Movie review: The Magnificent Seven

Movie reviews

Hello!

After reviewing a contemporary Western last week (Hell or High Water), today, I turn my attention to the one set in the past – 19th century’s Wild West, to be specific. Let’s discuss The Magnificent Seven.

IMDb summary: Seven gunmen in the old west gradually come together to help a poor  village against savage thieves.

Antoine Fuqua’s The Magnificent Seven, in terms of both the name and the plot, reminds me of a different recent Western from another accomplished director – of course, I’m talking about Tarantino’s The Hateful EightSadly, that awful Adam Sandler movie The Ridiculous Six also sneaks into my mind. What is up with these names, Hollywood?

2016’s The Magnificient Seven is a remake of the 1960s movie with the same (which, in turn, was a remake of a 1954 Japanese picture Seven Samurai – haven’t seen either of them but plan on watching both). Weirdly, it is not getting almost any hate in comparison to the recent Ben-Hur movie, which was also a remake of the 60s classic. Maybe who is involved in front and behind the camera has something to do with it – Seven has a lot more big name talent attached to it than Ben-Hur.

SPOILER WARNING

Writing: story and character development

The Magnificent Seven’s screenplay was written by an interesting duo: Nic Pizzolatto – the creator of True Detective – and Richard Wenk – writer of such mediocre-ish films like The Expendables 2 and The Mechanic and some better flicks, like his previous collaboration with FuquaThe Equalizer (he is writing that film’s sequel as well). Wenk has also penned Jack Reacher: Never Go Back script – that picture is coming out next month.

I quite enjoyed the story they created for this movie. The narrative was a bit by-the-numbers and predictable – Westerns all tend to have a similar plot – but it was executed quite well. The set-up was clear and efficient and the unfolding resolution worked as well. The movie was a bit uneven in that it had some filler material in between the action pieces. Some of that material was interesting, other – less so, but it was worth to sit through because the action sequences were amazing. I also liked the fact that the story had real consequences and not everyone lived happily ever after when it was all said and done.

The character development was also sufficient. I feared that due to a big number of characters, The Magnificent Seven would suffer from the same thing that undercut Suicide Squad’s success, however, I felt that Pizzolatto and Wenk provided all the characters with a lot more moments of personal development than Ayer did for DC anti-heroes. Some characters could have been developed more – there is always room for improvement – but I felt that the things we did get worked better than I expected them too. In general, all the main heroes of the film were not good people but the screenwriters did make them likable and did made believe that these 7 people could bond in a fairly short amount of time.

Denzel Washington’s and Chris Pratt’s characters received the most scenes. Denzel’s character was nicely set-up as the leader and his personal agenda was quite a neat surprise at the end. Pratt’s character’s role as the prankster of the group was cool – his jokes and comic relief helped to ease the tension. The two characters that were the most compelling to me were played by Ethan Hawke and Byung-hun Lee – I liked their comradeship and backstory and I also felt that they had the best dialogues. Hawke’s character’s paranoia and war guilt was really fascinating part of the film, although, his actions at the end (leaving and coming back) were quite predictable, but I guess this type of character arc (fighting one’s inner guilt) has to end in that particular way.  Vincent D’Onofrio’sManuel Garcia-Rulfo’s and Martin Sensmeier’s characters were a bit one-dimensional (the weird outcast, the Mexican, and the Native American) but they did serve their purpose and nicely rounded up the group.

The writing for the main villain of the film was good too – I liked the fact that he was a corrupt businessman, who took the ideas of capitalism a bit too close to heart. The main (and only, really) female character also had a nice story of revenge/righteousness and I especially liked the detail that she was an active member of the fight, not just a damsel in distress.

Directing: visuals and action

Antoine Fuqua is an accomplished director in Hollywood, though he hasn’t made than many films. The Magnificent Seven is his 11th feature film (though other prominent Hollywood directors have made even less – Tarantino have only released 8, while Nolan – 9 pictures, so I guess quality and talent are way more important than quantity when it comes to directing). My favorite Fuqua’s films are King Arthur and Southpaw, while The Magnificent Seven is taking the 3rd spot. I really liked all the action – both the shoot-outs on the ground and on the horses (really want to ride a horse after watching the picture). I admire all the beautiful locations, the wild nature, and the empty valleys. The camera work (cinematography by Mauro Fiore) was excellent too: the close-ups really helped with the suspense, while the long tracking shots of people riding through frames (in color or in the shadow) were neatly used for transition. In addition, I enjoyed how the final stand-off of the film happened in the same place where everything had started – the church and its yard. The religious symbolism was also fitting, especially for the setting of 19th century US. Lastly, the instrumental score (music by James Horner and Simon Franglen) was excellent, while the credits rounded up the film beautifully.

Acting

  • Denzel Washington as Sam Chisolm was quite good. This wasn’t his best performance, but he worked well in the role. I liked how his character was introduced – we saw his guns before we saw his face. After working with Fuqua on 3 films already, Washington will re-team with the director for The Equalizer’s sequel – filming is supposed to start next year.
  • Chris Pratt as Josh Farraday was also great – he was really charismatic and pulled off the jokes and the teases nicely. This was his follow-up to the uber successful Jurassic World and he did not disappoint me. I cannot wait for his upcoming films as well – Passengers just debuted its trailer and will be released during Christmas, while Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will roll into theaters next summer.
  • Ethan Hawke as Goodnight Robicheaux was amazing too. I liked seeing Hawke, together with Denzel, in a Fuqua movie – reminded me of the Training Day days. Goodnight was kinda the voice of reason/rationality in the group – and Hawke just really knows how to nail this type of role. I’ve seen a lot of his films but my favorite still remains the Before trilogy. He will star in Luc Besson’s Valerian next year.
  • Vincent D’Onofrio as Jack Horne was interesting and weird. The harsh outside look of his character really came into contrast with his inner softness and that squeaky-ish voice. I needed some time to get used to the voice, actually. I enjoyed seeing D’Onofrio in big Hollywood picture and I also think that he deserves to get a lot more prominent roles in mainstream films because he is a very good actor – if you need proof, watch Daredevil.
  • Byung-hun Lee as Billy Rocks and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as Vasquez were also great. I liked how one was very calm and collected and the other kinda a hot-head. I am not really familiar with their previous work but would love to see more of them. 
  • Martin Sensmeier as Red Harvest was my favorite supporting character/actor. I loved his look and the fact that he had a traditional bow in a gunfight. I would really like to see some more films about/involving Native Americans, any suggestions?
  • Peter Sarsgaard played Bartholomew Bogue – the villain of the film. I liked how both menacing and cowardly he was. The actor also did a very good job of showing his character’s fear with his eyes. Recently, Sarsgaard had roles in films like Blue Jasmine, Pawn Sacrifice, and Black Mass. He will also be in the awards’ contender Jackie later this year.
  • Haley Bennett as Emma Cullen was also really good. I have only seen her in Hardcore Henry, where she didn’t have much to do, so I was pleasantly surprised by her performance in this film. She pulled off her action scenes and the emotional sequences really well and will also star in The Girl on The Train in a few weeks.
  • Matt Bomer (Magic Mike, The Nice Guys) and Luke Grimes (American Sniper, Fifty Shades) also had small roles and did a fine job. In was nice to see Bomer in another flick – don’t know why he doesn’t get more role as he is really good at what he does. Grimes has two Fifty Shades movies coming up but I don’t think that hs character will get much to do in them.

In short, The Magnificent Seven was a well-made and nicely-acted typical Western. It was entertaining and intense and had an amazing and diverse cast. However, the narrative did lack originality.

Rate: 3.75/5

Trailer: The Magnificent Seven trailer

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Movie review: X-Men: Apocalypse

Movie reviews

Hello!

Welcome to the 4th comic book movie review of 2016! This time, we are discussing the latest entry into the X-Men franchise – Apocalypse.

IMDb summary: With the emergence of the world’s first mutant, Apocalypse, the X-Men must unite to defeat his extinction level plan.

Background

X-Men was probably the first superhero trilogy that I have ever watched, even though I wasn’t a big movie fan back then – and by ‘then’ I mean the early 2000s when I was still a kid. At about the same time, I also used to watch the reruns of the 1992-1997  X-Men Animated Series. In 2010, I started getting into movies a lot more and only a year later, First Class came out and I was hooked. The Wolverine’s spin-offs were kinda a hit and miss for me – I always preferred the team up movies. Days of Future Past was the biggest and most welcomed surprise of the 2014 summer movie season –  that film restarted, fixed, and reinvigorate the franchise. I have reviewed DOFP back in 2014 when it just came out and I also looked back at the whole franchise in greater detail – you can find that post here. Nowadays, I am also starting to get into comics – I picked up Marvel’s Mightiest Heroes Wolverine edition, which features Incredible Hulk #181 and Get Mystique! storylines, at my local second-hand bookshop. This edition seemed like a great way to star reading the X-Men comics because it featured a character that I was somewhat familiar with (that meant that I wouldn’t be completely lost in the lore while reading the story). It also provided me with a glimpse into the history of the comic books. The first story of the edition was originally published in 1974, while the second in 2008, so I was not only able to see how the character has changed throughout the years but how the stories and the art have progressed as well. Basically, I had a Crash Course on Wolverine in Comics. 

!SPOILER ALERT!

Writing and Story

The 9th X-Men film was written by Simon Kinberg, who has a mixed track record. Kinberg has previously written such great films as Mr. & Mrs. Smith and 2014’s Days of Future Past. However, he has also worked on X-Men: The Last Stand and last year’s Fantastic Four – two of the worst comic book movies of the decade. With Apocalypse, Kinberg succeeded for the most part. In general, writing was probably the strongest part of the movie.

To begin with, Apocalypse had this old school feeling, reminiscent of the first two X-Men films from the early 2000s. At the same time, the picture was new and fresh in that it continued the reboot/new timeline version of the franchise. This film made a lot of verbal references to The First Class and tied up the loose end of DOFP. The film’s buildup was also kinda slow, with a few small action scenes in between dialogue. The pace really picked up at the end of the 2nd act and during the final battle.

Apocalypse as a villain was also not a bad choice. I appreciated the religious undertones that he had, which were especially obvious in his motivation/purpose. The False God accusations reminded me of BvS a bit as well. His Survival of the Fittest way of thinking was very Darwinistic/Eugenics like. The scene, where Apocalypse was learning about the new world, was also an interesting setup and tied the franchise to the Cold War setting quite nicely. When Apocalypse was destroying those nukes and shouted No More Superpowers!, I felt that this was a partial verbal nod to the famous Scarlet Witch’s line – No More Mutants!. The way Apocalypse could transfer his consciousness but could keep the power of his previous hosts was an interesting idea and his mental battle with Xavier was also pretty neat.

X-Men: Apocalypse also continued the versus idea of this year’s comic book movie season, since, in this picture, the mutants were fighting their fellow mutants. Although, that has always been the basic idea of all X-Men movies – mutant friends becoming mutant enemies and either trying to protect humans or destroy them. Generally, X-Men: Apocalypse felt like a formulaic movie but a well written one. It was not as surprising as DOFP and definitely did not accomplish as much. Nevertheless, it fit into the timeline perfectly and made sense – and that’s the most important aspect that Kinberg should be praised for.

The film also had a few funny moments. The stand-outs to me were the scenes between Moira and Xavier. Seeing Professor X act as a teenage boy was both awkward and amazing. Another nice scene was that Star Wars discussion between Jean, Scott, Jubilee and Nightcrawler. I especially liked Jean’s line how the 3rrd one if always the worst. It was such an obvious jab at The Last Stand (the 3rd X-Men movie that butchered The Dark Phoenix Saga) but it was perfect.

Directing and Visuals

Bryan Singer, once again, directed the film and did a pretty nice job. The stakes felt high and the action was pretty sweet. The X-Men franchise is probably the craziest and the most comic-booky- comic book movie franchise of all time, so I just wish that they would fully embrace the comic book-y-iness and gives us some colorful costumes.

The opening credits sequence was a really cool way to open the movie and nicely showed the passing of time, from Ancient Egypt to the 1980s. Speaking about the 80s, the fashion and the style seemed pretty tame, especially after watching Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some!!. That film embraced the campiness of the 80s, while Apocalypse seemed to only be inspired by it.

The X-symbolism as well as the Phoenix shape teaser during the last battle were also nice visual references to the comics. The action scenes where the mutants combined their power were also pretty sweet. My favorite action sequences of the film were: 1. Magneto killing those soldier/guards with the necklace. 2.Quicksilver saving everyone (almost) from the fire. The song, featured in that sequence, was also excellent .

Actings and Characters

The film had a lot of characters and, while the majority of them were really nice additions to the story, others were kinda wasted.

The good:

  • James McAvoy as Charles Xavier / Professor X – McAvoy was really good in the role, once again. I liked him both as a teacher and the war leader. The scene, where he was transmitting Apocalypse’s message, was relly good and showcased McAvoy’s acting abilities nicely. If you want to see more of McAvoy, I really liked him in 2013’s Filth – a really dark and ironic look at mental illness.
  • Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto. Fassbender also nicely portrayed the emotional damage of Erik. The Forest scene with Magneto’s family was amazing. I only wonder if his double crossing was true (‘I didn’t betray you, I betrayed them’). Magneto is known for switching sides, so I, if I was Xavier, I would keep an eye on him, even though it seems like they are friends at the end of the film. If you want to see more of Fassbender, may I suggest Inglourious Basterds, Prometheus, Frank or Steve Jobs
  • Jennifer Lawrence as Raven Darkhölme / Mystique. Lawrence was also amazing in the role, I especially liked that she led the new X-Men, being The First Class alumni herself. I only wish that we would have seen more of her in the blue form. I liked her line about the fact that the lack of war doesn’t mean peace. You have probably seen a lot of Lawrence’s movies (THG), but I suggest you check out her first breakthrough role in Winter’s Bone.
  • Nicholas Hoult as Hank McCoy / Beast. Hoult has always been one of my favorite actors and I am glad that the filmmakers found some space for Beast in this film. I loved his scene with Raven – ‘I love you!’. Hoult’s movie suggestion – Mad Max Fury Road, although I also want to check out Kill Your Friends
  • Evan Peters as Peter Maximoff / Quicksilver. Quicksilver was my favorite part of DOFP and I was so happy that they didn’t leave him at home in Apocalypse. He was my favorite character – the most efficient in action scenes, the funniest and the one with most potential – I would love to explore his and Magneto’s relationship. I haven’t seen any other films starring Peter, but if you want to check out more of him, I suggest American Horror Story.
  • The new successful additions to the cast in the familiar roles were Sophie Turner as Jean Grey / Phoenix and Kodi Smit-McPhee as Kurt Wagner / Nightcrawler. I’m so happy that Turner is getting more work because of Game of Thrones and I believe that she will be great as the Dark Phoenix. Smit-McPhee also played the Nightcrawler nicely and provided some great comedic relief. I wish we would have seen more of his adaptation to the capitalist world of the west.

The medium:

  • Oscar Isaac as En Sabah Nur / Apocalypse. When the look of Apocalypse was revealed, I did not really like it, and, after seeing the film, I still don’t fully understand the need to cast such a good looking and expressive actor, only to cover him underneath tons of makeup. Although, I, at least, appreciated the eye movements of Apocalypse, but those also felt CGI and not real. Issac’s film suggestions: Star Wars The Force Awakens, Inside Llewyn Davis and Ex-Machina.
  • Rose Byrne as Moira MacTaggert. Moira only had two roles in the film: exposition and being a love interest for Xavier. She succeded in both places, but I wanted her to be used more. Byrne is a comedic actress, so all of her movie suggestions are comedies: both Neighbors and its sequel, Bridesmaids and Spy.
  • Tye Sheridan (Mud) as Scott Summers / Cyclops, Olivia Munn (Mordecai) as Elizabeth Braddock / Psylocke, Alexandra Shipp (In Time, minor role) as Ororo Munroe / Storm, and Ben Hardy (EastEnders) as Warren Worthington III / Angel / Archangel were okay additions to the cast. Scott was more interesting in a few scenes before his brother’s death – he turned into a brodding, not-fun, James Marsden’s version of the character way too quickly. Psylocke and Angel were cool in the action scenes, but didn’t have much to do, except stand around Apocalypse. Storm at least had some extra development, with that saying that Mystique is her hero.

The bad (or wasted):

  • Lucas Till as Alex Summers / Havok. Till’s Havok had two purposes in the film – to destroy Cerebro and to die. I don’t really think he was needed at all.
  • Lana Condor as Jubilation Lee / Jubilee was the most wasted character of all. She didn’t even use her powers, so I don’t even know why she was included in the film.

Post-Credits and Future

It has been annouced that the next X-Men film will be set in the 90s and the X-Men team that was formed at the end of Apocalypse will probably be back. I do not know if the Proffesor X, Magneto or Raven will return, as the actors who play them might be working on other projects. Rumours have been floating around that Kinberg wants to try to make The Dark Phoenix Saga again and, after that jab at The Last Stand, I kinda believe this to be true.

Another future project, which is also set in X-Men universe, is the 3rd solo Wolverine movie. In Apocalypse, we found out that, after Stryker got Wolverine at the end of DOFP, he experimented on him. It seems that it is innevitable for Logan not to get the metal claws, even when the timeline changes. When Wolverine showed up, the only thing on my mid was: Well, you can’t make an X-Men movie without Hugh Jackman. I wonder if his solo movie will pick up where Apocalypse left off – with Logan running off into the woods. His and Jean Grey’s scene was kinda creepy and yet somewhat nice callbacks to their relationship in the original trilogy. The post-credits scene showed the Weapon X base being infiltrated by Essex Corpor., which has ties to Mister Sinister from the comics. I wonder will the Weapon X serum(?) have a role in Wolverine’s film or in the next X-Men film. I was kinda expecting the 3rd Wolverine’s standalone film to be an adaptation of the Old Man Logan story, so I don’t know how Essex corp. and Mister Sinister can figure into that.

All in all, X-Men: Apocalypse was a thourougly enjoyable film. It had a great story and a few nice actions scenes. Some characters could have been cut or could have received more development. The 9th installment of the longest running comic-book franchise was not its best entry but defintely not the worst either.

Rate:4/5

Trailer: X-Men: Apocalypse trailer

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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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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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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.!

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http://www.kaunasmarathon.lt/EN

Sightseeing: Prienai, Lithuania – Family day celebration

Sightseeing

Good morning/day/evening my dear readers!

Today I prepared a very short (text wise) post with a lot of photos from my previous trip around Lithuania, my country.
On the last day of spring, me and my family and my godmother’s family went to Prienai: a really tiny resort city in the south/central part of Lithuania. This town is famous for its newly built harmony park ( it’s website http://www.harmonypark.lt/en/news/ ). For a second year in a row, the park held it’s now annual family day celebration. There was a concert with a couple Lithuanian music stars as well as traditional musicians with Lithuanian cultural heritage: country songs and dances, free games for kids, food and souvenir shops. The activity I enjoyed the most was an opportunity to watch a horse-jumping competition. It was super interesting, so I spend around 2.5 hours by a hippodrome.
Overall, I would state that this celebration was a perfect way to spend my Saturday. I got to spend time with my family and relatives, enjoyed beautiful nature and did something interesting all at once. But enough of that, see it for yourself:

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Movie reviews: Old ones + BONUS Godzilla 2014

Movie reviews

Hello everybody!

Sorry for not writing for so long. The reason for that is simple – I hadn’t had anything interesting to write about. But now you are in for a real treat: 3 movie reviews.

I will start with a new one: Godzilla 2014. You might wonder why I am not doing a separate, big review of a newly released motion picture like I usually do. The answer for that is straightforward: I do not know how to feel about this movie. Don’t get me wrong – it is a good movie but I just wasn’t blown away by it. This might be because I saw it really late in the evening and practically napped through the last 20 minutes. So this could mean that the movie wasn’t interesting enough to keep me awake. Or I might have just been too tired. Anyway, there were a lot of great scenes and plot-lines, which I really enjoyed. First of all, I was really digging the design of Godzilla: it was true Godzilla as we know it. However, (SPOILER ALERT) I didn’t really like MUTOs design: they looked fake to me, too geometrical. The character I loved the most was Dr. Ishiro Serizawa played by Ken Watanabe. I enjoyed seeing a scientific side of these monsters. The last thing that brought delight to me was the fact that Godzilla was portrayed not as a monster but as a nature’s warrior and bringer of balance. Overall, I would rate this movie 4/5. It wasn’t as good as Pacific Rim. That is the best monster movie I ever did see. Pacific Rim also is so much better that any Transformers installment, just because it is more realistic.

Godzilla_(2014)_poster

And now, as I have promised, further down you will find two more short reviews of older movies which I have seen in the last few months at home. Enjoy!

The Bling Ring – this movie shows how messed up our society is. We are obsessed with celebrities, with material things; we want to be rich and famous. Because of all this outside “bling” and sparkle we forget what is inside. We can’t remember what the true value of life is. The movie shows how a group of teenagers were robbing rich people house and practically getting away with it. By robbing celebrities, they became well-know. It was like an easy way to fame. The movie also addresses the fake friendship issue, which is also very important these days. People like to use each other for their own good. This film makes you think about the way you live and what your goals in life are. Do we really need to have a lot of money, a huge house or an expensive car to be happy? What is happiness? How can we achieve happiness without bringing bad things to other people? These are the real life question and if you found an answer to them, you had achieved happiness. Rate 4.5/5

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The Way Way Back – this was one of those movies which you can’t really understand while watching but can’t turn off either. It tells a story of 14 years old boy named Duncan who encounters a lot of family problems: his mom does not take care of him, his dad does not want him and his mom’s boyfriend abuses him emotionally. The only place he can find happiness is Water Park, where he befriends a jokester named Owen. The movie teaches us that you have to take a stand for yourself even if you are afraid. You have to surround yourself with people who are good to you, who you can trust and eliminate those, who wish you misfortune. Rate 5/5

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Another day, another run

Sports

Hello everybody!

I hope that all of you had a great first day of May. There is only one month left till summer – I haven’t really noticed, how quickly this year flew by, but this post isn’t about it, so lets continue with our topic.

Today,I participated in a run for peace. It was held in our city center and it was dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the star of World War I. 100 years ago, on May 1st, 1924, a crucial war started and it took a lot of lives and, most importantly, a lot of innocent lives.

Me and my friends participated in this run in order to commemorate this important date. I ran 3,3 km distance and it was really hard for me, because I literally just ran another marathon 4 days ago, so I haven’t had time to rest. Overall, I liked the experience and I always enjoy the feeling of doing something for great cause.

Next run that awaits me will be held on June 15th.I will run 10 km there.Before that I will have 15 km bicycle marathon on May 11th. Stay tuned to my blog and you will find my stories about these competitions. Bye:)

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Start of the run – photo belongs to Erikas Ovčarenkas /15min.lt 

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Sunday: Marathon

Sports

Hello!
Today, I am going to tell you about a very special event I participated in – Kauna’s Half-marathon. This marathon was organised for a 2nd time. Last year, I also attended the event and ran 5 km distance,but this year a great bunch of my friend s joined me and we all ran together and had some friendly competition. There were 3 distance to choose from – 5 km, 10 km or 21 km – half marathon distance.
I was quit happy with my result, it is not my best one but still pretty good. All of runners got a commemorative medal, which we can add to our ever growing collections. One of my friends also won a 3rd place, so we were all really happy for her. Bellow you will find couple of photos from the event that I made myself and some links to more professional photos and articles.
I hope all you had great weekend, had plenty of rest and are ready to start a new, productive week Bye 🙂

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Easter + decorations and DIY ideas!!

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Good afternoon everybody!

   First and foremost I would like to congratulate all of you on this beautiful occasion – Easter. No matter whether you are religious or not, this is a beautiful, spring-time family celebration. I hope that all of you have an awesome day and the pleasant rest of spring 🙂
   The weather in Lithuania is amazing. It’s like 20C or 68F outside, the sky is clear with a few puffy white clouds. However, the wind is pretty strong, but it is not that cold.
I spent my Easter at my aunt’s house. All of my nearest and dearest family members came here; we shared a nice Sunday lunch, exchanged small gifts and had some quality time with each other. I was so excited to see my little cousin – he is almost 5 months old and just too cute.
My aunt got me this really lovely gift from Easter Bunny (This is tradition in our family). I got CACHET dark chocolate bar with lemon and black pepper flavoring. I love milk chocolate, but sometimes I like to snack on something stronger, that has a rich and interesting taste. Lemon and black pepper in my opinion – is a great, kind of spicy combination that compliments dark chocolate so well. She also got me two of Manhattan Lotus Effect long-lasting nail polishes in this cute purple box with a bow tie that has polka dots on it. One of the polishes is this grey-ish/blue-ish color that has some dark undertones. I think it is going to look amazing with more metallic, dark outfits. Another color is really spring like – light pink with a slight touch of cream. The grey one is 33G, and pink one – 55K.
Bellow I also added couple of photos from our Easter table, a picture of a home decoration and a DIY collage on how to color eggs while using onion shells. All of the eggs are different, unique and most importantly – natural, because they are made while using organic products – onions – and just a tiny pinch of chemical egg paint. Enjoy 🙂

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