X-Men: Days Of Future Past (2014) – A Review

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x-men-days-future-past-postersSynopsis: Wolverine is sent back in time to convince the younger Professor Xavier to help him stop Mystique and the dangerous path that she has put herself on in her quest for justice after many mutants have been killed in the war effort in Vietnam.

Main Cast: Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, James McAvoy, Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Peter Dinklage

The Hype: Since the series was rebooted, there has been much more buzz about the movies and this sequel was no exception. The first film was a huge success and I had high hopes for this movie from the very first trailer.

What I Thought: Great. It was as good as I thought it was going to be. The story is indulging and keeps a good high pace throughout. The special effects are also pretty decent and in particular a scene featuring the character Quicksilver. Apparently when this character’s look was released the comic fanboys went nuts. Personally, I am not quite that nerdy so it didn’t matter to me one way or the other and I really enjoyed his scenes in the movie. There is plenty of action throughout the film and the time travel aspect of the story means that you can pretty much wipe out the two sequels to the original movie from 2000, which of course is a very good thing, because they were crap.

Conclusions: Good story, great effects and the cast is yet again a collection of some of Hollywood’s finest. Definitely worth a watch and if you liked the first reboot, then you will enjoy this also as a natural progression in the saga. It will be interesting to see where they take it next.

Smurfin’ The Web Rating: 4stars

Trailer:

Because I’m Batman!….Again (Sigh)

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So this week brought us the first image featuring Ben Affleck as Batman and also the added attraction of the new Batmobile (albeit only the cockpit).

Oh my word! The amount of creaming about this photo that is going on over the internet is incredible. Personally, I don’t know what the whole hoo-ha is about. I actually think that the Batman vs Superman film is going to be a terrible film and yet another needless superhero movie.

I am almost done with the whole superhero thing, after so many disappointments recently. The world orgasmed over The Avengers – I hated it. That same fanboy world gushed over Iron Man 3 – I hated it. Yet again we see another reboot (WHY!) of the Batman franchise when the last reboot has only just finished and I can’t help thinking that it will be hugely successful, but I will indeed hate it.

Now please bear in mind that this is not any reflection on Ben Affleck, I was actually in his corner when it was announced that he would be playing the part of Batman when that same fanboy world that is now banging on about how cool he looks all cried NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

We shall see, and I will probably get around to watching it at some point when it is released, but I won’t be rushing out to the cinema and queuing for hours just to get a ticket before anyone else. I am more looking forward to the new TV show Gotham which is out this autumn which traces the origins of some of DC Comics most well know characters growing up in a city that has danger lurking around every dark corner.

Eurovision 2014 Final – Review & Conclusions

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It’s over, and this year it was yet another anti-climax when it came to the voting. Here are my reasons why.

This year was a very even final set of participants with no clear bad or good split in each half. The eventual winner Austria put in a superb performance, but so did many other countries on the night. I am sorry, but without that ridiculous beard, Conchita Wurst would NOT have won this contest. the gimmick appears to have paid off and I am very annoyed to be honest.

The booing of Russia was completely inevitable and fully deserved of course. The Netherlands? where did that come from, it was one of the songs that I hated the most and to finish in the top 3 was a real surprise. My favourite song Romania was nowhere to be seen and I was sad to see the UK finish so low and I think she deserved much better than the 17th place.

I almost got the top 3 correct with Austria and Sweden both finishing in the main positions. Armenia who I predicted would do well finished just outside in 4th place so I didn’t do too badly.

I still feel that the winning act was a novelty and for me it vilifies all the sceptics of Eurovision that just take the piss out of the competition. Just for once it should be a song and act that actually deserve to win it without the use of a gimmick. In my opinion Austria deserved to do well, but it wasn’t a winner for me and I shall just have to jar my disappointment once again and wait for next year’s batch of songs.

Until 2015, thank you all for reading my blogs and hope that we will meet again next year.

Eurovision 2014 Final – Preview & Predictions

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Its Grand Final Day! The time has come for these 26 countries to polish off their acts and make sure they are all ready for tonight’s final in Copenhagen. This year I actually think the contest is pretty wide open although there have been less songs that I have really liked this year which is different from most years.

I would say that the whole show is pretty even in terms of the draw. there isn’t a better half of the running order and I think that this makes it interesting in a number of ways. Traditionally in recent years, the winner has come from the second half of the set and around the 17th/18th position. This year, the favourites are split right across the draw. Austria go 11th, Sweden go 13th and Armenia and Romania are very early.

The UK, who are now 5th favourite at 9/1 are finishing off the show tonight going last and I think this is very favourable for us. This is a very pleasant change from recent years and I think that we will be quite high up on the left hand side of the scoreboard. I still don’t think its a winning song though, there are better.

I’ll give you a couple of top 3 possibilities that I think may happen by the end of Saturday.

  • Sweden
  • Austria
  • UK

Or perhaps we may see this final 3…

  • Armenia
  • Sweden
  • Austria

So a couple of possibilities there which are interesting, but I definitely think that Sweden will be there or thereabouts. The top songs are very equally matched in their own way. I don’t rate The Netherlands as a top 5 song, its sudden popularity may reach the top 10, but no further. I have been known to be very wrong before though, lol.

Anyway, I hope you all enjoy the final tonight, I know I will and I will be back on Sunday to report my review and thoughts on the proceedings of Eurovision 2014. Thanks for reading and good luck to your own countries if they have made it through to the final. I will be cheering the UK and Romania. =)

Eurovision 2014 Semi Final 2 – Review & Thoughts

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The second semi final last night went without a hitch and there were a couple of surprises on the night. With one less song to perform than there had been on Tuesday, there was a little time-wasting to be done at half-time and while the votes were readied, but eventually we got our 10 qualifiers who will join the rest on Saturday in the Grand Final of this year’s Eurovision. The qualifiers:

  • Malta
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Austria
  • Finland
  • Belarus
  • Switzerland
  • Greece
  • Slovenia
  • Romania

The surprises for me were the qualification of Slovenia who I really didn’t think had a strong enough song and Poland who’s inane whittering song just annoyed the hell out of me. I suspect they only made it through thanks to the two girls oozing their breasts all over the stage. Hey-ho.

Austria made it through. The bearded lady put in a hell of a performance and is now one of the favourites at the bookies to win the contest, just behind Sweden and The Netherlands!? Sweden I understand, but The Netherlands? Jeez – wrist slashing or what? Anyway, there weren’t any really poor performances from the acts, but Romania were my favourite and remain my favourite song of the contest this year, what a voice Paula Seling has. They should have stuck with the holographic trickery they used in their own qualifiers though, it was much more effective.

One thing I have liked have been the flag videos that the artists have been doing before each performance to show where they are from, some of them have been very nicely done and it a little different from just seeing the sights around the host country every year. All in all I have enjoyed the semi finals and look forward to the Final on Saturday. I hope you will stop by and read my preview of the final and my thoughts and review when we have a winner. See you all soon ;-) I will leave you with Romania’sMiracle” from Thursday night.

Semi Final 2 Preview & Predictions

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And so after the excitement of Tuesday’s first semi final, we move onto Thursday’s second semi final which in my opinion is a better selection of songs. This may be a little harder to choose a good 10.

NorwayCarl Espen – “Silent Storm” this slow ballad is yet another song from a sole male performer. There appears to be a lot of those this year and this is one of the better options.  Simple and to the point I think is the message here.

IrelandCan-Linn – “Heartbeat” Traditional pop from the Emerald Isle here that should make it through with little effort. Not a bad song and catchy enough without being a taxing job for her to sing.

FinlandSoftengine – “Something BetterThe Killers hit Eurovision! Up tempo and one of the rare rock tracks this year. t might sneak into the top 10 on Thursday. I like this one and want it to go through more than I think it will.

MacedoniaTijana – “To The Sky” I really like this one and is one of my favourites this year. This should be in the top 3 in this semi final and will add some dance to Saturday’s final and the visuals will be excellent on the Danish stage. An easy qualifier here.

SwitzerlandSebalter – “Hunter Of Stars” This catchy tune should be good enough to make it through. The initially annoying whistling grows on you and I reckon this will be one of those acts that makes up the numbers on Saturday. Not a terrible song though.

GreeceFreaky Fortune – “Rise Up” This dance number will see Greece through yet again this year and this upbeat song should qualify pretty early I think. Catchy and it didn’t make me switch off. Not sure about the rap part though, but the rest is ok.

BelarusTeo – “Cheesecake” This jazzy song I think is pretty good and it also gives us a bit of variety in the final and I think it deserves to make it through. Its more akin to something that Germany might enter but I like it and we shall see it on Saturday I think.

IsraelMei Finegold – “Same Heart” A very well sung song here and another rock style to give us a good mix on the night. Mostly in English which is in her favour. I like the song and can see me listening to it after the contest is over. It should make it through ok.

MaltaFirelightComing Home” This Cajun/country song is yet another song from Malta that takes the contest extremely seriously. I think its good enough to deserve a place in the final, but I do not think it will do anything on the night itself. Also, I’m running out of really good options…lol

RomaniaPaula Seling & Ovi – “Miracle” They have pedigree in Eurovision, a cracking song and good visuals. This will either win or be runner-up in this semi final. I’d love this to finish in the top 4 on Saturday night and I think it just might do it.  A performance from Paula during that hard section near the end and it has to be looking at some really great scores.

And that concludes my predictions for the second semi final. I think this is the better of the two nights and should set up a decent final on Saturday night. Still, I can’t help feeling that this year is a bit of a let down overall though. Nevermind, I’ll still enjoy it well enough =)

Eurovision 2014 Semi Final 1 – Review & Thoughts

ESC2014_TV_GraphicsLast night was the first semi final. the excitement in the house was electrifying. Well okay, maybe not that much but it has been something we have looked forward to for a year. This semi final was probably the weaker of the two with only a handful of stand out songs. Lets see who has qualified…

  • Armenia
  • Ukraine
  • Russia
  • Iceland
  • Sweden
  • Hungary
  • Azerbaijan
  • The Netherlands
  • San Marino
  • Montenegro

A very good mix of songs and surprisingly no trouble regarding the Russian/Ukrainian situation, proving that music Eurovision has nothing to do with politics…

I was immensely pleased to see Valentina Monetta from San Marino make it through to the final. She has now tried for 3 years and has finally made it although her song isn’t as good as last year’s one. I don’t thin she will win the competition, but I think now she can pack it in and give someone else a chance to compete. =)

Iceland and Pollaponk made it through and I think they deserved it with a great performance with lots of energy and to be fair, a very good song. The stand out performance of the night belonged to Sweden though. The song became extremely popular last night after she sang the s**t out of it and they thoroughly deserve their now favourite position at the bookmakers. I’ll leave you with Sanna Nielsen’s performance of “Undo” from last night and look forward to the second semi final on Thursday night.

Check back on Thursday morning for my Predictions and Preview post for the second semi final. Thanks for reading.

Semi Final 1 Preview & Predictions

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Its Eurovision week everyone! The time has finally arrived for me to give my run-down of the 10 countries that I think will qualify from Tuesday’s first semi final into Saturday’s Grand Final. As I have said whilst introducing the songs to you all on this blog, I feel that the crop of songs this year is the poorest for some number of years and it has been very difficult to pick 10 clear favourites so I have had to rely on chatter, odds, social media and my own opinion in order to pick. Heres goes… I am not usually too far out, let’s see shall we?

SwedenSanna Nielsen – “Undo” Very quickly becoming the fans favourite this year and it stands a huge chance of picking up the winner’s trophy. A very good song, but is spoiled for me with the silly u-uw-u-wndo..bit in the chorus.

ArmeniaAram MP3 – “Not Alone” The favourite at the bookmakers. I’m not sure why, but there is definitely appeal from this song. It will do very well, but I still don;t think it’s a winner. Top 5? More likely.

AzerbaijanDilara Kazimova – “Start A Fire” A stunning voice and a very good ballad. Perhaps a little too boring to win though. I’m not a huge fan of this but I think it will make it through.

BelgiumAxel Hirsoux – “Mother” This guy has an amazing voice and performs this song very well. Can Belgium qualify this year? I think this will sneak in right at the end, but won’t do great shakes in the final itself.

HungaryKallay Saunders – “Running” A very good song that I do like, but I just feel the whole message of the song is too much for Eurovision. It would be a worthy qualifier though and should get some decent votes in the final.

UkraineMaria Yaremchuk – “Tick-Tock” This will make it through. I have picked this over Russia because I think there will be a massive boycott of their song. I don’t like this, but one of them always qualifies. Not a winner though.

EstoniaTanja – “Amazing” This is a throwback to Loreen and with its big dance routine, it should make it through to Saturday I think. The song isn’t one of my favourites, but this poor semi final throws up little competition.

LatviaAarzemnieki – “Cake To Bake” As much as it pains me to say it, I just think that this will make it through. I still have no idea what the song is about but in the interests of a bit of variety, I’ll put this in my predictions.

IcelandPollaponk – “No Prejudice“. Let’s all get on with each other. I don’t think this will do anything at all, but I want it to and so I put it in my list. A simple message and funky beat that is pleasant on the ears.

San MarinoValentina Monetta – “Maybe” Third time lucky for this young lady. I really want her to qualify, she’s now tried for three years just to get to the final and deserved it last year but was overlooked. Perhaps a bit old-fashioned this one, but good enough.

So there are my 10 predictions to make it through to the final on Saturday. Lets just see how many I get right or whether I am just dead wrong. Either way, it should be fun and I love bringing you all my thoughts and previews. Happy Eurovision everyone!

A-Z Blogging Through April – Complete!

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A-to-Z_Reflection_[2014]

Hey look at that everyone? I did it! 3rd year running. I have survived the A-Z Challenge yet again. This year was a year that despite being very busy with my home life and new baby, I was able to post about some of my favourite movies of all time and I hope that you enjoyed reading my posts.

Unlike my previous two attempts at the A-Z, I was ready to go before the 1st and had all my posts written, formatted, pictured and scheduled for each day and didn’t have to worry about anything being written at the last-minute in time for the next day. This was very satisfying and I am even going to try having my posts for NEXT year written well before next year (I hope).

The other thing I was quite pleased about was being able to get my wife to do the A-Z for the first time. Kell is a very good blogger and to be able to persuade her to do it was another notch on my bedpost so to speak.  Finally I was honoured to be asked to be a helper for the first time this year. checking blogs to make sure they were in accordance with the rules. I have to admit that I didn’t manage to fulfil that task to the best of my ability, mainly due to time constraints in my life, but if asked again I gladly accept the duty, so thanks =)

I hope that any of you reading this will check out my blog again. I am thinking of having a revamp at some point in the future on the content of the overall blog but for the moment it will feature the usual movie reviews and Eurovision series. Be sure to check out Kell & I’s new blog He Said, She Said where we discuss a topic as and when it presents itself and we either fight furiously or have the same opinion. My sons also have a blog called Dear Mummy & Daddy that will feature some amusing anecdotes and perhaps even a video movie review or two from my 5-year-old Xander.

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Eurovision’s “Big 5″

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So finally, before I present my first semi final preview, I shall showcase the songs from the “Big 5″ – that is the five countries that put the most money into making Eurovision what it is – UK, Germany, Spain, France and Italy who rejoined the contest a couple of years ago after a long hiatus.

germanyFirst up, Germany. This song has all the hallmarks of a Pink song. The singer Elaiza, even has a similar image and voice. “Is It Right?” is one of those songs that has its niche and I would say that for me it is the weakest of the 5 songs here. It kinda plods along without ever really reaching a crescendo of any kind, but some people just like that kind of thing right? Its performed well and as all these songs are automatic qualifiers, we WILL see them in the final. Elaiza for me will be a right hand of the table finisher and probably the lowest of the Big 5 countries.

italyNext on the list is Italy. Since their return, they have really taken then contest seriously and have finished in the top 10 the last 3 years. Their act this year is female soloist Emma and the song “La Mia Citta” is a really catchy number. this has a big chance this year and I reckon this will be second in the big 5 chart by the end of the contest. I have a feeling that Toyah features in her influences somewhere, but the song itself is a real good rock song and gets going pretty quickly. Definitely a foot-tapper and should be a spectacular visual experience on the night on the Danish stage which is very artist friendly. Look out for this one.

spainThird up is Spain. A country that has entered a massive range of music over the years from serious to comedy and has never really excelled at the process. This year they are taking it seriously, but not quite serious enough to actually win it (that would cost them too much). Ruth Lorenzo sings “Dancing In The Rain” is a very good ballad that starts off slow and rises to a dramatic finish. She has a wonderful voice and should sing the hell out of it on the night. I don’t think its a winner but should do reasonably well, perhaps make it into the top 15.

franceOur second last Big 5 song is from France. They, like Spain, have had some curious entries over the years, but unlike Spain this year, they have gone for a slightly different direction. Twin Twin’s song “Moustache” could be considered a comedy song, but personally I find it very catchy and novel. The music is very clearly pop in style and geared towards the club scene, and probably goes down a storm in France. It wouldn’t do so well here in the UK, but I reckon this might cause a few surprises in terms of votes on Saturday. You’d be hard-pressed not to be tapping a finger or two while listening to this one after a few times. Viva La Moustache? Qui.

unitedkingdomLastly I come to our very own entry Molly from the UK performing “Children of the Universe“. I really didn’t like this when it was first aired here, but over the weeks it has really grown on me and this girl can actually sing. For real. Properly! I know, who would have thunk it? The bookmakers here now have the song at 8/1 THIRD favourite to win and firstly I think this will be the best of the Big 5, and I also think it has the right elements to be a top 5 contender in the final. Gone it seems are the days of old has-beens and hoping that their fame from yester-year will bring us success. Molly was carefully selected from the BBC’s Introducing programme on BBC radio which has seen some famous names like Florence & The Machine come through its doors. The track is also gathering a lot of pace across Europe as a serious contender for winning this year and to be honest, there isn’t a massive amount of competition. This just could be our year you know. Lets wait and see. I’m predicting top 5 and CERTAINLY the top 10.

Please return early Tuesday for my Semi Final 1 Preview and Predictions post. I will pick my ten qualifiers to make it through to Saturday’s final. How will I do? Find out soon.

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