Why are horror films popular?


Horror films are a strange thing. Why do people pay to be scared and to watch horrible things happening on screen? Some of the most famous and biggest films in history have been horror films – from Psycho to The Exorcist, to Friday 13th to the Blair Witch Project. Read more

Why Breaking Bad was so good


I’ve just finished watching Breaking Bad and wow what an amazing series it is – for me it’s the best show ever – beats The Sopranos easily and even better than The Wire as well, which I really liked too. Here for me are the reasons it was so good. Read more

Best music releases 2014


2014 has been a pretty good year for music, and here’s a list of my favorites.

Pharrell Williams – Happy

Seems like everyone likes this song. Pharrell can do no wrong at the moment, has been having phenomenal success in the past few years, Blurred Lines was massive too – I loved that song as well despite all the controversy about it. His stuff is often pretty retro but done in such a modern way – and great tunes and style.

Read more

TV Show Arrow

From children’s entertainment to successful television programming: The TV show Arrow and the evolution of comic books in the media.

Currently Arrow is in its 3RD season and going strong. With over 2 million viewers tuning in every week it’s no wonder that it continues to captivate its audience with the tales of Oliver Queen’s adventures in Starling city and his ongoing fight against the corrupt powers that run the city from the shadows. While allusions to Batman are easy to make the character of the Green Arrow is anything but.

Humble beginnings

It wasn’t that long ago that comic book heroes where the realm of Saturday morning cartoons and children’s toys. It wasn’t until the movies that were based on these iconic characters started to get darker that things started to change. Starting with Batman Begins people began to realize that you can balance the heroic antics of comic book characters with legitimate plot and production. Gone were the campy antics of the 60’s and the half hour toy commercials of the 80’s. Movies started making these characters real people beyond just a cape, some gadgets and/or super powers. Later movies like Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor balanced enjoyable entertainment for kids with an engaging and adrenalin pumping story for adults. This theme would morph into modern television productions of classic super hero stories.

From Smallville to Arrow

Prior to live action comic book movies and TV shows becoming more serious storytelling, you had standard television fare in Smallville. Smallville was the story of a young Superman growing up and becoming the iconic hero we all know so well. While this TV show didn’t initially start out as more than a general TV show about a young Superman its success would lead to the creation of several other shows centered on other DC heroes. Combined with the success from such cartoons as Batman The Animated Series, Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited  these shows proved that there was a larger fan base beyond children that not only enjoyed these characters but wanted darker stories as well.

The success of Arrow

While the more mature content of Arrow takes the character out of the realm of children’s entertainment what ultimately resulted in the success of Arrow is the unique focus on the hero himself as he struggles with living his double life while maintaining his own personal integrity.  If the show didn’t have such a unique and engaging, also perfectly portrayed, character all the complex storylines and deep characterization wouldn’t bring in the 2 million+ views each week. In the end, the success of Arrow is its blending of a great character, terrific stories, and an all-around appeal for long time fans of the character and newcomers alike. With the continuing success of the show, fans can look forward to the ongoing adventures of our resident bow hunter for several more years to come. Will the series continue to grow and expand the on the comic book genre like its ancestors? Only time will tell, but from now it seems very likely.

Zumba Fitness World Party Xbox One Review

Keeping fit through console games has had a checkered history, to say the least. Majesco has now taken the fitness craze Zumba, and built a game around it called Zumba Fitness World Party. But is it any good for keeping you in shape?

I take a closer look at the game in the hope I can lose some weight before the summer starts.

The introduction to the game shows a number of Latin-American dancers having fun with Zumba and gives you an idea of what you are trying to mimic. The menu can instantly take you into the game, however I would like to point out some additional features.

There is a weekly report section that tracks your progress (or lack of progress). You are judged on the time played, energy used and the number of routines completed (per week). This is then nicely packaged into a score for you to beat the following week. The calorie burner seems to be a little generous compared to my treadmill, but maybe dancing burns more calories.

Another monitoring feature is the ability to set goals. This is excellent for the first month, but once you hit your personal best it’s difficult to keep improving. You also have the ability to contribute to the community with your goals, but unless you are part of a real Zumba class, I don’t see any advantages.

Let’s talk about the game itself. At the start there’s a tutorial mode that gives you demonstrations of each move or dance associated with Zumba. I thought this was great as I have never been to a Zumba class before. I found it helpful. If you are a Zumba class regular, you could probably skip this section and go right into game mode.

Before you start I would suggest you change into a sports outfit, e.g. shorts, t-shirt or a jogging suit and find a pair of workout shoes — this is a workout and you are going to get sweaty.

Game mode instantly gives you a speed option, depending on your ability to keep up with the instructor. The background is stationary, letting you focus on the video-imposed instructor. At this point all you need to do is follow the instructor’s advice and try to copy her moves (easier said than done).

There are additional modes you can change to, including class mode. This mimics a traditional Zumba class, but one mode I loved is creating a play list. You can dance to 10 or so different tunes. All you need to do at this point is select your favorite and get started. This aspect of the game is a good idea because I didn’t like a large amount of the music installed. The play list lets you avoid all the music you don’t like, creating a better gaming experience.

If you love to dance and want to get fit, Zumba Fitness World Party is a good option. But if you’re not really into dancing, the lifespan of the game is going to be limited.

Pain inspired songs – Do you need pain to create good music?

I recently read an article that speculated where creativity comes from. In singers, as we all know, the best artists sing from the heart. The problem is that if you want to sing from the heart, you’ll need to have had an experience worth singing about.

Love and creativity

Take Adele for example. She was a struggling singer until she went through a horrible breakup. While heartbroken she wrote a best selling album and rose to the top of the charts. While it cost her a relationship, she did gain fame. Painters and writers for centuries have confessed that they did their best work when in the darkest of depressions. So I’d like to know whether all this pain is really necessary to produce great artistic work. Many of the all-time bestselling songs are about love and heartbreak. These emotionally fuelled songs connect with an audience at a very deep level. Painful and sometimes pleasant experiences fuel the lyrics and the tone of these songs. I don’t believe a singer could sing these songs as well without actually going through the actual experience. It just wouldn’t be the same in my opinion.

Pain fuelled songs

It’s clear that songs about love and heartbreak sell well, but what about all those songs dealing with the edgier parts of life. Take Johnny Cash, who had multiple run ins with the law during his music career. He came up with some of his best songs while in jail. His lyrics and voice completely changed while he was going through difficult times. Can this again be accredited to his emotional pain? Or did the records sell better because he was such a high-profile “bad boy”?

To find an answer to this question, let’s look at another example. James Brown, frequently called the Godfather of Soul lived a life full of pain. Using a criminal background check service, I found out that he was arrested for domestic violence but despite not being jailed, he still went through plenty of emotional upheaval. During all that pain, he still made some great music. When looking at these examples, it seems to me that all these musicians with troubled lives make great music. There is of course no way to know whether the fame caused their trouble or vice versa.

Things become a little more clear when looking at the world of rap and hip hop, where the connection between crime and fame becomes even clearer. Biggie, Will Smith and Jay-Z are just some of the musicians that have long criminal records while being famous for their record breaking music. In this genre, the artist will take stories from their lives and rap about them. Fans of this type of music either relate to the story or are looking for some excitement in the lyrics taking them away from their boring lives.

So who’s your favourite artist? Has he or she been to prison or had any trouble with the law? Using the Internet you can easily find out whether they have. I found this Instant Checkmate review which will help you find out who has a criminal history among your favorite singers.

Gamer Problems

Hello again. I hope everyone is doing well this fine day. Everyone out there knows that I love my games. I am always on the look out for a game that will grab my attention. And I do not discriminate on what type of system either. So today I will tell you about a game that I have found and have been playing for a few months. I always like to play the game awhile before giving my opinion about it. I think it gives it me a better outlook on the game itself instead of the excitement phase of first finding it. Kind of gets me out of the honeymoon phase I guess. I am going to tell you about a smartphone game. It is an online multiplayer game. The one that I have been playing now around 8 months is called Clash of Clans by Supercell. It is a wonderful game. I am going to give you a quick rundown of the game today.

First, I would like to say the game is absolutely free! I mean you can spend money on it but you do not have to. But you are a leader of a little village of people. The goal of the game is to build buildings, earn loot, and make troops. Also you get to attack other peoples villages and take their stuff! How cool is that?!

There are many different types of buildings on the game. The most important one is called the town hall. Each time you upgrade your town hall to a higher level it will unlock more upgrades for your village. But your town hall is your heart and soul of the game. If someone attacks and destroys your town hall they automatically win that raid. So it is best to keep your town hall in the middle of your village away from others.

You also have resources in the game to help upgrade your stuff. You have gold and elixir. Gold will upgrade certain buildings. While elixir will upgrade other things. But how do you get gold and elixir? On the game you have gold mines and elixir collectors. Whatever town hall level you have you need to upgrade them to the max so you can have as much loot as possible. You also have defenses to help defend your base. There are archer towers, wizard towers, and cannons. You also have mortars too. When building your village it is smart to put these around stuff that you want to protect.

You also have army barracks. This is where you make troops to attack other villages. The very first troops you unlock is a barbarian. The higher level your barracks get the different kinds of troops are unlocked. If you want more of a variety of troops then use your loot upgrading your barracks first. That is what is so great about the game. You get to decide on everything that happens to your village. You focus on whatever you want upgraded first.

This game is so addictive! It is so hard to let it go. Trust me. I know someone who is a Canadian hosted PBX provider. And they were visiting some family that lives in Florida. Well, they were walking across the street and someone driving was playing the game! Not safe at all!! And they actually hit my friend. Thank goodness they did not hit them hard. It would have been bad if we would have had to contact an accident attorney in Tampa. But check out the game!

Fergie Duhamel: Then and Now

I am a huge fan of the Black Eyed Peas. I have every album they have ever released and have watched concerts they’ve held in my area. For today’s post, I thought I’d write a piece on Fergie, the only female member of the group.

Fergie is one of the most popular female vocalists of the millennia. Aside from being the only female member of the award winning hip hop rock band Black Eyed Eyes, she has also released a solo album that also landed at the top of the charts in 2006. To top it off, she has also been very successful in her business ventures in the fashion industry.

Indeed, Fergie seems to have it all. However, like most celebrities who started in show business at a very young age, she also went through some dark and troubled times. Let’s take a closer look at how Fergie has managed to turn her life around over the years.

Early Life

Stacy Ann Ferguson was born on the 27th of March 1975 in Hacienda Heights, California. She started starring in TV commercials at a very young age. By 1984, she was signed to be a part of Kids Incorporated, a show based on a fictional musical group with the same name. Fergie left Kids Incorporated in 1990 but in the 6 seasons she was part of the show, she was able to sharpen as well as showcase her singing skills.

In 1992, Fergie joined Wild Orchid, an all girls singing trio that consisted of herself, fellow Kids Inc alumnus Renee Sandstrom, and Stefanie Ridel. However, Wild Orchid failed to reach stardom despite releasing 2 albums and fronting Cher’s Do You Believe Tour with Cyndi Lauper. After their label decided to not release their third album in 2001, Fergie decided it was time to leave the group.

Battling Drug Addiction

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly in 2006 Fergie revealed that she struggled with drug addiction from 1993 until the early part of 2002. She believes that it was the stress and frustration she felt as Wild Orchid was struggling that lead her to start using drugs. On top of that, she said she also felt like she lost a sense of her identity because she was trying so hard to keep up with the image that the trio was built on. All that lead her to start partying where she learned to experiment with Ecstasy. Her experimental drug use eventually lead her to become addicted to crystal meth.

In a recent interview with Oprah, she revealed that her extreme paranoia when under the influence of crystal meth and her faith in God were what lead her to sobriety. She said that she’s been sober since the day she asked God for a sign in 2002.

Today, Fergie supports many addiction recovery movements and talks about her experience in hopes of inspiring drug addicts to live a life to sobriety.

The Black Eyed Peas

Shortly after she decided to become sober, she was offered the front man spot of the hip hop rock band Black Eyed Peas. In 2003, the band released the album Elephunk which carried the song that launched the band into stardom – “Where is the Love?”. From then on, the group has enjoyed continuous success from the succeeding albums and singles they released.

The Black Eyed Peas are still together to this very day despite the fact that its members have released solo albums over the years.

Personal Life

Fergie married actor Josh Duhamel in 2009 after 5 years of dating. It was then that Fergie decided to legally change her name to Fergie Duhamel. In 2013, she gave birth to their first child and named him Axl Jack Duhamel.


Fergie is considered one of the most stylish women in the music industry. Her personal style is a mixture of sexy modernism and a little bit of funk. She has graced the red carpet wearing pieces made especially for her by top designers all over the world.

However, the most noticeable thing about Fergie’s physical appearance is how her teeth have improved since she first started singing with the Black Eyed Peas. A cosmetic dentist who specializes in veneers in Atlanta said that crystal meth addicts can never deny that they used the drug because the substance destroys teeth.

Looking at Fergie’s photos back in the early years of the Black Eyed Peas, it can be seen that her teeth clearly showed signs of crystal meth damage. But today, you can see her sporting a bright smile in every photograph. Gossip blogs have speculated that she got porcelain veneers in Altanta or from a renowned cosmetic dentistry clinic in Los Angeles.

Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story – Film Review

Christopher Guest has influenced a whole generation by creating a sub genre of film comedy that uses improvisation in a mockumentary style; this style is seen in contemporary television and movies where it ceases to be pale imitations and more an accepted style of filmmaking. Blackballed: The Story of Bobby Dukes is greatly by Guest’s films but seems to miss the point of the earnestness of his mockumentary filmmaking.

Bobby Dukes is a legendary but disgraced championship paint baller, self-exiled for 10 years and has returned to his hometown in upstate New York for redemption from a fall from grace because he was caught “wiping”; when a player wipes the paint off his uniform to keep playing is the most serious offense in paintball and considered cheating. In one of the more brilliant segments and the opening scene to the movie is Lenny Pear’s (“The League’s” Paul Scheer) re-creation of the controversial event with his He-Man action figures on a miniature paintball field. Bobby’s back and wants to play so he tries to get a team together but being branded a cheater doesn’t make him a desirable teammate and the search proves futile. He turns to Lenny for help in finding new blood for the team and they fashion together a ragtag band of brothers, and his sister Erika, to regain the glory of another championship win. But first, they go on a quest to find sufficient paintball markers and gear.

Corddry delivers an understated performance, portraying Dukes as Zen-like in his approach to paintball. Rob Riggle, D.J. Hazzard, do most of the heavy lifting as far as outlandish, intense characters are concerned but as far as character development it works well. Bobby Dukes is a paintball guru who still holds a reputation as being the best at what he does and that attracts the intensity of those around him.

The issues I have from first time director, Brant Serson is the inconsistency of plot. Minor characters are introduced and one gets the distinct feeling that there are more stories behind the relationship between Bobby and that character but Serson drops it. The old high school girlfriend, the rival Sam Brown who gets thrown in again haphazardly in the last 10 minutes to remind us that he still exists. Situations are introduced that lead the audience down one path and makes us think we’re watching a different movie. The best example of this is when, in the championship game, Bobby gets hit and the question is brought up if he wiped again or did his sliding in the grass wipe it off; a good opportunity for Serson to show the conflict in character that Bobby has. Instead, he’s out of the game and the game goes on, the camera doesn’t follow the subject of the “documentary”; Bobby has been in every shot or present in the background that it is reasonable to assume that the camera goes with him wherever he goes. It makes very little sense why Bobby would quietly go to the sidelines and the camera wouldn’t follow for his reaction or showing us the rest of the game from Bobby’s POV.

The film had minor laughs and the characters were watchable; I would have liked to see more of the one-scene wonders of Ed Helms and Jack Brayer personally. What I think the film was missing was more heart; Christopher Guest’s mockumentaries have an earnestness and respect for the characters that involves them in a world that makes sense to them and isn’t created to make fun. Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story would have worked better as a straight narrative comedy film in the vein as “Blades of Glory” or “Dodgeball”.