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Lady Bird (2017) – Movie Review of Lady Bird starring Saoirse Ronan

Lady Bird (2017) – Movie Review of Lady Bird starring Saoirse Ronan

Lady Bird – Movie Review

Released : 2017
Director : Greta Gerwig
Writer : Greta Gerwig
Starring : Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts

I had been anticipating the release of Lady Bird for some time now. The trailer looked funny, it seemed to be an interesting film. The last Saoirse Ronan movie I saw was Brooklyn, which was good, but just good. I went to Lady Bird expecting something wow but I have outlined my thoughts on Lady Bird with the review.

Christine McPherson likes to be called “Lady Bird”, it is her given name, given to her by herself.

Lady Bird is the story of Christine’s senior year of high school. It portrays the relationship she has with her mother, her friends, the friends she wants to be best friends with, male friends, her siblings and her dad. It also deals with the fact that she is going to school in a strict catholic educational system, which she seems not to believe in. It is a multi-faceted film as it seems to try and deal with all these relationships at the same time and for me, I think the movie somewhat loses itself in trying to cater for all the people in her life.

Some of the funniest and interesting scenes are those she has with her mother, played by the fantastic Laurie Metcalf (who you may know as being Sheldon Cooper’s mum in The Big Bang Theory). There is a love hate relationship there, with her mum being overly critical while ensuring the family needs are looked after. Lady Bird wants to go to an expensive and sophisticated college on the East Coast such as Yale or Harvard. Her mum thinks she is not good enough and that the expense would be wasted. Perhaps her route might be community college, prison and then back to college, he mum suggests. (At which point Lady Bird decides to leave the moving car…). I would have loved to have seen more of the relationship with the mother.

All during the film Lady Bird is all about trying to achieve greatness as she grows up, but at every attempt you see her mistakes. She chooses the wrong friends, tries the wrong drinks and tells the wrong lies.

The film seems more like a load of scenes put together than a flowing movie with a beginning, middle and end. The story itself does not make for a fantastic movie – it is good, but by no means, a Best Picture candidate. However, I think it will appeal to an audience who can identify with it.  Saoirse Ronan is very good as Lady Bird but I walked away thinking, what was all the hype about the movie – not 5 star but a strong 4 star.

In conclusion, Lady Bird is a very enjoyable movie to go and see. I thought it would not be one which I would watch again – however, having watched the trailer again and having seen the movie, there is something charming about the movie. There are elements to it which are really nice, it is very emotional in parts … so, not all bad !

Lady Bird, Overall Movie Rating : 81% (4/5 stars)

 

Lady Bird – Official Trailer

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Movie Review

Released : 2017
Directed by: Martin McDonagh.
Starring: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Lucas Hedges, Peter Dinklage, Caleb Landry Jones

The first thing you will probably have heard is that this film is based on true events. Is Three Billboards a true story? Well, the inspiration is true. The director saw a poster calling on police to act on a crime. The story of Three Billboards stemmed from this event.

This is a very powerful movie and the first thing I will say is that if you don’t like swearing in movies, then this is the wrong f*$king movie for you. It is gritty, emotional, uncompromising and all driven by an amazing performance by Frances McDormand.

As the movie starts you see Mildred Hayes (played by Frances McDormand), driving and passing three old unused billboards. The town has been bypassed so the three billboards are decrepit and showing old torn defunct adverts. Mildred’s daughter was killed and the police still have no leads. Mildred thinks that there is no action being taken by the police so she buys the three spots and places her own unique adverts. She erects three adverts on the billboards stating that her daughter was killed and there are still no leads, what will Chief Willoughby do about it? The billboards upset those in the local town especially since everyone knows that the chief of police is suffering from cancer; but Mildred has no sympathy for that. As far as she is concerned, all those who did not take any part in finding her daughters killer are equally culpable for the crime. (…one scene regarding the culpability with Mildred and the local priest is shocking and hilarious at the same time).

There are many sub-plots which bring in emotions of hatred and bigotry in the patrol man played by Sam Rockwell, and comedy in Mildred’s ex-husbands new girlfriend who brings some comic relief at the right times. There is plenty to keep you interested through-out and there were no lulls in the action.

You will find that Three Billboards will give you every emotion from fear and anger to honour and sadness. The characters are amazing in this movie, each bringing something different to this sure to be Oscar winning movie. Frances McDormand has to be up for the best actress award as the strength of the character was amazing. The only thing I did not like about the film was the lack of a conclusive ending. For me, I thought I was going to see a film which would have some closure for Mildred. Some people don’t mind this sort of ending but for me it was not what I wanted at the end.

Overall Review Score : 90%

 

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Official Trailer

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

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.

Thor Ragnarok Movie Review – Overall Score : 85%

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
American Made – Movie Review

American Made – Movie Review

American Made starts way back in 1978. Barry Seal, played by Tom Cruise, a is a young and very bored TWA pilot. Barry plays fast and loose with his job as a pilot – something we have seen Tom Cruise do before in other movies. Barry has a little sideline in smuggling contraband cigars. This does not go unnoticed and the a member of the CIA, played by Domhnall Gleeson, approaches him with a proposal.

At one point Barry asks Domhnall Gleeson’s CIA character, “All this is legal?” … “If you’re doing it for the good guys,” was the response. This sets the tone for the film and it’s hard to know whos the good guys sometimes. The CIA job is more of an ultimatum than a proposal and he is asked by the CIA to take reconnaissance photos of Soviet-backed insurgents, the contras, in South and Central America. Before he knows it, after only a few years Barry Seal starts drug smuggling for some of the most famous drug lords in Central America.

The thing which makes all this a bit more appealing – American Made is all based on true events.

As the film progresses Barry Seal takes on more and more risks. If caught he could be killed by the contras, a drug lord or imprisoned by any one of the many law enforcement groups he annoys. At one point I though his wife was going to kill him, as Barry has a growing family to raise. The family gets a lot bigger as Barry becomes more successful. His wifes brother comes and works for Barry which causes its own issues. The scenario and Barry’s life becomes more and more complex. I’m not going to spoil the final act but all in all this is a great movie with a great 70/80s soundtrack.

American Made is very Tom Cruise. Since Top Gun, we all know Tom loves fast cars, bikes and planes. Some of the aircraft sequences are very well done. At one point Tom or Barry (hard to know sometimes) adjusts the aircraft pitch trim in order to keep the aircraft flying level. At this point he goes back into the small plane to release the drugs he was carrying. This is not a stuntman, the was most probably Tom Cruise. In reality though Barry Seal was built like a wrestler was not as trim as Tom Cruise. The one thing I did notice was that the aircraft scenes and procedures seemed to be well researched, Tom was probably all over this detail.

The filming is very retro in parts, especially the opening and ending credits which I loved. I thought the credits, graphics, filming and music added a great air of vintage authenticness to the film.

American Made is not a deep or gritty drama. It has the wide cheeky grin of Tom Cruise at the start but you know it will be full of action and will be entertaining. There are a few reviews of the American Made movie who focus on it being cheesy but it is more than that. I think it was highly enjoyable, entertaining and would actually love to see it again.

Official Trailer – American Made

American Made – Overall Movie Rating

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American Made Movie Rating