding a place in his life, home and heart for 3 sisters who to be fair are each as odd as he is in their own way.

4. The Lego Movie

Who would really sit through a film about LEGO? Yeh I am pretty sure many of us, even those of us who still liked the subject matter into adulthood, would have been asking that question when we first heard of it. Once again boy were we wrong. The LEGO Movie may not be the best movie ever but its a highly entertaining film which once again tailors to both a child and adult audience with even some poking at Adult Fans of Lego (or AFOL’s) especially with this [Spoilers] real world exchange between a Father and Son over a LEGO City;

The Man Upstairs: You know the rules, this isn’t a toy!
Finn: Um… it kind of is.
The Man Upstairs: No, actually it’s a highly sophisticated inter-locking brick system.
Finn: But we bought it at the toy store.
The Man Upstairs: We did, but the way I’m using it makes it an adult thing.
Finn: The box for this one said “Ages 8 to 14”!
The Man Upstairs: That’s a suggestion. They have to put that on there.

AKA when you’re young playing with LEGO it’s a constant cycle of build, take apart, build again but slightly differently (out of either fun or because you lost parts) but as an older person, especially a parent, you build it as it says in the instructions and want to keep it that way.

5. Toy Story

The animated movie which started the current generation of animated movies, A story of 2 toys (though one thinks hes a real Space Ranger) who start off as adversaries and end up the best of friends.

I could have gone on with this list with the likes of Beauty and the Beast, Frozen, Brave, How to Train Your Dragon etc etc but this is my top 5 so it only covers those I really enjoyed as a child or the ones I enjoy with my girls now (which before anyone asks I have watched, continue to watch and do, well I have to, enjoy watching Frozen with Evie).

I will say though I imagine as soon as I see it (unfortunately haven’t as of yet!) The LEGO Batman Movie will be bumping one off of this list

Movie Review (Retro) : Stargate SG-1 The Ark of Truth

In 2006 after 10 seasons on TV Stargate SG-1 came to an end with the 214th episode “Unending” (ironic but the title made sense within the story itself as a theme as well as for the final shot, more on that later)

For me the Stargate franchise is up there amongst not only my favourite Sci-fi shows joining company including Farscape (which shares actors Ben Browder & Claudia Black) and only surpassed (arguably) by the various Star Trek series.

The Ark of Truth, a Direct to DVD feature movie, picks up where season 10 left off with SG-1 looking for a way to defeat the forces of the Ori.

BUDGET - $7 million
WRITTEN BY - Robert C. Cooper
DIRECTED BY - Robert C. Cooper
STARRING - Ben Browder (Cameron Mitchell), Amanda Tapping (Samantha Carter), Christopher Judge (Teal'c), Michael Shanks (Daniel Jackson), Beau Bridges (Hank Landry), Claudia Black (Vala Mal Doran), Currie Graham (James Marrick), Morena Baccarin (Adria), Tim Guinee (Tomin)

The Ori, an advanced race of humans from another Galaxy, were once part of a culture shared by another group who became known as the Alterans (the people who along with the Stargates built the Lost City of Atlantis) but had a difference of opinion on whether Science or Religion was the way of the future. After some time the Ori along with their followers tried to destroy the Alterans who decided to leave for another Galaxy (the Milky Way) and a fresh start.

Millions of years ago both of these groups learned how to “Ascend” to a higher plane of existence. The Alterans who became known as the Ancients believed in not interfering with the mortal plane while the Ori demanded that the unascended people of their Galaxy worship them like gods (after all as an Ascended Being they do poses some rather godlike abilities). This worship was compulsory and the sole punishment for non believers is to be put to death and spend “eternity in fiery torment” (oh the method of execution being by fire) which we later learn helps to fuel their power base giving them an advantage over the Ascended Ancients who continued to be their enemy.

The mission was simple, take the Earth ship Odyssey to the Ori Galaxy via a space based Supergate, find the Ark and use it to dissolve the Ori’s fanatical power base of followers.

Without overly spoiling the film the mission is a success even with an added complication from the Replicators (a metal spider like foe who consume a ships materials to build more of themselves who were previously defeated in Season 8) thanks to the IOA (the International Oversight Committee who part fund the Stargate Program) which were meant to be used as a way to destroy the Ori fleet but once loose take over the Odyssey .

SG-1 The Ark of Truth Replicator

All in all its a rather satisfying end to the previous 2 seasons involving the Ori and feels like a good feature length or 2 part episode. While this is sometimes considered a bad thing for big screen films such as Star Trek Insurrection (generally considered not to be a fan favourite) some of the best episodes of scifi have been 2 parters like the season 3 finale/season 4 opening episode of Star Trek The Next Generation “The Best of Both Worlds”.

The ending felt rather familiar, being the team ready to undertake a new mission on the unexplored planet of “P3K-546”.

I say familiar because this is the way the finale episode ended though this time they don’t have an over reaching enemy to fight.

SG-1 Ark of Truth New Mission

The last line of the film was by Lt. Colonel Cameron Mitchell to start their next adventure “Walter, hit it!”

Images courtesy of MGM and Gateworld.

The LEGO Batman Movie Collectible Minifigure Series

With the upcoming release of the LEGO Batman Movie LEGO have since January 1st began to roll out their sets to coincide with the movies release including a Batman themed Collectible Minifigure Series.

Initially you could only find these in stock at LEGO stores but they have started to appear in the last few days in shops like Asda, Smyths and Toys R Us.

For anyone unaware of the Collectible Minifigures by LEGO they are a series of blind bag figures, coming from a range of different themes including Knights, Pirates, Spacemen, City as well as food and animal based “Mascot” figures.  They have also designed these sets round a specific theme such as Mosnsters (great for Halloween), Disney, The LEGO Movie and now The Batman LEGO Movie.

The series contains the largest number of minifigs to date at 20 to collect, and with the anticipation of the movies cinema release on 9 February 2017 is with the  is probably one of the most eagerly awaited sets of 2017.

LEGO Batman Movie Minifigures 71017 Leaflet Front

Within each blind bag you get one minifigure and a leaflet which serves as a checklist for all the characters in the series which is helpful for trying to ID figures by feeling for accessories.

LEGO Batman Movie Minifigures 71017 Leaflet Back

On the reverse side we can see instructions on how to put three of the figures together (Red Hood, Glam Metal Batman and Fairy Batman) as well as an advert suggesting we visit the LEGO Batman Movie Website .

At the bottom their is also a silhouette of a Minifig teasing the next Minifigure Series, likely to be Series 17 which will be released around May.

This leaflet displays a “Limited Edition” label which after seeing how quickly the Disney figures sold out (and after their increase in value on the second hand seller market through Facebook selling pages and Ebay) that LEGO expect that this series may also sell out rather quickly (so you have been warned).

Onto the figures, with 20 to collect and coming in boxes of 60 it has been confirmed that their will (or at least should) be 3 of each figure per box. This makes for finding the figure(s) you want easier in at least stores who put them on the shelves in the display box.

The 20 figures are;

  1. Lobster-Lovin’ Batman
  2. Glam Metal Batman
  3. Fairy Batman
  4. Clan of the Cave Batman
  5. Vacation Batman
  6. Barbara Gordon
  7. Commissioner Gordon
  8. Arkham Asylum Joker
  9. Dick Grayson
  10. Pink Power Batgirl
  11. Red Hood
  12. Eraser
  13. Nurse Harley Quinn
  14. Orca
  15. Zodiac Master
  16. Catman
  17. March Harriet
  18. Calculator
  19. King Tut
  20. Mime

This will probably be the first Minifigure Series I collect all of as I only started collecting these types of LEGO figure before Christmas to try and get all of the Disney ones for my girls and the past series I have picked up a couple which I really liked. As everyone likes top pick lists here is my must haves (as well as the ones I might double up on)

Vacation Batman

LEGO Vacation Batman
Who wouldn’t like Batman with a Rubber Duck ring! I definitely want to get more of one of him as he will make for a great funny holiday photo prop and generally a fun figure to have with the masked rubber duck (wouldn’t be surprised to see the mould re-appear in a City set in the not too distant future) and the goggled mask. This should be one of the easiest Batman figures to feel through the bag alongside Lobster Lovin Batman and Glam Rock due to the larger accessories.

Pink Power Batgirl

LEGO Pink Power Batgirl

While not as random as the Fairy Batman who also comes in pink this Batgirl should hopefully be a great inspiration to girl LEGO fans and show them they can be a kick ass hero as well as still enjoy wearing pink girly clothes. She has an alternate face (which not many CMF’s have), a shiny pink cape, a pink batarang which is a first and her new hairpiece which would be great for anyone who is looking for different Minifig parts for building custom figures. I’m planning on getting one each of these for my girls as my eldest enjoys playing with Superhero Minifigs so it will be great to have a girly one to go along with the likes of Spider-Man (which right now is her favourite).

Nurse Harley Quinn

LEGO Nurse Harley Quinn

Adding to the roster of girls from the LEGO Batman Movie is this Harley Quinn dressed as an Arkham Asylum Nurse (similar to that of the Arkham Asylum video game). With her red and black pig tailed hair piece with Nurses hat to the tile with “H&J” scribbled on the Jokers file I would argue that this is possibly the best figure of the series and rounds out my top 3.

Honourable mentions would have to include Lobster Lovin Batman who was central to the early trailers, Dick Grayson who for the Shark Repellant cannister… I could go on as even the lesser interesting (least to me) figures like King Tut are must haves (though this could be the Batman effect.

Obviously they have padded this set out with some rather C or even D list villains this Series is pretty strong. Being able to get characters like Commissioner Gordon or Arkham Joker cheaply should never be considered a bad thing especially when trying to add to your child’s collection without needing the expensive Arkham set for the Joker. With characters like Red Hood, 2 versions of Barbara Gordon and that gorgeous Harley and thats before we consider 5 completely random Batman figures its an easy trade off for the more obscure character like Orca, Mime or Eraser.

At £2.99 (or £2.50 for the time being at Asda) these are a nice way to treat your child to a new LEGO Batman toy (and lets be honest these are still aimed at children despite being “collectible”) for getting a good school report or even just to keep them happy while doing the weekly shop!

So what is your favourite? Are you going to collect all of them, just a few or none at all? Let me know in the comments!

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 First Teaser

In the last half an hour (ish) the first teaser trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 hit the Internet… Showtime A-holes!

My honest opinion? I loved this trailer as it hit all the right notes (as to be fair most trailers put out by Marvel do) with a great mix of action, comedy, character moments and of course the song choice.

I’m not sure which is my favourite moment (Warning Spoilers)…

Drax laughing in Starlord’s face… The entire of the Internet will have been with him there, or the conversation revolving round Rocket explaining to Baby Groot not to push the “giant death button” leading up to Rocket and Starlord arguing over the fact noone has any tape to put over it while Groot runs off with the bomb!

Movie Review : Marvels Guardians of the Galaxy

So I missed out on watching Guardians of the Galaxy at the cinema as unfortunately I just didn’t get a chance to see it during its theatrical run so I took full advantage of a family member asking what I wanted for Christmas!

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE – July 31, 2014 (Theatrical UK), November 24, 2014 (DVD UK)
RUNNING TIME – 122 minutes
BUDGET – $232.3 million
BOX OFFICE – $773.3 million
WRITTEN BY – James Gunn, Nicole Perlman
DIRECTED BY – James Gunn
STARRING – Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio del Toro

The Guardians of the Galaxy (GotG) wasn’t a comic book I was too familiar with (my main Marvel read was Spiderman) but this was a refreshing take on a comic book movie and a sci-fi film in one.

The story focuses around the bringing together of 5 characters (who together make the Avengers look like a coherent, polished team) who despite their differences must band together to save the Galaxy.

First we have Peter Quill who prefers to go by the name Star-Lord, played by Chris Pratt (who was hilarious in Parks and Recreation) as the human (later revealed to be half-alien, spoilers) leader of the Guardians who was abducted from1988 Missouri moments after his mothers death from Cancer as a child in  and raised by a group of alien thieves and smugglers called the Ravagers.

Next we have Gamora, played by Zoe Saldana she is an orphan from an alien world which was destroyed by Thanos who was then taken to become his “favourite daughter” and trained to be one of his personal assassins. She betrays both Thanos and Ronan to seek redemption for her past.

WWE star Dave Bautista plays Drax the Destroyer, a warrior who seeks to avenge his Wife and Daughters death at the hands of Ronan (on behalf of Thanos). He comes from a race of aliens who take everything literally.

Rocket Raccoon is a genetically engineered “raccoon-like” bounty hunter and mercenary played by Sean Gunn (brother of Director James Gunn) on set and voiced by Bradley Cooper. Rocket is a master tactician (as well as a master jokster) and prefers large weapons in comparison to his size.

Groot, a tree-like humanoid, is played by Vin Diesel and is Rocket’s personal muscle and house plant (according to the Nova Core in the trailer). Groot can grow body parts to become more threatening or offer protection and the only thing he seems to know to say is “I am Groot” which Rocket seems to understand to mean different things.

The story begins with Quill dancing his way across a very alien planet to the tune of “Come and Get Your Love” by Redbone played on an 80’s cassette player (the cassette being the “Awesome Mix” which provides the soundtrack for much of the film) and stealing an artifact from the dead planets vault.

Guardians of the Galaxy Star-lord Orb

This artifact , an Orb, becomes the McGuffin which drives the rest of the film as the main protagonist Ronan is also after it on behalf of Thanos (the big smiling guy who was behind Loki’s invasion attempt of Earth in The Avengers) and brings the four of the team together as Ronan sends Gamora after Quill as well as a pair of Bounty Hunters (Rocket and Groot) who are after the reward the Ravagers who Quill double crossed by taking the Orb for himself. This confrontation results in a 3 way fight which leaves both Quill and Gamora unconscious and Groot with no arms before the Nova Core (come to arrest them).

After ending up in a maximum security prison these 4 make an uneasy alliance with Drax who initially wanted to kill Gamora for her association to both Ronan and Thanos before being talked out of it by Quill.

The 5 make their escape and try and sell the Orb before learning exactly how dangerous it could be, loosing it to Ronan and making a deal with the Ravagers along with the Nova Core to come together and save the population of the planet Xandar from being wiped out by Ronan now harnessing the power of the Orb.

Guardians of the Galaxy is a very different type of Marvel movie and is the first which breaks out of the more well known heroes of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and The Hulk. Its combines action, comedy and a great soundtrack of songs from the 70’s and 80’s that many of us most likely heard on our own parents mix tapes.

With their 10th film entry Marvel are showing that their Cinematic Universe is continuing to grow and go from strength to strength after the success of Phase 1 culminating in the first Avengers film and this years Captain America (The Winter Soldier) which turned much of what we knew of the Earth part of the MCU on its head.

Guardians of the Galaxy Drax and Dancing Groot

Before seeing this film my favourite entries from Marvel would have been Winter Soldier,  Avengers and then the first Iron Man, now though I think Guardians could now have taken my top spot (or at least a joint first along side Cap’s second solo movie).

As we head towards the end of Phase 2 with next years Avengers 2 I can only look forward to the already announced sequel (looking forward to seeing what Vol 2 of the soundtrack has in store) as well as for further films outside of sequels for the original Avengers with Ant-Man following just after A2 next July.

London Film and Comic Con

Got back from a long day at London FIlm & Comic Con yesterday, 6:30 train from Chester getting to Earls Court for about 09:40.

So what can I say about my first London Convention, well firstly it was hot, really hot, and packed out, really packed out which together meant an at times unbearable heat!

Really felt sorry for some of the cosplayers, especially those wearing full on body suits and helmets such as War Machine, a number of Power Rangers, a small force of Mandalorian Warriors and an amazing Chewbacca cosplayer!

Optimus Prime

Oh and I never mentioned Optimus Prime who parked outside with Bumblebee.

What I learnt from my first experience is if at all possible Pre-book passes for any and all photo shoots you want to do and expect to have to take a queue ticket to meet some of your favourite stars as between me and my sister I had to pass on seeing Edward James Olomos and Jamie Bamber.

I did get to meet and get autographs with Scifi legends David Hewlett and Dominic Keating who played Dr Rhodney McKay on Stargate Atlantis and Lt Malcolm Reed on Enterprise who were both fun to talk to.

Also got to meet and get my photo with childhood hero David Yost who played Billy the Blue Mighty Morphin Power Ranger but wish I had made the time to at least get autographs from Paul Schrier and Jason Narvy who played Bulk and Skull on not only Mighty Morphin but for years afterward. Maybe another time.

Away from the guests there was much to see, plenty of toys and collectables, some very old and some shiny and new and a highlight of the day was “flying” the Tardis with my sister before running into a couple of friends from the world of the internet including Andy (who was suited up as the Green Time Force Power Ranger) and Sian minus her usual Green Ranger costume [update, check out her new Facebook page Green Ranger Girl’s Morphenomenal Cosplay Adventures] and Stu who runs Mecha Imports specialising in Japanese Sentai Mecha (Check out his site as well as the Mecha Imports Facebook page) but has an interest in Transformers and a whole host of robot related related characters.

So lessons learned and a new convention challenge; aim to collect the signatures from a cast member who played one of the main five Power Rangers, so thats one down leaving four to go next target being Steve Cardenas who played Rocky the second Red Ranger who will be at Wrexham in November.

One to finish off, an extra highlight of the day running into yet another childhood hero and cartoon favourite, Raphael the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtle.


The Birthday Haul – Friends and Family Keeping my Inner Child Alive

I am officially 30, which according to some means I am officially old… Which is strange seeming my rather epic birthday haul which included a limited edition copy of Arkham Origins which included a statue of Batman shaking down Joker, Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary Lego and a Raphael TMNT Beenie Ball to name just three of my presents from rather generous friends and family who know me all too well!

30th birthday haul

So now for the first time in at least 20 something years its time to get building Lego… Who ya gonna call?

First Day on the New Job

First day of a new job today with Webtise, big step up from working at Creative play for the last year.

So far so good, people seem nice and the Magento team has a good amount of talent and skill on board with both a Front and Back End Developer as well as a database/setup expert… I just hope I live up to expectations!

Two big changes in less than two weeks, first the birth of Evie and now starting a new working adventure a week later!

New life…

After nearly 9 months of worry, excitement and patient waiting (well on my part anyway) I am relieved to say that my gorgeous little girl has entered the world!

Cords were cut, cuddles were had (a few tears were shed) and Mummy and Baby are doing well… Now its time to have a quick shower and back to the hospital to introduce the parents to their first Grandchild and the little Sister to her Niece.

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