Movie review: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Movie reviews

Hello!

Do I even need to introduce this movie?! ‘It’s RogueRogue One‘. Let’s review it!

IMDb summary: The Rebellion makes a risky move to steal the plans for the Death Star, setting up the epic saga to follow.

Before we start, if you are interested, this is my The Force Awakens review from last year and this is my more personal post regarding Star Wars. Also, I should probably give you a Spoiler warning, although, if you have seen the original trilogy, you know what was/is the end game for the characters of this story.

Even though the hype for Rogue One was much smaller than for The Force Awakens, I was still excited for it. So, let’s get the short version of the judgment out of the way first: Rogue One is not only the best Star Wars prequel but also might be my favorite movie of this year. It also makes me rethink the top spots on my personal Star Wars preference list.

Writing

Rogue One’s script was written by a duo of screenwriters: Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy. Weitz has mostly worked on comedies and YA adaptations, like The Golden Compass and the Twilight franchise. He also wrote last year’s Cinderella. Gilroy wrote the majority of the Bourne films, Armageddon, and the critically acclaimed Michael Clayton. Judging Rogue’s One’s narrative, in relation to the scriptwriters’ previous work, I think that this film had the best writing I have seen from both of them.

The story

I immensely enjoyed the story of the film: the plot was cohesive and clear and yet the narrative was complex.  All of the 3 acts blended seamlessly – the movie never slowed down. It had the perfect mixture of action and quieter character moments. The picture was also suspenseful and exciting, it compelled me both emotionally and intellectually. I loved the lines about how rebellions are built on hope and the one about taking all the chances. I also adored the world building: the screenwriters respected the canon but also expanded it.

The characters

Rogue One begun as a story of Jyn Erso, but it soon blossomed into a more of an ensemble based movie. I believe that all the characters received a chance to shine and that their presence in the film was more than justified. I also appreciated the fact that the rebel characters were not portrayed as pure heroes but as realistic individuals, who have been through a lot and sometimes had to make the tough decisions, which were not always good. The fact that the alliance was presented as divisive also added more intrigue and realism into the story. Lastly, as we all predicted, the main rebel characters of the film all died. They were basically the real Suicide Squad of this year. The characters were really well developed through small and seemingly unimportant interactions in just one movie that their passing was quite emotional. I was invested in their lives and in their story and I’m quite sad that we only got to spent a few hours with them. All of them were unique and interesting in their own way and I don’t actually think that I can name another recent film with such rich (with potential) characters.

Directing

Godzilla’s director  Gareth Edwards helmed Rogue One and did not disappoint. I loved the scope of the film and all the exciting action in space. I also enjoyed the fact that this film visually looked like a Star Wars movie but had its own unique setting and locations – the fight on the beach and in the water was so cool. I also liked the fact that this movie was grittier and more sophisticated than the other recent fantasy films. The grit was appropriate, effective, and well balanced with funny moments (not like in BvS). The way the new characters were realized visually was super cool too: Ben Mendelsohn’s Krennic’s white cape was impeccable, Donnie Yen’s character’s look was amazing and Forest Whitaker’s Gerrera‘s appearance added so much to the character.

The film also had a few familiar faces popping up in cameos and small roles. At first, I thought that the inclusion of Darth Vader was not necessary as he did not have much to do. However, a couple of scenes with him at the end were so amazing that they made me change my mind. Grand Moff Tarkin also appeared with the help of CGI. The effects looked okay but I, since I knew that the original actor who portrayed the character sadly passed away 20 years ago, I instantly noticed the computer imagery. Leia also cameoed in the film and I think that her CGI face looked better, maybe because we only saw it for a couple of seconds. Lastly, the new droid K-2SO was a really nice addition too. He finally seemed like a fully rounded up character, because all the previous droids would mostly have one purpose. C-3PO is mostly in the films to be an annoying comedic relief, while BB-8’s main job is to be cute. R2-D2 is probably the one who is closest to being a full character, but since the audience can’t understand its speech, it is quite hard to connect with him. K-2SO, on the other hand, seemed like a real person with a distinct personality and yet he was still efficient as a droid.

Music

Michael Giacchino scored the film but my favorite aural parts of the film were, of course, the original soundtrack and the empire’s theme. Hearing that music didn’t make me as emotional as it did last year when The Force Awakens came out, though. Last December, I could not believe that I got to see a Star Wars movie in the cinema. This time around I was just enjoying the experience of watching the film, without paying much attention to the brand under which it was made.

Acting

  • Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso was fabulous. I wasn’t entirely sure how she will do in an action film but she blew me away. She was likable and inspiring but still had the level of darkness inside. I loved Jones’s and Luna’s chemistry and all their scenes together as well.
  • Diego Luna as Cassian Andor. Andor was my favorite character of the film, and Luna’s performance – my favorite performance of the whole cast. He was just so compelling and intriguing. Would love to read a book or a comic with his character’s background. I absolutely loved how damaged and tortured he was inside, but how he still managed to make the right choice. Cassian Andor as character reminded me a bit of Poe Dameron too. I wonder if I’m the only one who saw the resemblance. 
  • Ben Mendelsohn as Orson Krennic was superb. Not only his appearance was cool, but his behavior as the nonchalant bad-ass villain was amazing as well. His whiny brat moments also added a lot of vulnerability to the character. 
  • Donnie Yen as Chirrut Îmwe was so amazing. I loved that we got to see the force from a different perspective though his character and I also loved his action scenes. Yen’s back and forth scenes with Wen Jiang’s character  Baze Malbus were fun too.
  • Mads Mikkelsen played Galen Erso and was really good. I liked him in this film way more than in Doctor Strange. I just think that he got to show more of his dramatic acting skills in this film. 
  • Riz Ahmed as Bodhi Rook was also a marvelous addition to the cast. I loved his character’s arc and the transition.
  • Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera was spectacular too. His look and behavior were interesting both visually and from the narrative standpoint.
  • Alan Tudyk as K-2SO. Tudyk did a magnificent job with the motion capture as well as with his voice work: he made K-2SO’s dry sense of humor immensely entertaining. 

In short, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was/is another strong addition to the brand. The story was engaging, the characters unique and original, and the space action – spectacular as usual.

Rate: 4.8/5

Trailer: Rogue One trailer

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Fall Run 2016

Sports

Hello!

Welcome to the last sports update post this summer. Well, it’s technically no longer summer, but, to me, the autumn doesn’t start until I leave for Scotland and that’s only happening on Tuesday.

Anyway, today’s entry is dedicated to another running event I participated in – in my native language, it’s called Azuolyno Begimas which loosely translate to Oak Grove Run (it is held in an Oak Grove park). This is the 4th running competition of this kind and it usually happens twice a year – at the beginning of autumn and at the start of spring.

All of the participants (around a thousand of them) could choose from a variety of distances. The professional runners or more athletic people were able to run 15km, 10km or 5km, while the beginner runners and amateurs could try their hand at a free 3km Fun Run. There were also special distances for pupils, kids, families, and pets with their owners.

This particular run was quite special and interesting because I did something that I’ve never done before – I ran two distances in a single day during the same event. I did the 10 km distance – wasn’t really happy with my time or the state of my legs and feet – and I also accompanied my aunt on her first ever run – we did the 3km together. The second run was much more pleasant – not only shorter and easier but way more enjoyable too – I liked helping my aunt achieve her own personal goal.

The weather for running was quite good – the temperature was around 15 degrees Celsius and it was quite cloudy, so the sun wasn’t shining into one’s eyes or adding any unnecessary heat and warmness. However, by the time I was finishing the 10k, it started to rain which wasn’t that great or comfortable, especially when running with glasses.

All of the runners received their runner’s numbers and commemorative wooden medals. The participant’s package also included a discount card for hummel sneakers, a free entry to a sports center, a month’s subscription to an online exercise platform, an energy drink and a pot of quickly preparable porridge.

Since I’m going back to Aberdeen in a few days, I will miss out on quite a few running events in my native country. In a few weeks, a memorial run organized by a local university will be held, while a week after that there will be a walking/hiking event. The first week of October would have been reserved for a charity run to raise awareness for breast cancer if I was still living in Lithuania. However, I’m excited to get back to the UK and to start a new year at university. I also hope to find some running events in my ‘other’ hometown.

Have a great week!

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Swiss Swimming Marathon 2016

Sports

Hi!

This is just a quick update post for those who actually read my writings about sports events (thank you, BTW)! I started my 8th open water swimming season by participating in the 7th annual Swiss Swimming Marathon.

The marathon was started in 2010 and I haven’t missed a single one of them. Usually, the water in the lake that the athletes swim in is pretty cold but this year it was perfect. Definitely above 23 degrees Celsius. The weather was also amazing: hot (35 degrees Celsius) and sunny.

Swiss marathon’s distance varies year by year (depends on the water temperature). This time, we competed in and completed the full 2,2 km distance. It is not the official length of the open water marathons but it’s enough for the majority if not all that of the participants.

Since I haven’t trained at all, I was happy to just finish the distance and didn’t care much about my result. Nevertheless, I still came in 3rd in my age group (photo of the medal bellow). All the swimmers also received official T-Shirts, so now I have 7 almost identical tops. I wish they would change up the design.

Athletes, who didn’t want to swim the 2k distance, could participate in the triathlon competition (shooting, 2km running, and 200m of swimming). Disabled swimmers could try out their skills in the 300m swim.

Overall, I had a great time swimmer the marathon as well as catching up with one of my friends by the lake. You can find more photos from the event here. If you want to check out my previous posts about this marathon, you can read about my experiences swimming the Swiss Marathon in 2014 and 2015.

Have a great week!

Kaunas Marathon 2015

Sports

Hello!

A few weeks ago, I’ve participated in the last ‘big’ running event – Kaunas Marathon 2015. This was the 3rd annual marathon of my city and I had run in all of them. Blog post about the 2014 marathon here.

The weather was terrible for running. The sun was shining from the early morning and the temperature was around 27 to 30 degrees Celsius (80 to 86 Fahrenheit). There was also some wind and, for the love of God, that wind was warm. I have never run in such a terrible conditions. I really do prefer running in the cold air or even in the rain.

The route chosen for the competition wasn’t great as well. The athletes had to run the majority of the distance in the Old Town of Kaunas where the streets are made from stones. The track also had way too many sharp corners.

I’ve chosen the 5 km distance and surprisingly – still managed to reach the finish line faster than ever before this season. However, I felt really poorly afterwards – my stomach was done with running in a dessert like environment.

Despite the awful weather, uncomfortable route and the overall terrible state of health, I still had a good time. The start and finish of the race was in the main squire of Kaunas. The old buildings and crowds of runners made for weird but simultaneously awesome mash-up.

This was also the biggest Kaunas Marathon ever with around 5000 people participating. There was, of course, marathon and half marathon distances to choose from as well as 5 km and 10 km shorter routes. Families could participate in 1.4 km family run while there was also 0.7 km charity run to raise money for premature babies.

My next sport post is going to be about a swimming marathon, since I am done with running for the summer. Have a great day! Bye.

Official site of the run: Kaunas Marathon

Photos form the event taken by me as well as a picture of the commemorative T-Shirt and the medal I’ve received + my runner’s number:


Productive weekend

Sports

Hello!

I used to think that nothing really happens in my native city of Kaunas but this weekend proved me wrong…very very wrong. Not only were there a wide variety of cultural events (Loreen concert on Friday, Jazz festival throughout the whole weekend), but also a plethora of sport’s competitions and movements! And I participated in almost all of them! The weather was also amazing! Spring has finally come after 6 months of rain and snow! It was like 20 degrees Celsius (68 F) the whole time!

On Saturday morning, I attended the marathon “Azuolyno begimas” (“Oak Grove Run”). This was the first time that this event was organized and almost 1000 athletes participated in it. Some of them chose the half marathon distance, others 10 km or 5 km like me. Organizers also provided the spectators and children with fun games and live music.

We were running in the 2nd largest park of Lithuania. You can find more info about that location here: wiki

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On Saturday afternoon, I went to the 10th annual bicycle parade of Kaunas by accident. I knew that this event would take place during the weekend but I thought that I would have no energy to cycle 20 km after running. But surprise-surprise, I had the needed energy and joined a group of 500 cyclist in a trip around Kaunas. We started our journey in a city center, cycled out of the city and then finished our route in the Old Town of Kaunas, near the Kaunas Castle.

This was my first time riding a bike this year! I also just only registered to be a part of my city’s team in the European Cycling Challenge and I will also cycle in my 3rd bicycle marathon during the month of May.

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The next day, on Sunday, I had another running competition to participate in. It was the 3rd annual Kaunas Half-Marathon. I participated in all of them to date. 1600 athletes were in attendance. A few hundred of them ran 21 km, around 300 – 10 km distance and at least 800 – the 5 km distance which I have chosen as well. Those who are just starting to get into running could participate in 2.5 km Fun Run event – this one also attracted at least a couple hundred people.

Once again we ran in Oak Grove park, however, the track was a bit different. My time on Sunday was better than on Saturday which I was really happy about!

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Bellow you will find a photo of all my commemorative medals and runner’s numbers which I’ve received this weekend!! Have a great week! I’m going to the Avengers premiere on Thursday, so my review should be up on Friday. For now, refresh your memory by reading my latest Marvel movie review here. Bye!

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Lithuania’s Independence Day Run 2015

Sports

Hello my dear readers!

Today, I officially opened my running season of 2015 with a first running competition. The marathon was held in order to celebrate my country’s Restoration of Independence Day. We have 2 independence days in Lithuania: in 1918, on the 16th of February we announced our Independence but during the 2nd World War my country was occupied by the Soviet Union and we only restored our independent state 25 years ago: in 1990, in 11th of March.

The running marathon is held every year in Jonava and it is also dedicated to one of the pioneers of the Reformation movement in Lithuania – Abraomas Kulvietis. There are a few statues of him in Jonava (you can see one of them in the 3rd photo).

Around 550 athletes participated in the run. They could choose from 2 distances: 3.4 km and 15 km and were divided into age groups accordingly. I chose the shorter distance because,lately, I hadn’t been training much.

It took me a decent amount of time to finish the distance: my result isn’t great if you look at the results of others but it is okay for me, especially at the start of the season.

Bellow you will find a couple of photos from the event: the first one shows the start line, the second – a finish line. The third one is statue of A. Kulvietis , which I have already mentioned, and the fourth one is my number and the commemorative medal.

My next marathon will probably be Kaunas Half-Marathon at the end of April. Last year’s post about that run – click here.

Have a nice day/evening/morning!

Movie review: Unbroken

Movie reviews

Hi!
On Monday, I went to the cinema to watch Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken. I have seen several films depicting World War II events from different angles (Schindler’s list, Fury, Inglorious Basterds, Pearl Harbor, Forest of Gods and The Imitation Game) and now Unbroken joins this list.

In short I would describe the film as a mixture of Life of Pi and Fury with a pinch of Forest of Gods and topped of with Edge of Tomorrow.

Unbroken isn’t Angelina’s directorial debut – it’s her 2nd time being behind the camera. The film tells a story of Louis Zamperini – an Olympic athlete who spent the 2nd World War in a prisoner of war camp in Japan after surviving 47 days of a raft in the middle of the ocean. It’s based on a book by Laura Hillenbrand as well as real life events. Sadly, the real Louis Zamperini died in spring of 2014 and didn’t get to see his life on the big screen.

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Acting

Louis Zamperini is portrayed by Jack O’Connell – a British actor who is best known for his work on the TV show Skins. I liked his performance, it was so-so at the beginning of the movie but in the end, when Jack really got into the character, it was just amazing. The emotional dual between him and the Bird truly showed his talent and made me enjoy the scene which was actually horrible and heartbreaking but inspiring at the same time. I would love to see more of his work.

Speaking about the Bird – a Japanese general who tortured Louis both mentally and physically – he was played by a Japanese singer Miyavi. The character seemed a bit cartoon-y to me – almost like a stupid school bully. Nonetheless, I hated the character almost as much as Christoph Waltz’s Hans Landa in the Inglorious Basterds, so Miyavi did a great job as a villain.

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Other cast members included : Domhnall Gleeson, Garrett Hedlund, Finn Wittrock, Jai Courtney, Luke Treadaway, Jordan Patrick Smith and many others. As you can already tell, this is an all male cast type of movie. I don’t have any problems with that because there were no women at war. However, I do have a problem with the fact that I can’t remember anything about the characters that these actors played with the exceptions of Jack O’Connel and Miyavi. They didn’t develop them well enough and didn’t make me care about them or even remember them at all.

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Visuals and Directing

The movie is beautifully shot and I really liked Angelina’s work as a director. The scenes in the water were cool but sometimes cheesy while prisoner of war camp was portrayed realistically.

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Sport

Louis Zamperini was an Olympic runner and for me as an athlete, the part which told us about his athletic career was the most interesting. I also loved the fact that they didn’t diminish the importance of sport in Louis Zamperini’s life. If he hadn’t been an athlete and hadn’t trained as hard as he did, he probably wouldn’t have survived the war. I loved the clip of the real Louis running with the Olympic torch in 1998 Winter Olympics in Japan.

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Religion

Louis Zamperini also was a religious person, who found God when he needed him the most. Religion’s theme was mentioned in the film but didn’t explored deeply enough. The end of the film was really touching and made me tear up. It showed the importance of forgiveness – sometimes it’s better to turn the other cheek than to raise a fist.

Criticisms

Unbroken received mixed reviews from the critics and was shut down from the award’s season. Overall, I liked the film, though, a few scenes were really unbelievable and took me out of the movie. For example, their fight with a shark – you can’t catch a shark with your bare hands. The pacing had a few problems, but I would still recommend to watch this movie if you are a sport’s fan and interested in history.

Rate 4/5

Trailer: Unbroken trailer

Photos: Screenshots form the trailer.

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Swimming marathon: Platelee-2014, Lithuania

Sports

Hello!

Last week. I participated in the 33rd annual swimming marathon PLATELEE-2014 which was held in little town in western part of Lithuania. This swimming marathon is the longest running outdoor swimming event in my country and this year it has attracted the biggest number of participants yet. 161 swimmers chose the distance of 1.8 km and around 30 athletes swam 3.2 km.

The weather was super hot and the water warm as well. I was happy with my result mainly because I managed to outrun (out-swim) my couch.

All of the participants got a commemorative t-shirts and diplomas. There were also smaller distances for kids and disabled athletes and fun attractions like tug of war in the water for viewers. However, the funniest contest for viewers and participants alike is competition of swimming with unsuited measures, for example swimming in a pot, in a coffin or on a ladder.

This was my 10th year going to this marathon. Plateliai town has a rich history and Plateliai lake has many legends surrounding it. The biggest catfish in Lithuania is rumored to live in it, it weights around 400kg. More info: Plateliai town Plateliai lake

The red dot on the map shows the location of the lake, it is a part of Zemaitija national park.

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This photo shows the distances we were swimming in the lake.

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Next swimming marathon will be held on 9th of August in the eastern part of Lithuania. Have a great last month of summer!

You will find more photos here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.695621537160336.1073741913.188180954571066&type=1 (Photos belong to A.Ališauskas).

 

Swimming marathon: Lampedziai (Kaunas) 2014

Sports

Hi!

On July 6th I and about 100 other swimmers participated in 2nd swimming marathon this summer.

July 6TH is a national celebration in Lithuania (not just an international kissing day) – it’s coronation day of the only king Lithuania ever had. (In 1253 Mindaugas was crowed the king of Lithuania) so the swimming marathon was dedicated to this special date.

The weather was perfect for this kind of event: it was hot and sunny. The wind was quite strong but refreshing. The water was quite cold but the weather made up for it.

I was not training for this marathon so I was surprised that it was quite easy to complete the distance and my time wasn’t bad. All of the swimmers swam 2 km distance and sportsmen with disabilities swam 500m.

This was 13th swimming marathon in that particular location – Lampedžiai lake/man-made pond.

The third swimming marathon this summer will be held in Plateliai at the end of July.

Have a great week!

Photos belong to Arlas Juodeška.

Kaunas running marathon + Sunday reunion

Sports

Good day everybody!

Yesterday (on Sunday) I participated in one of the last running marathons this summer – 2nd annual Kaunas Marathon. Like last year, I’ve chose 10 km distance and did my best time yet -1 hour 5 minutes. The total number of runners was 3000, but 10 km distance was the most popular between them – about 800 people ran it. The weather for running was perfect – not too hot, not to cold, no sunshine as well as no rain, just a bit of wind, which really helped to cool down in some parts of the distance. The only flaw for the whole marathon would be the route that had been chosen for us to run. It was to narrow for that big amount of people, so I have been running at least 6 km in a huge crowd, bumping shoulders with other runners. When, I finished the distance I got a commemorative medal, which you can see down bellow. My number was also really nice – 2424. I will run my next marathon, probably, just at the end of September. My summers are usually dedicated to swimming marathons ,so I am going to do blog posts about them. (The first one is this Sunday – June 22nd). Fun fact – as I am running for my local bakery team, after the marathon they surprised us with a delicious gift: cake and a lot of mini doughnuts and cupcakes. So, my running team had an impromptu picnic on asphalt in the middle of the huge crowd of people.

After this sports event, I went to my previous swimming couches house where we had a little reunion. Me and a bunch of my childhood friends from my previous swim team met there, cooked dinner and ate together as a family, then had some friendly competition in a round of Twister and other board games. Also, we baked super easy cookies using cornflakes and condensed milk, watched FIFA World Cup, went through old photos and laughed our assets off. When we got tired of laughing and being gymnasts on Twister, we cuddled our swimming couches cats and just had a nice conversation about good old times. I still see a lot of my old swimming team everyday, because we still swim together, but couple of them have already said goodbye to this sport so it was nice to see them.

After this relaxed evening , me and one of my friends went back to my house and had a nice girly sleepover. We watched a movie (LOL with Miley Cyrus and Douglas Booth – such a great story) and then talked till 3 am in the morning. And I had to get up at 7 am to go to morning training. Yeah, summer…

I hope you enjoyed this post about running marathon which kinda turned in to a day in life post. Bye.!

vhįštt

c

http://www.kaunasmarathon.lt/EN