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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


American Made Movie Rating

Passengers – Movie Review / Film Review

Passengers – Movie Review / Film Review

Jim Preston is one of 5,000 passengers on board the spaceship, Starship Avalon. The ship is on a 120-year voyage to a distant colony planet “Homestead 2”. After a malfunction in Jim Preston’s hibernation pod, Jim (played by Chris Pratt) is the only one awake. Now he is stranded on the spaceship, still 90 years from his destination.

Passengers – Movie Review

If you watch the trailer of Passengers you may get a sense of what is happening. My initial interpretation of the Passengers trailer was different. I thought both were all awoken by mistake. I also thought perhaps there was a conspiracy to sabotage the starships journey. I even tought that perhaps these were all AI lifeforms which were being banished from earth. All of my personal assumptions about the movie were incorrect.

The movie starts with Jim being prematurely woken from his hypersleep. He doesn’t know what is happening and tries everything to gain control of the situation. Jim tried everything from trying to gain access to the bridge, to trying to get back into the hypersleep chamber. You get to see how one man lives for over a year without anyone else to talk to. He has an android barman, named Arthur, but he longs for human companionship. Jim tries all the amenities on the ship but nothing makes him feel any better about his predicament. You see him disintegrate into a man who feels that all is lost.

It is at this point he meets Aurora (no spoilers here, so apologies for a key section skipped). Although Aurora is alarmed to have been woken but Jim does his best to reassure her. Aurora and himself get on very well and eventually for a romantic relationship. However after Arthur, the barman (played by Michael Sheen), tells Aurora some background information she breaksdown. All seems lost, but a bigger problem is looming. The ship systems are failing and the ship is on the brink of destruction. The ship will have to be repaired, but how can it be done in time? Can they go back to hypersleep? Are they doomed to live out their lives on a sleeping starship? ….


Overall Passengers is a really enjoyable movie and is certainly worth seeing on the big screen. There are points in the movie where I felt a small bit bored, as it was a bit like Groundhog Day. However, it is obvious that these scenes are required to convey the monotony of life on your own in such a confined space. I saw this in 2D but I feel you might get more from this in 3D. There are stunning sweepinh scenes of nebluae, space walks and transit through space. There are a few small-plot twists in this which add to the drama. The conclusion of the film was very well done and I feel the ending was well written. There are often films which have poor endings but this is not one of them.

Passengers – Official Trailer

Passengers – Overall Review Score

  • Overall Score 87%
Best Western Boltons Hotel, Earls Court – Hotel Review

Best Western Boltons Hotel, Earls Court – Hotel Review

I was attending an internet expo called TFM&A at Earls Court Exhibition centre and needed a hotel nearby. I was looking for a hotel which was going to be comfortable and at a reasonable rate. I found the Best Western Boltons Hotel on a few sites and it had many good hotel reviews online and was under €90 which was a good price for the location.

The Best Western Boltons Hotel is located in a nice location in the heart of the Earls Court area. The hotel is located under 3 minutes from the tube station and 5 minutes from the Earls Court Exhibition Centre. Check-in was available from 2pm and was dealt with very efficiently and I was allocated a Lower Ground floor room.

Best Western Boltons Earls Court photo 1

The room itself was a single room, warm with good air conditioning (which made a little noise at times when it started up but not so much that it was disturbing). A TV, iPod docking station, water and tea/coffee making facilities were also available in room – probably the best fitted single room I have seen. Often single rooms are small and very obviously single rooms. This was really nice.

The single room was quite decent in size and also had a very nice bathroom with nice products and good shower.

Best Western Boltons Earls Court bathroom photo

The only negative was that I was staying in Room 7 on the lower ground floor and there was a little noise from an access door which was used by staff (I presume) to access the rear of the hotel. This door was used quite a bit and took a small bit of getting used to.

It is a very nice hotel with very clean rooms with friendly helpful staff and I would certainly return to the Best Western Boltons Hotel again.

As you know from my hotel reviews, I am never compensated for a review. These hotel reviews are all my own opinion and if you are looking for a nice simply hotel in London, this is a great option.

Best Western Boltons Hotel Location:
19-21 Penywern Rd, London SW5 9TT, United Kingdom

Best Western Boltons Hotel, Earls Court

Holiday Inn Express Newport, Wales – Hotel Review

Holiday Inn Express Newport, Wales – Hotel Review

This was only my second time booking a Holiday Inn Express in the UK this time it was the Holiday Inn Express Newport in South Wales. I had used Holiday inn in the US and once in London but just thought of this booking as a stopping off point en-route to Bristol & Somerset – it turned out to be a great one.

The room rate was a very competitive £47.50 per night so initially I wasn’t expecting too much from the room. On arrival we were informed by a very pleasant reception agent of a complimentary breakfast which I thought was excellent value. Further more we were advised of a large group which could impact service during breakfast – this I thought was very good and considerate;  it was advised that after 9am would be a good time for breakfast. (i.e. after the group left). Finally before we left checkin we got a free WiFi voucher which was yet another nice touch, as some hotels charge for WiFi.

Room Photo - Holiday Inn Express Newport - Hotel Review

Comfortable rooms at Holiday Inn Express Newport, Wales

The room was a nice bright room with good AC, tea coffee making facilities & TV. The bathroom was a decent size with an excellent shower.

Nice Bathrooms at Holiday Inn Express Newport Wales - Hotel Review

Nice Bathrooms at Holiday Inn Express Newport Wales – Hotel Review

The breakfast was a very nice buffet but it did get a bit busy with the cutlery and plates hard to get at times as the queues for toast were blocking access to these areas – only a small issue which could be resolved by repositioning cutlery and plates to a better area. But that being said I would return here any time and would have no hesitation staying at the Holiday Inn Express chain in the future especially if the standard found in Newport was anything to go by.

One very comfortable stay and great value! It was so good I just had to post a brief hotel review to spread the word.


Hotel Location : Holiday Inn Express Newport, Lakeside Drive, Coedkernew, Newport NP10 8BB, Wales

Holiday Inn Express Newport, Lakeside Drive, Coedkernew, Newport NP10 8BB, Wales

Holiday Inn Express Newport, Lakeside Drive, Coedkernew, Newport NP10 8BB, Wales

Ghostbusters 2016 – Review

Ghostbusters 2016 – Review

When I first heard the Ghostbusters was to be remade with an all female cast I was dubious. I also thought it would be a flop as I didn’t like the idea of a remake. This for me was a franchise which I grew up with and I didn’t want a remake just for the sake of it. … Having seen it – I was wrong. It is excellent!

The film is rated 12A and from the start it’s obvious that the ghosts are a bit more malevolent than the 1980s Ghostbusters films. It has a real retro feel and the song remains unchanged which I was delighted with.

The all female cast works well and there are some really funny scenes, especially with their hired secretary, Kevin. The secretary has all the phone skills of Fr. Dougal Maguire.

If you watch closely from the start, there are cameos from all the 1980s Ghostbusters cast members, including Egon, who stars via a bronze bust in the University. Slimer is also back… with a friend.

If you have the opportunity to see it in 3D then do. The 3D effects are excellent with the spectres 3D rendered outside the 2 black lines on top and bottom of the film reel so it looks like they are outside the film. (If you get my meaning)! My only problem with the film is that it is as if New York never had the 1980 Ghostbusters team – I went presuming that it was a follow on but it is a total remake/reinvention of the franchise.

There is also no explanation for a hair colour change on 2 cast members near the end of the film?

Overall a wonderful way to spend an evening and I really enjoyed this new reboot of Ghostbusters.
Remember to stay during the credits and also stay until they are over. There is a bit of a reveal in the post credits scene.

Ghostbusters Official Trailer