Monday, 24 September 2018

My top reviews of the year - Top 12


So, I’ve been blogging for a little more than a year now and have reviewed loads of things. Thanks to the Western Regional Section of the LAI and the Rudai 23course I’ve gotten off to a great start and published over 100 blogs so far. I’ve reviewed loads of books, movies and TV series. It would have been cool if it were a top 10 list, but it turns out I gave 12 reviews a 10 out of 10 planet, so here is a round-up of the best of the best:



I have to start with Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda(Book Review). This is by far one of my fave reads in the last year, an amazing book written by Becky Albertalli telling us of the story of Simon, how he is as normal as most other teenagers with the same problems and – oh ya – he’s gay.

 

Quote: "Your real friends will not have a problem when you come out and if they do, well they weren't true friends in the first place. You can go and find some better ones"

 


This is closely followed by Love Simon, a seminal movie for the LGBT community, the first proper – big budget – big production of a young teens coming out story based on Albertalli's book.

 


Quote: "You get to exhale now, Simon ... You get to be more you than you've been in a very long time”

  



Deadpool 2 (movie review) is the fab sequel from the Marvel Universe; it's possible the odd occasion where the sequel is better than it’s predecessor.




Quote: "the soundtrack, it's just amazing. Songs like Celine Dion's "Ashes", Dolly Parton's "9 to 5," and even "Tomorrow" from Annie accompany some of the movie's most violent scenes, making for a delightfully weird playlist.  Weird yes, perfect also yes "

  



History is all you left me  (Book Review) is an amazing book dealing with love, loss and rebuilding one's soul. The author Adam Silvera is great, check out all the other titles he has.



Quote: "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. It’s a beautifully written story of grief, rebuilding and hope. A must read"



The supernatural horror - The Lodgers (Movie Review) - was amazing and to see something filmed in my home town of Wexford is great. An awesome screenplay by talented writer David Turpin makes this a must see. 






Quote: "When you see the interior parts of The Lodgers, the closest movie I can compare it to is Crimson Peak. Seriously, the visuals and feel of the crumbling building stack up against the multi-million-dollar creation of recent Oscar winner Guillermo Del Toro" 


Noah Can’t Even  (Book Review) is one of the funniest reads I've gotten my mitts on in ages. Another must read by the very talented Simon James Green





Quote: "Skittles and Haribo will solve all problems"

 

 

Ant-Man and the Wasp (movie review) is another great movie from the Marvel universe. A great plus is that it is stand-alone and can be viewed without extensive knowledge of all the Marvel movies over the last few years (of which there has been way way too many)

 

 



Quote: "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"

 

 

As part of the Rudai23 course I was doing, here's a blog on using the App Quik which allows you to make a video/photograph slideshow with a soundtrack 

 



 

Quote: “ It was really intuitive and with no instructions one could use it straight “out of the box”

 

 

 

Logan (movie review)

 

One of my fave ALL time movies, Logan is the story of (Wolverine) and Charles (Professor X), in this time-line they are the only two superheros left in the World.  Patrick Stewart (who might return as Captain Picard) proves yet again that he is one of the best actors to ever grace the screen. We also cannot discount Hugh Jackman - possible the Greatest Showman on Earth, only gets better with age.

 



I also speak about the "Disneyfication" of movies in this review. 

Quote: "Stewart is amazing, portraying the role of an old man losing control over his mind with poignant understanding and realism"

 


 

 

I came across this gem of a book in work and just had to add it to my blog - Declaration of the Rights of Boys & Girls.

 

 

 


Quote: "The illustrations are fun and cheerful, girls having the right to be dirty and boys having the right to wear pink ... the book does a fantastic job of spreading a message of equality without being preachy or insulting to anyone’s faith ... It is quite frankly a book that every child from the age of 3 should have on their shelf"

 

 

 

Last year we saw the remake of IT by Stephen King, hitting our screens with mixed reviews but I loved it.

 

 

 


I talk about remakes and then review IT. The second part is due to be released in September 2019.

Quote: "Final Verdict:  A massive success that will instil a fear of clowns for generations to come"




And finally, my first podcast (but hopefully not last) I reviewed 3 movies together with Black Panther getting the highest marks. All I can say is it's an awesome movie and of course #Representation Matters




That's me all done. Please like and follow me on FACEBOOK to keep up to date with all my blogs.

Thanks for reading and thanks for all the fish.



John The Captain Ryan



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

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