Day Trip to Loch Ness

Sightseeing

Hello!

Welcome to another short post of the sightseeing variety. On Saturday, I went to probably the most famous tourist attraction in Scotland – the Loch Ness lake. I didn’t find the Loch Ness Monster (also affectionately known as Nessie) but I did manage to have a great time on this one day trip.

I, and the group of students from my university’s International Society, set off from Aberdeen at around 8am in the morning. On our way to Loch Ness, we stopped at Inverness for food and other supplies. Before noon, we reached the lake itself and paused to take pictures of its northern side, where River Ness flows into Loch Ness.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The first proper attraction on our list was Urquhart Castle or the ruins of it. Situated on the shores of the lake, this castle was a perfect stronghold for various Scottish lords and clans, until it was destroyed at the end of 17th century. Nowadays, the ruins are an excellent place for historical sightseeing – they are massive and it takes at least and hour to walk around the remains of the castle and check out all nooks and corners of it. There is also a cafe, a gift shop, and a film theater, which screens a short movie on the history of the castle, nearby.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Next stop of the trip was the tiny village/settlement of Fort Augustus, located at the southernmost point of the Loch Ness lake. Not only does this tiny town is super cute to walk around and has an amazing view of the lake, it also the place of the Caledonian Canal – a massive structure of locks, bridges, and aqueducts used to regulate the water levels in the surrounding lochs. Speaking abut the stunning views – during our visit to the town, it started to rain a bit and the sun was also shining quite brightly (it was starting to set), so, we managed to catch a glimpse of a full rainbow above the Loch Ness lake. I don’t remember the last time I’ve seen a full rainbow, especially in such an open and unobstructed place. The sight was magical and I couldn’t stop taking photos. Fort Augustus also had a gift shop, in which I treated myself and my family to some souvenirs.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The following photos are of the postcards and other gifts that I purchased. I got a variety of cards to add to my collection as well as few to send to my aunt and a friend. Also, I got a fridge magnet for my parents and a plushie of Nessie, because it is the stupidest and the cutest thing ever and I couldn’t just not buy it.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I highly recommend you visit this superb place if you get a chance. The more of Scotland I see, the more I fall in love with its nature. Last spring, I went to the Isle of Skye and Glencoe Valley and blogged about it, if that interests you.

Have a great week!

Sightseeing: Kaunas Reservoir Regional Park 

Sightseeing

Hi!

Welcome to another sightseeing post. This time, I will show you a few photos of my native country of Lithuania, especially the snaps that I took while visiting Kaunas Reservoirs/Regional Park.

Since I no longer live in Lithuania during the majority of the year, I cherish each and every moment that I spend exploring my motherland. In addition, my relocation to UK/move abroad allowed me to better see how beautiful and unique Lithuania’s nature actually is.

On Sunday, I and my family visited a few locations around the Kaunas Reservoir a.k.a. the artificial lake. This are is also known as the Kaunas Reservoir Regional Park. We walked around the Juniper Valey (in Lithuania language, Kadagiu slenis) and then followed the Geological Trail of Ziegzdriai (in Lithuania language, Ziegzdriu Geologinis Takas). All the photos bellow are from these 2 places.

Both the valley path and the trail are comfortable and convenient. The valley path has a wooden surface, while the trail is a simple forest path. The car parks near the beginning of the valley path and the trail are small but sufficient.

The scenery is amazing and an exceptional example of Northern/Eastern European nature – lakes and spruce/fir trees. There are quite a few informational and interactional displays. The signs that ask the visitors not to litter are also fun – one of them say that Chuck Norris will be angry with you if you throw rubbish around and the other one repeats this message in a few languages. There is also a sign that says: ‘There is no wi-fi, please, connect with nature’.

I had a great time walking around, breathing fresh air, and just taking in all the beautiful sights. I highly suggest you visit this place, no matter if you are a Lithuania or a foreigner. I suggest you use GPS, though, as this place is not that easy to find, although it is close to a major city of Kaunas

I’ve already done one sightseeing post about Kaunas Reservoir/Lagoon. You can find it here. Have a great week!

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

cf7kkqeuuaeqame.jpg

Sightseeing: Edinburgh to Aberdeen

Sightseeing

Hello,

I’m keeping my promise – this is not a movie review! It’s a post of the photos that I have recently taken on my iPhone. I’m not a photographer, but when you see the scenery that I saw during my travels to UK (Scotland, to be precise) and the view that I’m still seeing in the city of Aberdeen every day, you cannot not take photos!  The first 3 photos were taken on an early morning train ride from Edinburgh to Aberdeen. Other pictures represent the nature and the historical architecture of Aberdeen. I’ll be spending the next 4 years in this town and I couldn’t be happier. I fall in love with it more and more every day. I will stop rambling now and will just let you enjoy the photos. I’ll do a textual post about my experience studying and living in the UK in a near future, so be on a lookout for that! Bye!


  
  
  
  
  
 My Instagram: @luknexx

Volunteering at a Paysera U16 European Basketball Championship Men 2015

Sports

Hello!

I’ve promised that my next post won’t be a movie review and I am keeping my promise. Today, I will tell you about my experience volunteering at a Division A Men’s U16 European Basketball Championship (official site), which was held in my hometown of Kaunas from the 6th to 16th of August.

First of all, let me tell how and why I became a volunteer for this particular championship. Since 2010, I have been volunteering in swimming competitions, which were organized at my sport’s school. Later, I moved to volunteering at swimming competitions held in different pools, while last summer I have volunteered/half participated in a multi-sports event – Lampetronas 2014 (post about it here). I had a lot of experience working at a small scale swimming events and that was always easy for me, because – for one – the events would last for a maximum of 2 days, secondly – I would be in my element – at a swimming competition. But I wanted something more and something different. So, when my dad found an advertisement in our local newspaper that The Union of Sport’s Volunteers was looking for new members to help with the aforementioned championship’s organization, I decided to apply.

We had a few training sessions and I passed the selection phase fairly easily. I even got the job that I wanted the most. All the volunteers could apply to different positions, for example; team attaché, accreditation center, catering, work at an info-center, transportation, media, venue maintenance and service for the spectators. Guessing from the fact that I have written the team attaché job first, you could probably understand that that is the one I got. For the whole two weeks, I was the escort and guide of the national team of England. It was my dream to be their attaché because I desperately wanted to test my English skills while communicating with real Brits.

My job started, when I had to meet the whole delegation at the airport on the 5th of August. I had to take them to the hotel, help sort out their accommodation and just generally answer all of their questions. That day was easy, the hard part started on the 6th, when I had a 14 hour work day. As time went by, the days kept getting shorter (they still lasted at least 8 hours) and the work – much easier. It was essentially the same day over and over again. Like one of the coaches said – it was like a movie Groundhog Day. My morning would start with picking the team up from the hotel and escorting them to practice, making sure that they had water and ice ready at the venue. After practice, we would go back to the hotel, the team would have a meeting in a meeting room, which I had booked for them, and I would either have a few hours of doing nothing or would be running errands. One of the more nerve-wracking errands was finding a printer cartridge for my team’s manager’s printer. But I managed to find it fairly quickly. The team would usually have its game in the afternoon or in the evening, so the attaché would escort them to the venue, help to find a locker room and bring ice and water as during the practice. Plus, it is not required, but the team attaché (myself included) would also watch all of the games of her/his team and be the biggest fan and supporter. Even though you are essentially just a worker helping the team to get around, you start to feel connected to these complete strangers.

Anyway, team attaché would also play a part of communicator between the team and the organizers of the championship as well as FIBA Europe officials. I used to be afraid of making important calls, but after these two weeks that fear is gone. I have never been responsible for other people for such a long time and I have never tried so hard to make them proud.

Volunteering at this championship was an amazing experience. Not only I was able to test drive my English skills and meet amazing people from England, I was able to befriend other volunteers, who I would have never met anywhere else. I will cherish the memories of watching the games, having lunch or just simply lying on sofas during our breaks forever. These mundane tasks and small talks which evolved into deep conversations are the most special moments to me. I hope that we will keep in touch and don’t just become strangers as we were before.

While the championship was organized very neatly, we had a few issues along the way. I will tell you about a few moments that now look funny when you remember them. For example, FIBA gifted all teams plastic drinking bottles with the championship’s logo. My team broke 5 or 6 of them. By the end of the championship, I was scared to ask organizers for more spare bottles. Also, during the first day of the championship, we had massive schedule delays. The workers broke the glass part on one of the baskets at Kaunas Sports Hall and there was a power outing that lasted more than an hour at Sabonis Basketball Center. When you look back at these small issues, you can laugh and smile, but they’ve cost all of us a lot of nerves when they happened. All big events like this one have problems and we definitely dealt well with our challenges.

While you don’t get any financial benefits from volunteering, you might get a few perks along the way. For example, my team gifted me their official pennant and a pin, which I wore all the time. I also got a few FIBA souvenirs and French Basketball Federation’s pen from the team attaché of France (thanks again for it!). All the volunteers also received a few special orange volunteer T-Shirts, which we had to wear while working. We also had accreditation cards, which allowed us to go basically everywhere. Lastly, before escorting my team to the airport to catch their flight back home to London, one of the coaches and I swapped T-Shirts. I gifted him one of my orange ones (he really wanted it) and I received an official Basketball England polo shirt, which I am very happy about.

Anyway, although I was really happy to receive some material perks to remember this championship and the team of England by, all of these physical things are nothing compared to the amazing experience. I will never forget these two weeks, which were simultaneously the hardest and the best ones of this summer. Volunteering is a wonderful way to test yourself and to help you find you passion and the thing you are good at. It also looks amazing on your resume – next month I’m moving to Scotland to study and I will be looking for a job, but, since I have no previous job experience, I can at least put volunteering on there. By the way, all of the volunteers received official certificates from Lithuanian Basketball Federation for volunteering at this event and we were also all invited to watch a friendly match between Lithuania’s and Macedonia’s Men’s Basketball Teams in a Huawei Basketball Tournament as a thank you.

So, if you get a chance to volunteer at any event, be it a championship or a music festival, definitely, take it. I will for sure try to find more events to volunteer at during my spare time or next summer when I will be done with my freshman year. Men’s U18 European Handball Championship is happening in my native town of Kaunas next year, so I would love to work as an attaché in that one as well.

Bye!

 The poster of the event. The motto of the championship was: ‘See Tomorrow’s Stars Today’

Volunteer’s T-Shirt

  Basketball England polo shirt that I got through a swap.

Volunteer’s accreditation and an Official Programme

 FIBA Europe key chain and a pen, Sport’s Volunteer’s Union pen and a French Basketball federation pen

 Team England card (I used it to greet the team at an airport and I would also put it up on the windshield of the bus that was taking the team to practice or to the game)


Basketball England pennant and a pin

Photos from the event:

Participating Countries’ Flags

Moments from Team England games

Moment from a semifinal between Lithuania and Turkey

Spectators of the final game (we had a full house!). The national men’s basketball team sat in a first row and supported the youngster. Sadly, Lithuania still lost the final game by 2 points.

The winner and the receivers of silver and bronze medals.

 Team Lithuania waiting for their medals

Bosnia&Herzegovina’s team celebrating their win

Confetti!!!

And the best volunteers in the world (with the organizers)!

Have a great week!

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.

2015/01/img_3216.png

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.

2015/01/img_3205.png

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.

2015/01/img_3213.png

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.

2015/01/img_3217.png2015/01/img_3219.png

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.

2015/01/img_3208.png

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.

2015/01/img_32221.png

OneRepublic Native Tour 2014 in Lithuania, Vilnius

Music

Hi!

Last Friday, I went to Kylie Minogue concert (read about it here) and just 3 days later, I went to another concert. On November 3rd, I traveled to Vilnius, spent a few hours in line to enter the arena as early as possible and then enjoyed an amazing concert which I will never forget. A few of my clasmates also attended the show and we were obssesing about it this whole week.

After 3 brief hours of waiting in line and then in the middle of the arena (I was standing really close to the scene and didn’t want to lose my spot), the event finally started. A Lithuanian electronic music duo called Electronic I was the opening act for the show. They sang 5 of their songs and one of them was actually a hit in my country a few months back, so the whole audience was singing along to that song.

Then followed half an hour of preparation for the main event and finally, at 9 pm OneRepublic took the stage. They started the concert with the song Light It Up, performing it under the white sheet. Then the sheet dropped down and we could see the band in action. Hit songs like Secrets, All the Right Moves, Counting Stars followed. The slower songs, for example, To Late To Apologize, Come Home , Good Life were performed sitting down in the middle of the arena on a separate platform. New songs form the album NATIVE like Think About Us Anymore, Feel Again, I Lived, Something I Need were also performed. The showed was closed with Love Runs Out and If I Lose Myself.

The band was exceeding energy to the audience and the audience gave the same amount of energy back to the band: all of us were singing our hearts out and dancing in the way that out feet were burning. The lead singer of the band Ryan Tedder said a few words in my native language and the crowd went wild, he also thanked us for coming and praised us, saying that we were one of the best crowds he ever saw.

While playing the guitar, Ryan also threw a couple of guitar picks into the audience and I caught one of them! That was one of the happiest moments for me because if I get into some fandom, I get in hard and deep.

After the concert, I bought a poster to commemorate this event on my room’s walls as I always do. Bellow you will find a bunch of photos which I have taken myself and also a few links to my YouTube Channel where you can a find 2 videos from the show. Have a great weekend!

Come Home live Think About Us Anymore live

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Kylie Minogue: Kiss Me Once Tour 2014 in Lithuania, Kaunas

Music

Hi!

How is your weekend? Did you celebrate Halloween? Who did you dress up as? In my country, Halloween isn’t a popular celebration, however, some people do celebrate it. The reason, why this celebration isn’t wide spread in my country is because on November 1st (next day after Halloween) we have a serious event – National Memorial day (in English it’s called All Saint’s day in the Christian part of the world and November 2nd is All Soul’s Day). It would be kinda strange to run around dressed up in a weird costume one night and the next morning go visit your relative’s graves, light a candle or visit a church. If my nation had more happy ways to remember the dead (like Mexicans do), we would probably celebrate Halloween too.

Anyway, this post is not about that. It’s about the fact that on October 31st, I attended Kylie Minogue’s concert! Kylie is an Australian singer whose career started over 20 years ago and she is still mega popular today. In 2011, she visited my country with her Aphrodite tour but I wasn’t able to see her concert then. But now, 3 years later, she is back in Lithuania with her new album Kiss Me Once.

After a brief opening from DJ duo Third Party from London (nobody listened to them), Kylie took the stage being just an hour late because of technical difficulties. She rose to the stage on a sofa shaped like lips and started singing Les Sex. Then came In My Arms – a timeless hit. She changed costumes 7 times and with the help of her band, 2 back-up singers and 8 dancers gave the audience an amazing showed filled with both new song form Kiss Me Once album and singles form the past like: All the Lovers, In you Eyes, Locomotion, Spinning Around, Can’t Get You Out of My Head, On A Night Like This, Time-bomb, I Believe In You. She actually invited one fan to dance to Locomotion with her and other pair of fans to take a selfie.

Lights, lasers and smoke effects were awesome and white sprinkles and sparkles falling form the ceiling when All the Lovers song was playing turned the event into a magical wonderland. She closed the concert with Into the Blue and left the audience wanting for more.

I enjoyed the concert very much, I was standing in the fan zone, in the first row, so I saw Kylie from 5 meters distance. She is so beautiful, you couldn’t even tell that she is 46 years old! As much as I had problems with over-sexualization in this years VMAs, Kylie’s sexual performance didn’t bother me that much because it wasn’t as vulgar as, for example, Miley’s.

After the event, I bought a poster as I always do (see my whole collection of posters). Bellow you will find photos and videos form the concert. On Monday, I am going to Vilnius, to the One Republic concert, so now I am super excited for that. See you next week!

More info about the tour: Kylie

Les Sex on my Youtube channel  Sexercise on my Youtube channel 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Movie review: Love, Rosie

Movie reviews

Hello!

Couple of months ago, I found a Beyond the Trailer channel’s review of Love, Rosie (directed by Christian Ditter) movie trailer and was intrigued to see this movie. As I always do, I decided to read the book first.

Book

The movie Love, Rosie is based on 2004 Cecelia Ahern’s book Where Rainbows End. (Her first and most famous book is P.S. I Love you which was made into a movie in 2007). Where Rainbows End is written in a different style than you would expect: it doesn’t have a continual, flowing story but is constructed from letters, e-mails and notes from one character to other. When I was younger, I have read a few books written in this style and didn’t like them much but this one was a total exception. I loved the fact that I got to know the same story from various characters’ point of view. Speaking about characters, the book follows the life of Rosie Dunne and those near and dear to her. Most important of them, is her best friend from childhood – Alex. The book covers the period of more than 40 years: from 6 to 50. Rosie overcomes a lot of obstacles in life and she is a truly inspirational woman. Her relationship with Alex is also one of a kind.

Rainbows_060207102457309_wideweb__300x481

Casting & Characters

Before reading the book, I knew who was cast to play these roles, so all the time I was imagining Lilly Collins as Rosie and Sam Claflin as Alex. I love both of these actors. Lily captivated me in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones movie (Yes, that movie wasn’t perfect but the casting choices were amazing and to the point and I adored the books by Cassandra Clare long before I saw the movie). Sam Claflin is my celebrity crush since his role in Catching Fire and from that point forward, I have been following his career closely. (I really want to see The Riot Club but I don’t think it will be showed in my country).

Changes

From what I had seen in the trailer, I came to the conclusion that they changed the story a lot, but I still think it will be quite a nice girls’ night out kind of movie. (Even the toughest girls love a bit of romance). Also, the book took a decade to be adapted to the big screen, so it’s natural that they would change some things to make it more relatable to contemporary movie goers.

Everything above was written before seeing the movie, below is the review.

Love Rosie Australian Poster

So, first of all, as it was expected, the movie covered a shorter period of time than the books. To my mind, this has been done for 2 reasons: firstly, it would be hard to age a 20+ something actor to look like a 50 year old. Even in today’s world with amazing computer effects and exceptional make up, it could possibly look weird and fake. Secondly, the movie would be extremely long if it tried to cover 40 years of story or it would have to make a huge time jumps which would make it hard to follow the story. So, to sum up, I completely agree with the decision to shorten the time period.

Another big group of changes was the supporting characters’ back stories. SPOILERS AHEAD. For example, Rosie met Ruby under completely different circumstances in the book than in the film. The story ark of Brian was given to Greg. Phil was turned into Alex’s friend not brother. They also changed the number of brothers and sisters Rosie had. Movie creators introduced the character of Herb and the whole other plotlines with him and Sally. Alex had no kids. They also turned Phil into love interest for Ruby. All of the characters were British and not Irish. I didn’t mind the changes; however, I wished one particular character from the book wasn’t left out of the movie – Mrs. Big Nose Smelly Breath Casey – Alex’s and Rosie’s teacher form school.

The main plot stayed almost the same with some part being left out. (For instance, the movie left out the plotline of Rosie working at school with her worst enemy form teenage years – teacher Mrs. Casey). This was due to the shortened period of time which I had already discussed. I wished the movie was longer and we could have spent more time with the characters. I also felt that, at times, the movie was a bit rushed because they just wanted to fit all of the big events into 90 minutes.

Acting

I really enjoyed both Lilly Collins and Sam Claflin in their roles and I definitely know what my tumblr dashboard is going to looks like for a few weeks. (If you have an obsession with Sam Claflin you are welcome here :). The chemistry between two main characters was believeable and hearth-warming.

Jaime Winstone was perfect Ruby, I wished I had a friend like her – witty, funny but always prepared to help. Christian Cooke as Greg/Brian form the book was surprisingly likeable character after he came back after 5 year hiatus. However, that changed quickly. The actor who played him seemed so familiar to me and I couldn’t remember why. Turns out he played Mercutio in last year’s Romeo and Juliet alongside Douglas Booth and Hailee Steinfeld. But I still think that I remember him from somewhere else.

Suki Waterhouse did quite a nice job as Bethany and Tamsin Egerton was quite good as a complete b**ch Sallly.

Music

I really loved the soundtrack of the movie, especially the song where SPOILER Rosie punches Greg. Does someone know what song was that?

All in all, I enjoyed a movie a lot; it is definitely one of my top favorite romantic movies for sure. The actors were casted superbly; the story was interesting and entertaining even if a bit cliché and rushed at times. They also added much more funny moments and jokes into the film than there were in the books and these laugh out loud moments really made the movie seem lighter than it could have been. After all, it is the story of a young woman and huge obstacles in her life. To sum up, I recommend this movie for all the hopeless romantics out there and I only wish it could have been longer.

Rate 4.5/5

Trailer: Love, Rosie trailer

Photos: Google Images

Running marathon: PINK RUN 2014 Kaunas

Sports

Hi!

Last Sunday, I have participated in the last running marathon this year – PINK RUN 2014. As you have probably already noticed from the photos and the name of the run, all of the participants had to wear something pink: t-shirt, wig or any other pink accessory (there was even a special station where you could get you beard or hair colored with pink spray paint). We did that not because all the runners really like the color pink but because this was a charity run for raising awareness and money to fight breast cancer. 

This disease is very near to my heart because my grandma died form cancer 4 years ago, so, I was eager to participate in this run. Moreover, is always a great fun to run through city with a bunch of strangers dressed in pink wigs:).

A few of my friends also ran this short 5 km distance from one part of the city (Medicine university) to the city center (town square in the old town). After the run all of athletes were given some tea and cookies as a thank you for donating the money and for running. My result was okay, I had a hard time breathing while running because the weather was quite cold and windy. What is more, I didn’t really tried to get a good result because this run had other purpose – to come together as a community and do something good for those who need our help.

Bellow you will find a few photos before the start which I have taken myself. You can find more information about the run here. Article from the local newspaper and photos of a professional photographer here.

PINK RUN 2014 10735898_978328608860635_1985157809_n (1) 10752158_978328598860636_1835764890_n