Friday, 21 September 2018

Shake Dog's best burger in Wexford town.

By far the best burger and shake in town.



Shake Dog in Cornmarket, Wexford, just opposite the Art's Centre is Wexford's American style diner, and a couple of months ago acquired a new manager.

New management has brought consistency and freshness to all the food served and without a doubt they serve the best burger and shake in town. You can get a mean meal for €12 which consists of any burger/Dog, any side and a drink. This time around I went for a Smoke House Burger, side of BBQ wings and a vanilla shake.  For those wary about extra carbs you can get any of the burgers without the bun if you want (WTF - just eat the whole burger fat-ass!).


So, it's all about the burger. I used to feel a little silly going to a restaurant and ordering a burger but in the last few years burger creations have got fantastic. If you have ever been to Bobo's in Dublin you will know what I am talking about. Every burger gets compared to theirs (my fave is the small one on Wexford street.)


Returning to the Smoke House, when building a burger it's all about the combinations of flavour and texture. Every burger doesn't need to be smothered in ketchup, tasteless iceburg lettuce and cheap yucky cheese. Shake Dog gets the combination just right. A lovely fresh toasted bun, and from the bottom up - nice zingy relish, an amazing juicy burger, smoked cheese, slice of bacon, burger sauce and topped off with a fab lightly battered onion ring.   



After this humongous burger, the BBQ wings were tasty and light with a zingy sauce and washin' it down with what seemed like a never-ending vanilla milkshake, all I can say is "stuffed.com" 

There was great music playing & whilst their service is not quite up to the standard of  another huge american franchise the food is equally as good.  The venue is spotless and completely wheelchair accessible. 


I give Shake Dog a 9 out of 10 planets. it loses half a point because Bobo's burgers are the standard that any burger gets judged against and the service could be a little sharper - but that's really nit-picking. All in all, a great experience and I would have no problem recommending my friends to fill their gullet holes at Shake Dog in Wexford.



John the Captain Ryan. 

Friday, 14 September 2018

Handsome Devil. (Movie Review)

Director and Writer John Butler injects his own highly personal take with lashings of Irish humour and a gutsy helping of genuine heart and emotion.



Handsome Devil - Movie Review


Handsome Devil, released in April 2017 centres on an ostracised teenager Ned (Fionn O'Shea) at a rugby-obsessed all boys boarding school in Ireland whose new roommate Conor (Nicholas Galitzine) is the school's new rugby star-player. The two form an unlikely friendship until it is tested by those around them. RTE1 showed the movie during the week, it’s also available on DVD and even Netflix – so you should have no problem getting your hands on it.

Apart from the fact the story is a little clichéd – boys boarding school, indifferent parents, the young gay boy being bullied, the courageous English teacher (channelling Robin Williams in the Dead Poets Society) it is a realistic representation of school life in an all boys secondary school. (That’s from age 12-18 if you’re from another country). 


Hollywood Reporter article about Dead Poets Society

So, yes, it’s a clichéd formulaic story that we’ve seen before but the Director and Writer John Butler  injects his own highly personal take with lashings of Irish humour and a gutsy helping of genuine heart and emotion. It’s well worth a go and even Rotten Tomatoes gives it a rating of 81%. It has won many Irish awards and Hollywood Reporter is also a fan - 


“Winning performances from Fionn O'Shea and Nicholas Galitzine as odd-couple pals, plus nuanced work from a terrific Andrew Scott as a man who practices what he preaches by stepping out from the shadows, make this a feel-good "It Gets Better" tale that should speak to young audiences — LGBT teens in particular.” (Hollywood Reporter)




A special mention goes out to Irish actor Andrew Scott who plays the role of the English teacher Dan Sherry pushing the boys to find their voice and who they are. I love when he stands up for Ned when the class are making disparaging comments, with a visceral wit all he needs to say is “The next person to make a single solitary sound of any sort is in hideous trouble.” Short, sharp and perfect. There is also a lovely moment near the end of the movie, where Dan attends a rugby match and introduces the Principal to his boyfriend. Again, another simple line delivered in a nonplussed way – “Arthur's me fella.” Just like that, those 3 little words and the teacher (who could have been fired for being gay) practices what he preaches. The courage it takes Dan and the manner in which the Principal reacts is a sweet poignant moment but still quintessentially Irish. Saying lots without saying much at all. Ya, go Irish Men for using very few words. Both the writing and directing of those 10 seconds is magic.


Another thing John Butler writes about is how taunts and mannerisms get handed down through generations and lose their point of reference. None of the boys can explain why they make a sort of nasal “Ewww” noise when bullying supposedly gay colleagues. Older viewers will immediately recognise a Kenneth Williams impersonation devised by fathers (or possibly grandfathers) many years earlier. But this is exactly the sort of crap that went on in my secondary school (many moons ago) and maybe still goes on.

Handsome Devil has received critical acclaim, winning the award for Best Irish Feature of 2017 from the Dublin Film Critics' Circle; four nominations at the 2018 Irish Film and Television Academy (IFTA) Awards, including Best Feature Film; and the Best Single Drama Award at the annual Celtic Media Festival in 2018.

For me, this is clearly the Irish version of Love, Simon (Movie Review & Book Review). It might not translate well outside of Ireland because of its wit and writing style but it’s a must see for young LGBT Irish & British people. I’m giving it a 9 out of 10 planet review (it loses a planet because of the clichés.





John The Captain Ryan

Monday, 10 September 2018

Be aware LGBT

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day (10th September) so here are some interesting facts ... 




Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Tess Holliday is amazing. End Of.

Body image activist scores huge with Cosmo magazine.



Firstly, I've said it before and am saying it again. When did we start using the term fat-shaming and body-shaming. Let's call it what it is. BULLYING. Plain and simple. And it's not just "banter" either.

Being a larger than life person myself, I just love the story of Tess and her battle against body-shaming. She is an inspiration to anyone that's not a size zero and she has bad-ass tattoos also. 

I've previously blogged about fat-shaming in the LGBT community it's refreshing to see the issue hasn't gone away, much like neither myself or Miss Holliday couldn't be swept under the rug without leaving a large hump in the middle of the living room floor. The uproar on the internet the last week has been crazy although not surprising with a bevy of keyboard warriors complaining but an equal number of people replying to them to sling their skinny assed stupid ideas back where they belong.

Piers Morgan tops the list of stupid comments tweeting ...


as if skinny people don't use the burdened public health system in Britain. And let's face it, Piers isn't the best looking with that stupid tan anyway. As his twitter quote says "One day you're the cock of the walk". He is just a cock (IMHO).

But here's what matters, when all is said and done, Holliday said she's just pleased to finally be happy in her skin: "I'm at the heaviest I've ever been in my life and it took me being the heaviest to finally love myself". Mental health and well being is the most important thing. We need to start teaching our children to be proud of who they are and how they look. Yes, being physically healthy is important, I wish I was 4 stone lighter - purely to alleviate back pain -  not to stop OTHER people making comments and assumptions about me.

I love the message she is sending that she would have loved to see a plus-size woman in a magazine and how it would have stopped her spending so much of her youth agonising over her size and appearance. Sasha Brown-Worsham agrees and hopes her daughter doesn't waste her formative years. 



And to those prudes out there that don't want to see large people wearing underwear and being (and feeling) sensual they must forget that for every shape, size and colour out there; there is someone that likes and loves that look. And no, that's not being a fetishist, that's living in the real World. Whilst pictures of Tess in underwear do nothing for me (hello! Gay here) I can appreciate that others would like and love her. And anything would be better that the emaciated size zero look of Keira Knightly:



A note of caution though, whilst actors can be self deprecating and poke fun at themselves and their own size (and I'm thinking of you Amy Schumer) sometimes they can be hiding deep-down worries and insecurities. The layers of fat can be literally covering over huge problems. Comedy can't fix what's broken inside and anyway Melissa McCarthy is soooooo much funnier than Amy Schumer. Check out Melissa's latest movie The Happytime Murders to see what I'm talking about.   

Not enough has been written about body-shaming and fat-shaming - correction BULLYING - for men and I hope this changes.  In the meantime that's my tuppence worth. And to all those out there that love the larger person I would applaud you if I could get my chubby short lazy arms around my ever expanding belly.

Thanks.

John The Captain Ryan




Monday, 3 September 2018

The Happytime Murders (movie review)

It's Muppet's Jim, but not as we know it.


Firstly, Yes, it's a creation by the Henson family but it's Henson Alternative for the adult market. This is not a young child friendly movie. You have been warned.

The film stars Melissa McCarthyMaya RudolphJoel McHaleElizabeth Banks, and Bill Barretta as Phil Phillips. The plot follows a world where puppets and humans co-exist, and a joint police force must solve a recent murder spree of retired sitcom stars.



Melissa McCarthy is absolutely fantastic and back to her funny antics. Reminiscent of The Heat where herself and Sandra Bullock share the screen as cops that go about their job a little differently, McCarthy reprised her role as a foul mouthed, tough cop who takes no prisoners. 

This is one of the funniest movies I've seen in ages, unlike the style of comedy we get from Shrek (and previous generations got from the Carry-On movies - Go Sid James!) there is not a second level of comedy aimed at adults. The comedy is out-and-out dirty. There is a shop very early in the movie (and I need to be careful with the words I use on my blog in case I get pinged for having adult content) that the puppets use to buy any of their adult based enter tainment items. (You get what I mean) but what unfolds in this part of the movie is laugh out loud, rib hurting stuff. If you have seen the movie you will know what I'm talking about particularly with the fireman.

Whilst it's dirty, it's still only a 15's cert movie because, I suppose it's only a puppet!. Several of the puppet's are killed and the crime scene's are just hilarious. Seeing stuffing and fur flying all over the place is just surreal.



McCarthy is one of the funniest comedians at the moment and whilst viewers are not giving the movie a good rating I do not agree with them. In this crazy World where all sorts of horrible (9 year old takes own life) and mad things are happening (mass shootings in US for example) to be able to go the cinema and have a genuine laugh out loud experience where not only you but the rest of the viewers are screaming with laughter and escape for 90 minutes is lovely.

From the out-takes at the end (And listen here movie producers, please start showing out-takes more often) you can clearly see how much fun the cast and puppeteers had whilst making the movie. You actually forget during it that the characters are puppets rather than the normal CGI that we have become accustomed to and guess what - in this incarnation the puppets are better because the cast get to interact with the puppets and puppeteers rather than looking at a dot on a green screen, maybe this is harder to do, but once you see the movie you will see what I mean. The use of canned string cheese is simply brilliant and you will not forget it anytime soon. 

When I saw the out-takes it reminded me of a recent HBO documentary I watched about Robin Williams called Come inside My Mind where the crew and cameramen never knew what Willams was going to say or do. So much of what William's did was improvisation (and Williams had a filthy sense of humour also), they even had to bring an extra cameraman on set for Mork and Mindy because they were missing so much of what Williams was doing. 



If you like Melissa McCarthy, if you like a good laugh, if you like the Muppet's and will not be shocked by the dirty (but harmless) comedy give The Happytime Murders a spin. Honestly, you will not regret it. I give the movie a 9 out of 10 planets (drops a planet as it is a little bit predictive) just don't bring your mother to see it with you.


John The Captain Ryan

Friday, 31 August 2018

History is all you left me by Adam Silvera (Book Review)

A beautifully written book, heartfelt, touching and simply amazing.


History is all you left me by Adam Silvera (Book review)


As I was reading this book I was astonished at the number of beautiful passages and phrases. Except for the fact I was reading a library book I would have had my highlighter out to deface the book (and that’s something normally sacrilegious to me, I was raised to respect books, and never even fold the corner of the page down).

What strikes me most about this book is that even though it is aimed at young adults it deals with a mature subject in an amazing way, gone are the times that we tip-toe around a subject and disrespect the readership. It is heartfelt, touching and real. This is something I normally wouldn’t do in a review (and I will be doing a more in depth analysis when I get my hands on my own copy that I can deface), here is one of the striking passages that astounded me. Simple but powerful.

“It’s been a month since the universe lost you. One month since you woke up in the morning. One month since you opened a book. One month since you ate a meal. One month since you keyed a text message. One month since you went for a walk. One month since you held a hand. One month since you kissed your boyfriend. One month since you thought of a future that’s not happening. One month since you dreamed up your own alternative universe.

It’s been one month since you died.
It’s been one month since you lived.”

The short sticatto sentences are brutal and honest. In one paragraph we learn so much about Theo. The last sentence is just perfect. Sums up the whole book really. It’s been one month since you lived.

So ... the plot ...

This is a book that charts the journey of Griffin who has lost his first love Theo. Thankfully Theo hasn’t died by taking his own life as a lot of YA LGBT books are written about (with good reason of course because it is happening – see my recent blog about the death of Jamel Myles). However, Griffin lost Theo a year before his death as he moved to college and found another boyfriend – Jackson. Griffin spends most of the book talking in his mind to Theo; again, the conversations are real and heartfelt, although of course somewhat one-sided.

One thing you need to do is read the chapter heading each time. Alternate chapters jump between the now and Griffin telling us things that happened in the past, i.e. the history that was left. Just reading one of those two words – TODAY or HISTORY – helps your mind to place the events in chronological order. And, I must say, I like it. The author makes it easier for you to place the events in order so you can concentrate more on the story. A simple but important task that sometimes authors forget whilst they weave their tale.

Griffin and Jackson have a fraught relationship with each other and yet they both help each other get through the worst thing that has ever happened to them. The book deals with the loss in a fantastic way as it celebrates the short life that Theo led. We also briefly travel on the journey with Theo’s parents and sister. What could be a harrowing story is lifted by the magical moments that Griffin remembers between Theo & himself.  

Griffin has other problems too, has an OCD with people being on his left so when walking down the street the person has to be to his right and he won’t even sit in the passenger seat of the car as the driver will be to his left. He has an OCD/phobia of odd numbers which coupled with the loss of Theo leads him to breakdown on a few occasions. I think that’s what makes this book so realistic. It’s not canned or stereotypical loss and how one deals with it. To me it’s more realistic because of these unique characteristics. When we all have to deal with loss, different things will make us emotional and close to breaking down. It could be someone wearing the same scent of your loved one, a forgotten memento from a day out found in the bottom of the sock drawer or simply lying in bed alone without them. The author describes perfectly what it's like living with an OCD/phobia that starts ruling your whole life.

Both boys feel responsible for Theo’s death and it’s only when they speak with Theo’s parents that they can reconcile this guilt and blame. Both Griffin and Jackson have difficulty dealing with their emotions and, predictable; end up alienating their best friends who could have helped them through the mess. By the end of the book, these bridges of friendship are being rebuilt, Griffin is building better with Wade (Griffin, Wade & Theo were best friends for years before any relationship blossomed) but I like the fact that these relationships are not rebuilt perfectly. They are a work-in-progress, rather like the whole book. By the end of the book Griffin & Jackson don’t have a happily-ever-after Disney finishing but there is hope.

I have no hesitation giving this book a 10 out of 10 planets. It’s a beautifully written story of grief, rebuilding and hope. A must read.





John The Captain Ryan

Other LGBT books I have reviewed are

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde HERE

When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid HERE

Noah Can't Even by Simon James Green HERE

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli HERE 

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan HERE


Willful Machines by Tim Floreen HERE

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Back-to-school time not so joyous for some students (All Parents of school going children - Please Read)


Shocking news came out of the great U S of A earlier this week of a nine year old boy taking his own life after being bullied in school. One student actually told him to kill himself.


9 year old takes his own life after being bullied for being gay.


Jamel Myles had come out to his mom earlier this summer, and started wearing fake fingernails on August 20, the first day of school for his fourth grade year. Thursday, 23rd August at 11:17 p.m. was his time of death. 4 days back at school was all it took. 



   ...   4 DAYS   ...


(It's taken me longer to put this blog together)

Read more HERE, HERE and HERE.


As a parent of a school going child, are you aware that the school, under current guidelines from the Department of Education (Ireland) are supposed to have an Anti-Bullying policy? The full 45 page policy document from the department can be found HERE.Of course it is 5 years old at this stage so if school followed the guidelines back in 2013, they need to update their policy.

But, if you don’t have time to read it, here’s a summary:

1. All Boards of Management must formally adopt and implement an anti-bullying policy that fully complies with the requirements of these procedures. A copy of the policy must be available to parents, pupils, all staff and the Parents Council (if one exists).

2. The Department were very kind to provide a template document to schools, unfortunately a lot of schools have copy-and-pasted the template document and inserted their school header. Very little thought, in some cases, as been put in by the schools.

3. The policy should outline the actions to be taken in the instance of bullying, the procedures the school should take and a step-by-step recording and evaluation of ALL instances of bullying that have occurred.

4. All instances of bullying should be reported to the Board of Management and the BOM must undertake an annual review of all reported instances. This review must also be made available to parents. The school must put in place an action plan to address any areas for improvement identified by the review.

5. Descriptions of best practice, types of bullying and actions to be taken are all explained. Initiatives, programmes, awareness and prevention SHOULD also be a major part of the policy.

6. ALL instances of bullying of a serious nature and/or are ongoing SHOULD be referred to the HSE Children and Family Services and/or Gardaí as appropriate

7. The effectiveness of the school’s anti-bullying policy should be subject to continuous review in the light of incidents of bullying behaviour encountered.

Homophobic and transphobic bullying are specifically mentioned in the policy as areas that need attention. This is because of the following statistics:

70% of LGBT students do not feel safe in school

Half of all LGBT students reported that they had been bullied in the last three months. - One third reported frequent (weekly/daily) verbal abuse, with a slightly higher number (34.3%) stating that they experience frequent verbal abuse about their sexuality.

1 in 4 missed or skipped school to avoid negative treatment due to being LGBT+.

1 in 4 reported indirect verbal bullying through spreading of rumours and lies

1 in 3 young LGBT+ people aged 14 – 18 have attempted to take their own lives because of bullying, rejection and pressures to hide who they really are. 

1 in 10 young LGBT leave education early.

Sources HERE , HERE and HERE

Now, here’s how you as a parent can help.

Contact your school and ask for the following:

a. A copy of the Anti-Bullying Policy
b. A copy of the latest review by the Board of Managament
c. A copy of the action plan the school has to address the findings of the BOM.

AND FINALLY...

d. To highlight the concerns for LGBT pupils please ask the school to take part in the Stand Up against LGBTI+ bullying event that Belong to run every November.

(Belong to is a fantastic organisation that supports young LGBT people in Ireland. Find out more about them here: http://belongto.org/ )

Please pass this on to other parents you know. Between all of you, you can make your child's school a safer place. Please let me know if you get a satisfactory answer from the school.

Thanks

John The Captain Ryan.





Tuesday, 28 August 2018

A letter to the parish priest (who also happens to be my Godfather)

“Ignoring a son or daughter who has homosexual tendencies is an error of fatherhood or motherhood ... the child should be brought to a psychiatrist.”





Dear Father,


It is with heavy heart and trepidation that I write to you today.  Less than a week after the Pope has visited Ireland.


Nobody writes letters anymore so I though the best way to say what I need to say in a constructive manner and in a medium that you can perhaps ruminate on and digest is actually in that very same medium.



I haven’t seen you since before I got married. I was sad when neither you, your brothers, their wives or children attended my wedding, a celebration of love and family. I can only speak for myself but I can say that I was and am still hurt by the fact that not one person who shares your surname attended my wedding.





For the first 30 years of my life, being a good, honest and devout catholic was a huge part of my life. As I became the person I am today, for my own peace of mind and mental health I had to say goodbye to a huge part of my identity. Losing one’s faith is not an easy thing. I used to love singing in the church choir and did so for over 7 years in Bride Street church. The love and support the church CHOOSES to give to those members of the community that prescribe to its teachings is beautiful and fulfilling. A common argument thrown at me is that being gay is a choice. If you are one of the people that believes this, then I would ask you to slightly change your viewpoint to “God has chosen for this person to be gay”. I need to tell you now, and if you take nothing else from this letter, please believe me when I say this:

The manner in which the Catholic church has turned its back on LGBT people is cruel and hurtful. There is a huge hole in one’s heart without faith.

You are a person of very strong faith, you are very intelligent and well educated. The Catholic church continues to this day to CHOOSE to judge Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people. You are of a generation that you may not understand some of this. Guess what. That’s ok. I won’t even bring more modern labels into the mix like cis-gender, non-binary or gender fluid. But I would ask that you do not judge us. The last time I checked, God is the only one to judge us.

How would you feel if you woke up in the morning and your faith was wrenched from your mind and heart. How would you feel if everything you believed in all your life was gone. But not by your own choice. By the judgement and choice of others in the Catholic church.

*******
I need you to re-read that previous paragraph.
                      
*******
How do you feel being part of a church that has not only made dreadful mistakes in the past but continues to be cruel and hurtful to LGBT people today. Only last Sunday (26th August 2018) your Pope and God’s representative on earth said that:

“Ignoring a son or daughter who has homosexual tendencies is an error of fatherhood or motherhood ... the child should be brought to a psychiatrist.”


To continue against all modern science and to still believe that being LGBT is an illness that needs curing is simply wrong. To suggest to a child or their parent that their child is intrinsically disordered and evil is wrong. The only thing evil and wrong is the Catholic church continuing in this vein of thought and teaching. I only hope you don’t believe in the concept of “pray the Gay away” and so called “conversion therapy” which will soon be outlawed in Ireland.

There are many reasons why people are leaving the church in their droves just like Moses led the Isrealites except no sea has had to be parted. It will take the church a long time to recover from the mistakes of the past but it needs to start fixing this wrong and welcome LGBT people and their families to the faith without judgement and condemnation. Ireland has changed over the last 3 years. The Irish Catholic church has two choices. It can decide to open its heart and love to the whole community or it can continue down its current path. If it takes the latter, your followers will be more devout and faithful but will harbour hatred and judgement in their hearts. Eventually the Red Sea will close back in and swallow those left and the Catholic church will be no more.

In my sinful opinion, every priest, including yourself needs to look towards your community. And yes, it is YOUR community. Don’t take that lightly. You can lead your community. You can be responsible to teach love and understanding to all members of your community. You can ensure that no child in YOUR school is ever bullied for being Gay (did you know that 70% of LGBT children say that schools are not a safe place for them).

I hope that you take this opportunity to reflect on the current situation and if you like, I would love the opportunity to discuss it further.

John Cunningham-Ryan
Your Godson.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Ant-Man and the Wasp (movie review)

Tiny in size but huge in laughs.



There are no spoilers in this review.

Wow, first things first, this is one of the funniest super-hero movies I've seen in ages. After the heavier themed, but the awesomeness of other Marvel creations including Avengers Infinity War, Deadpool 2 and even going back to Logan; Ant-Man and the Wasp is a perfect counter balance. It fits seamlessly into the timeline, but, unlike other offerings from the Marvel universe you won't need to have seen any of it's predecessors. 

So, the plot. In 1987, Janet van Dyne / Wasp shrinks between the molecules of a Soviet nuclear missile, disabling it but becoming trapped in the sub-atomic quantum realm. Hank Pym / Ant-Man raises their daughter Hope believing that Janet is dead. We then join Scott Lang/Ant-Man who is due to finish his sentence of house arrest after gallivanting to Germany and breaking loads of international laws in Avengers Civil War. 



Hank is brilliantly played by Michael Douglas & with the edition of Michelle Pfeifer as Janet both actors bring a level of sophistication and kudos to the movie. The interactions between Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and Hope (Evangeline Lilly) are hilarious and (no surprise) they attempt to rekindle a relationship. 

When Scott dreams about Janet; Hank & Hope kidnap him and enlist his help in an audacious plan to try and rescue Janet from the quantum realm. This is somewhat complicated by a black market dealer Sonny Burch, that has been selling Pym and Hope the specialist equipment they need for their research. He ends up double crossing Pym and Hope and then the fighting starts, we are also introduced to a quantumly unstable masked woman who also wants the newest research for herself. She is the result of an accident at her father’s lab. Lang tries to help fight off this "ghost", but she escapes with Pym's portable lab.


Sonny Burch is played by the affable Walton Goggins, fans of US police drama's will recognise him from playing the role of Detective Shane Vendrell in the Shield (far left below). Yes, the same series that catapulted Michael Chiklis on to our TV screens and who would later play the role of The Thing/Ben Grimm in Fantastic Four.



  
What ensues is a mad caper with three different parties fighting for and capturing Pym's lab (which can of course be miniaturised and rolled around like a suitcase) whilst he himself travels through the quantum realm to find Janet. The fight scenes are awesome, the special effects are brilliant but more than anything the story, dialog and interactions between the characters are really funny. 



I don't like going on about special effects as these days, our expectations are so high, but once again Marvel does the biz and the effects are seamless.  The fight sequences are so well written and imagined,with items, vehicles, buildings and people popping from one size to another in a flash to bring an action packed feast to the big screen. We were of course reclining in fab leather chairs at the Arc Cinema in Wexford which, as always, rounded off the movie going experience.  

I've no hesitation in giving Ant-Man and Wasp a rating of 10 out of 10 planets. 


Special Effects = Sublime. 

Writing/Screenplay = Brilliant. 
Casting and Actors = Fantastic and Funny.




John The Captain Ryan

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Mamma Mia 2, Here We Go Again (movie review)

The feel-good event of the year.


(picture source - HERE)

We got to see Mamma Mia 2, Here We Go Again on opening night last week in the Omniplex Cinema in Wexford and it was awesome. The MAXX experience is fantastic and the sound quality is like nothing I've heard before with the Dolby Atmos system recently installed.  I'm normally the first person to say when something is just a gimmick to encourage us to spend an extra euro or two but in the case of MAXX it is truly justified. When I was choosing where to go to view the movie I specifically chose the MAXX experience. (I am not sponsored in any way by the Omniplex btw)

Let's get this out here straight away. Fans of the original Mamma Mia will not be disappointed with the sequel. There. I've said it. It's crazy to think we've waited ten years for the sequel but the wait was worth it. Many of us have probably seen a live show or two, went to the cinema a few times and have a well worn DVD at home so you will thoroughly enjoy the sequel. 





So, the basic plot. Through a series of flashbacks we learn the story of Donna (Meryl Streep), how she came to the Greek island of Kalokairi and how she met Bill (Stellan Skarsgård),  Harry (Colin Firth)  and my favourite of the guys, even though he cannot sign at all is Sam (played by Irish man Pierce Brosnan )

At the age of 65, Pierce still does it for me anyway, seen on the very right of course...




(source - HERE)

The three younger actors chosen to play the roles of Bill (Josh Dylan) , Harry (Hugh Skinner) and Sam (Jeremy Irvine) were also very good but the stand out "young" character was without a doubt Lily James playing the young Donna.

However, most people's fave stars (but not mine) are: 




Amanda Seyfried as Sophie Sheridan, Donna’s 25-year-old daughter, Sam’s stepdaughter/possible daughter, Sky’s wife, Ruby’s granddaughter and possible daughter of Bill and Harry.

And last but not least Cher playing the role of Ruby Sheridan (Sophie's Grandmother).

The soundtrack, is of course brilliant, although fair-weather fans of ABBA won't recognise lot of the tracks, the original Mamma Mia reprised all of ABBA Gold, whereas this outing introduces a more varied back catalogue. This will of course only catapult some unknown songs back into the public domain and news that Cher will release an ABBA covers album was well received. (more HERE).

Overall, what can you say about this movie except you will leave the cinema with a huge smile on your face. My favourite two characters are those of Rosie and Tanya. If Julie Walters & Christine Baranski fail to bring a smile to your face well then you must either be dead or have had as much surgery on your face as Cher. 

(Oh no, I've said it. Yes I love Cher, but no way does she look like that at 72 years of age without some help.)



The present day plot deals with Sophie's story, rebuilding the hotel, meeting all the old gang and dealing with her pregnancy. As for a rating, all the die hard fans would give it a ten out of ten, me I'll give it 9 out of 10 stars. It falls down on plot, but the smile on your face makes up for that. Get out and see it as soon as you can.





John The Captain Ryan

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