Bloom - Nell Bryden
There’s no doubting that Nell Bryden can sing, with a powerful voice that evokes an early Annie Lennox coupled with an ability to write complex and meaningful songs that resonate long after you’ve finished listening to them.
Although she may not be a familiar name to many people, with ‘Bloom’, which is possibly her most accessible album to date, she has produced a wonderful canon of tunes that should earn her a legion of new fans (if there is any justice left in the industry).
Album opener ‘In The Morning’ sets the tone and the quality never gives up right through to the final track. Along the way ‘Lie To You’ and ‘Gunshot Grey’ leap off the turntable as two more examples of insightful writing.
‘Bloom’ is out now on CD and digital download.
I Hope You Don’t Mind Me Writing - Lucy Spraggan
It’s hard to believe that this week sees the release of a fourth album from singer/songwriter Lucy Spraggan and this prolific artist has grown in maturity with her latest offering.
“I Hope You Don’t Mind Me Writing” is perhaps her most personal release yet, with a collection of songs that pay reference to everything from relationships to dementia.
‘Modern Day Frankenstein’ stands out alongside ‘Hey William’ and I had a soft spot for ‘Freddo’s Aren’t 10p’, which is a nostalgic look back on her past.
Lucy has come a long way since her appearance on The X Factor and on this evidence, is likely to be around long after the nation’s love affair with the reality show has ended.
“I Hope You Don’t Mind Me Writing” is out now on CD and digital download.
Bridget Jones’s Baby (15)
We find ourselves faced with what should be the last in the Bridget Jones series of films (unless someone decides to explore Bridget Jones’s retirement) with Renee Zellwege and Colin Firth reprising their roles as the long suffering on/off lovers.
After breaking up with Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), Bridget Jones’s (Renée Zellwege) “happily ever after” hasn’t quite gone according to plan. Fortysomething and single again, she decides to focus on her job as a top news producer.
For once, Bridget has everything completely under control. What could possibly go wrong? Enter dashing American Jack (Patrick Dempsey), the suitor who is everything Mr. Darcy is not. In an unlikely twist she finds herself pregnant, but with one hitch…she can only be fifty percent sure of the identity of her baby’s father.
It’s not the most original of plots but it is fun and has enough about it to prove an entertaining end to the trilogy.
You could do far worse on a rainy Sunday afternoon!
Bridget Jones’s Baby is out now on Blu Ray, DVD and digital download.
Deepwater Horizon (12)
Hollywood has an eternal fascination with disaster movies and though they peaked sometime in the 70s with the likes of The Towering Inferno, The Poseidon Adventure and Airport all doing their bit to put people off travelling and high rise buildings, it has never stopped testing our resolve.
On April 20th, 2010, the world’s largest man-made disaster occurred on the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico. This film honours the brave men and women whose heroism would save many on board, and change everyone’s lives forever.
Featuring some memorable performances from Mark Wahlberg and a particularly grisly looking Kurt Russell (who now resembles Wyatt Earp more than he did when he played him in Tombstone) this is a vivid and realistic interpretation of a human and ecological tragedy.
A word should also be said for the truly excellent pyrotechnics that make this a worthy addition to the annuals of disaster movies.
Deepwater Horizon is out now on Blu Ray, DVD and digital download.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (18)
Not another Resident Evil game I hear the doubters cry.
Well, while Resident Evil 7 draws from the series’ roots of atmospheric survival horror, it also delivers a new experience that offers some genuinely scary episodes.
In the Resident Evil games of yesteryear, players braced for fear in the first-person via the creepy door-opening scenes, and Resident Evil 7 ramps up that tension with an immersive first-person view and a photorealistic graphical style.
Capcom is able to achieve a higher degree of visual fidelity thanks to the new proprietary in-house RE Engine that includes VR oriented tools. Playing the game in the PlayStation VR Mode escalates the unsettling feeling of presence to a level that gamers have never experienced. The full gameplay experience is available from beginning to end in VR and it is an unsettling one. I found myself at times having to take a break not because of any form of motion sickness but simply because I was becoming more and more unsettled.
It’s brilliant and bloody and ultimately bloody brilliant gaming that raises the bar, especially for virtual reality. If this is the shape of things to come for that medium in particular then it certainly has a bright outlook.
If you like to be scared then this is the game for you. Just don’t say you weren’t warned!
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is out now on PS4, Xbox One and PC.
George R Vaughan