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Paddington 2 – Movie Review

Paddington 2 – Movie Review

I saw the first Paddington movie and I really enjoyed it. With Paddington 2 I actually enjoyed it even more than the first movie. Normally sequels can be a bit of a letdown, often the 2nd film is just to capitalise on the first movie. This time round, I think Paddington 2 bucks the trend and is a wonderfully written and presented movie.

From deepest darkest Peru, Paddington was left in Paddington station with a tag. “Look after this bear”. The Brown family, took Paddington into their lives in a quiet sleepy street at Windsor Gardens.

Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins return in Paddington 2 and they are joined by a struggling actor who is on hard times, namely Hugh Grant. (I’m not slagging him, you need to see the movie to understand the Hugh Grant statement).

The story of Paddington 2 revolves around a pop-up book which Paddington wants to buy for Aunt Lucy. However the pop-up book is over £1,000 and Paddington needs to get a job to buy the book. So, Paddingtons first job is a disaster at a barbershop, shaving a line of hair from Tom Conti who plays an angry judge

Hugh Grant now arrives on the scene as the villain. He plays a self-absorbed West End acting “legend” called Phoenix Buchanan. Basically Hugh Grant was asked to overact and then overact again to become an egotistical method actor.

Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant) finds out about the antique pop-up book after Paddington tells him about it. Apparently the book is key to a long-lost treasure stash. Paddington is then framed for the robbery of the book and sentenced to 10 years in jail.

Paddington makes a few unlikely friends in prison. His sweet ways means that he doesn’t understand why a mean chef can’t be his friend. Paddington confronts the terrifying chef Knuckles (played by Brendan Gleeson) and eventually they become befriended through the means of a errant marmalade sandwich. There is a lot of fun to be had with he convict Paddington and eventually he wants to get the book and prove his innocence.

From here on, I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty of the plot as there is a lot of laughs and also some sad scenes for Paddington …. you may have a period of severe worry during this film, so mind the young ones at it.

I found that most of the laughs were to be had with Paddington, Hugh Grant and Brendan Gleeson and Grant. The script is expertly written and there are a lot of jokes aimed at the adults or older kids too. The graphics are surreal and at times you question if Paddington is real, especially the scene at the barbers where his fur moves in sync with the razor.

I really Paddington 2. BBC Film critic Mark Kermode says, if you laugh 6 times it is a comedy. I can tell you that at Paddington 2, I laughed 6 times in the opening 10 minutes and about 6 times every 10 minutes after that! Paddington 2 is a worthwhile film to see. It is entertaining, charming and worth the admission fee!

Official Trailer – Paddington 2

My Score – Paddington 2

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Review Score

Master of Photography on Sky Arts

Master of Photography on Sky Arts

For the past two years on Sky Arts the Master of Photography series has run in association Leica cameras. Last year there was an Irish interest in the series with Molly Keane involved. It is a very good show if you are interested in photography.

I decided to apply for Master of Photography again this year. Last year I applied but I felt my shots lacked any punch – as they were all landscapes. One of the questions a judge on the show posed was, “so what?”. Therefore, when you take a photo you should ask “so what?”. Does it engage the viewer and does it tell a story.I am hoping my submission this year is a bit more effective.

As I watched series 2 of the program I had ideas of my own of what could be shot etc. I felt that watching series three of Master of Photography without even trying to enter would be very “sure, what’s the point”. There is a good saying “you miss every shot you don’t take” – similar to “if you’re not in, you can’t win”.

So who knows, if the judges like my submissions they may decide to include in in series three of Master of Photography. Only time will tell….

 

Update – Jan 2018

Unfortunately, I got a the “Thanks but no thanks” email back. Maybe next year! I know for a fact that my shot selection was my main issue and I have lots of lovely pictures but few of the style they look for, So perhaps I need to push myself further in this regard, and do more street and studio work!

Disposable coffee cups, should they be banned or taxed ?

Disposable coffee cups, should they be banned or taxed ?

Over the past few weeks there has been increased conversation on disposable coffee cups. Every day around the world, millions of disposable coffee cups are thrown into landfill. This is not sustainable.

The Irish government has started a bill to address this controversial issue. The final result will either be an outright ban on disposable coffee cups or a tax or levy. So when you get your coffee, you would have an added charge if you use a disposable coffee cup. I know for a fact that I could easily use about 10 of these per week. Therefore how many are being used in Ireland Every day? Now expand that… How many disposable coffee cups are being used in the world every day.

This is a similar concept to the tax on plastic bags which was introduced a few years ago. At the time we all thought it was something which would not persist. However, today it is normal practice for people to bring their own shopping bags to the shops.

It could be the case that people will now bring their own cups to the café to avoid the cup tax. The only problem is that how will people use their own cups if they have already used them that day. Cafés may have to provide a service or area for cleaning personal coffee cups.

It is a tricky issue to solve but certainly one which has an environmental impact.
Feel free to vote in the poll below or leave a comment on this issue.

What do you think? Should disposable coffee cups be banned or taxed ?

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Thor Ragnarok – Movie Review of Thor Ragnarok

Thor Ragnarok – Movie Review of Thor Ragnarok

Having seen the last Thor movie I wasn’t sure what to expect from Thor Ragnarok. The reviews were all positive and I went in hoping that Thor Ragnarok would be as good as the hype.

Starring Chris Hemsworth as Thor, this instance is much more humourous and has a very tongue in cheek attitude. It’s almost like the quirky, cheeky comic books we grew up reading.

Thor Ragnarok is directed by Taika Waititi who also directed Hunt for the Wilderpeople (which is a great movie in itself)

The movie has a very funny sequence near the start with Thor and a devil type character called Surtur. After an encounter with Surtur, Thor has a shock to the system…His hammer is destroyed by his banished sister Hela who returns to rise and destroy those who oppose her. Hela played by Cate Blanchett’s looks down her nose of her weak father who once ruled the universe but then became a peaceful ruler.

Thor also has other major losses (no spoilers) and this almost becomes a crisis of confidence for Thor.

Thor Ragnarok gives lots of cameos and subtle nods to other films. After landing on another planet he and his semi-evil brother Loki (played by Tom Hiddleston) plus the Hulk/Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and a hilarious but effective hero with a drink problem Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) try to save Thor’s home Asgard from destruction.

Before they can do that, Thor and Hulk must escape from a Hunger Games style contest. It is within this ‘gameshow style’ event that they are pitched against each other. This is all under the watchful eye of game keeper “Grandmaster” played by the amazing Jeff Goldblum.

After leading a revolt now the race is on to save Asgard. Can Thor win the battle without his trusty hammer?

Overall this was a highly entertaining film with lots of humour and a decent enough story. Chris Hemsworth was brilliant and had some great lines as was Jeff Goldblum. (Someone did say that Jeff Goldblum was just asked to do his Best Jeff Goldblum impression.). Another standout, was Tessa Thompson who played Valkerie. I had not seen her in anything before but she has starred in over 45 other productions. Maybe we have not yet seen the last of Valkerie.

Conclusion, if you want a film where you will leave smiling and with a sense of money well spent them Thor Ragnarok is the one to see. The soundtrack is also excellent – some of the music in the movie is very 1980 synth, one was very reminiscent of the Street Hawk theme by Le Park. Thor Ragnarok is not a classic or an Oscar nominee but certainly a highly entertaining movie. Enjoy!

Thor Ragnarok is the last Marvel film of 2017 and next on the list is Avengers: Infinity War.

Looking for a good hotel in Niagara Falls? Sheraton on the Falls, Niagara Falls – Hotel Review

Looking for a good hotel in Niagara Falls? Sheraton on the Falls, Niagara Falls – Hotel Review

Sheraton on the Falls, Niagara Falls, Hotel Review

If you are planning a trip to Niagara Falls then you are probably searching the web looking for independent review of hotels, to help make your mind up. You are probably searching for Good Hotels in Niagara Falls or Recommended Hotels near Niagara Falls. When I visited Niagara falls I had no such luxury, my hotel was arranged by my travel agent. I was told it was a great hotel so I took their word. They were right.

Staying in Niagara Falls is something you just have to do once in your life. If you do visit the area, then get a good hotel, one with a good view of the world famous Niagara Falls. The Sheraton on the Falls is one of these great hotels. The view is something which you will probably have to pay a bit more for but I can guarantee that it is worth it, especially if you only have 1 or 2 nights at Niagara Falls. You get to see the Niagara falls from your room at sunrise and also when the falls change colours, illuminated with lights in the evening.

 

Sheraton on the Falls

The Sheraton at Niagara falls is obviously a Sheraton hotel; a brand of hotels everyone knows. This Sheraton has a clean and fresh appeal about it. The Sheraton on the Falls Hotel has 669 first class rooms, varying from traditional guest-rooms to the beautiful Falls View suites. These falls-view suits feature floor-to ceiling windows providing guests with the best hotel view of Niagara Falls. All guestrooms are non-smoking which is ideal as I don’t smoke and I can smell if rooms have been smoked in.

 

The Rooms at Sheraton on the Falls

After a courteous and detailed check-in, you get a chance to see the view for yourself from the room. Note, the checkin area is one of the busiest I have ever seen but they processed the guests very quickly. I would recommend getting a superior room (or better) on the higher floors, which will afford you a better view of the falls. The noise of the falls when you open your balconette door (not really a balcony but you can open a door protected by a guard rail), is amazing.

Rooms at the Sheraton on the Falls - Rooms at the Sheraton on the falls have great views of Niagara Falls

You can hear the roar of Niagara falls if you leave that door open.  The recommended room to stay in is the Fallsview King Jacuzzi Room. This room offers a King size Sheraton Sweet Sleeper bed, floor to ceiling windows, and a fireplace with sitting area, and a 37″ LCD Television. Also included are phone, desk, in room tea/coffee, wireless internet access (charged), and pay per view movies. The pay for WiFi is something I hate but hopefully in 2017 this policy might be different (check on booking).

Anyway, the rooms in the Sheraton on the Falls are very nice, well laid out, clean and bright. Good size bathrooms, ideal for a luxury break away. A sound nights sleep is guaranteed!

View from Sheraton on the Falls from the Rooms on the 16th Floor

 

The Food

Options for food are plentiful. There are restaurants nearby and in the hotel. The best place for casual and fun dining is the Hard Rock Café within the same complex. Buffet Breakfast is available in The Sheraton on the Falls and this is a very large buffet with everything from pancakes, cereals and fried foods to fruit, yoghurts and omlettes / eggs cooked to order. You won’t be hungry! Even though it was a buffet we were still asked to tip the server, a person who came once to us offering coffee – I found that strange as we served our own breakfast. Tipping is strange to me as we don’t really have it in Ireland.

 

Conclusion

I was very happy with the Sheraton on the Falls, a great base for exploring the area as it is within walking distance of all the main attractions. I would certainly return to this hotel and have no problem in recommending it.

 

Sheraton on the Falls Location

Sheraton on the Falls, Niagara Falls

Sheraton on the Falls, Niagara Falls, Canada