Movie review: Paddington 2

Movie reviews

Hi!

A delightful bundle of joy has landed in theatres. It’s Paddington 2!

IMDb summary: Paddington, now happily settled with the Brown family and a popular member of the local community, picks up a series of odd jobs to buy the perfect present for his Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday, only for the gift to be stolen.

Movie over Winnie-the-Pooh, there is a new bear in town! Christopher Robin and his bear first entered the pop culture in the 1920s (Goodbye Christopher Robin tells that story), while Paddington first debuted in Michael Bond’s children’s books in the late 1950s. In 2014, Paddington’s stories have been brought to life on the big screen for the first time (they have previously been adapted into TV movies throughout the second half of the 20th century). Due to the critical and commercial success of the first film, the sequel has been made and the world is just a tiny bit better because of it.

Writing

Paddington 2 was written by the director of the film Paul King (who also helmed the first film) and Simon Farnaby (actor-turned-writer). The writing for the picture was just great. The viewers got to see Paddington entering the workforce and coming face to face with the harsh realities of life, while never losing his optimism. Despite all challenges he had to face, the lovable bear remained an example of endless hope, understanding, and kindness – somebody that we should all strive to be a little more like. The innocent humor, which arose from the situations that Paddington put himself in, was so nice and a pleasant change from the fart jokes of the other children’s movies. The meta-humor – the joke about the actors being evil as they lie for a living – was appreciated too. The good side of the British culture, that was neatly spotlighted in the first film, was on display here too. I also liked the fact that the movie wasn’t afraid to poke fun at the poshness of Britishness too. Also, I loved the fact that the incentive for a story was a pop-up book – I used to love my fairytale garden pop up book as a child and it is still on the shelve in my old room at my parents’ house.

Not only did Paddington got a chance to go on a fun adventure in a sequel, but his family also got some nice screentime. The teenager problems, the middle-life crisis storyline for the dad, and the desire for adventure for the mother were all nice touches that expanded the plot. I also loved how tight the narrative was. Every detail that was introduced in the set-up came back again during the third act of the film. The son’s steam trains hobby, the dad’s yoga, the sticky toffee apples that Paddington ate during the fair, the judge character, the daughter’s newspaper, the mother’s painting and swimming abilities, Paddington’s folded ladder were all important plot-points, not just random ideas that the screenwriters had.

Directing

The director of the first film Paul King absolutely nailed the sequel. He kept the pure, innocent, and joyful atmosphere of the first movie that is so on-brand for Paddington. The picture’s setting was very well-realized: both the broad one (the feature was sort of a love letter to London) and the narrow one (the fair/carnival/circus setting was just adorable). The CGI animation that brought Paddington to life was impeccable too. The cinematography was amazing as well: the filmmakers used a lot of long and mobile shots that were so impressive.

Acting

Ben Whishaw (A Hologram for the King, In The Heart of The Sea, Spectre, The Danish Girl, Suffragette, The Lobster) was, once again, perfect as the optimistic, innocent, but determined voice behind Paddington. Hugh Bonneville (Breathe), Sally Hawkins (Godzilla), and Julie Walters (I can’t wait for Mamma Mia 2!) were great as the ‘adoptive’ family of Paddington, while Brendan Gleeson (Assasin’s Creed) had a lot of fun with the role of the prison cook. Hugh Grant (Florence Foster Jenkins) was wonderful as the over-the-top theatrical villain, while a plethora of great British actors (Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Ben Miller) also played some lovely minor roles.

In short, Paddington 2 provides an amazing opportunity for escapism and is both heartbreaking and heartwarming. It also will get you craving for marmalade!

Rate: 4.5/5

Trailer: Paddington 2 trailer

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Color Me Rad Aberdeen 2016

Sports

Hello!

Welcome to another post about a sports event that I had a chance to participate in – Color Me Rad Run in Aberdeen, UK.

This was the second time that the color run was held in Aberdeen. For me, though, this was the first ever color run that I ran in and I gotta say – I have never had so much fun at any running event before.

Around 3k people participated in this colorful celebration and ran or walked (the majority of people walked, which was quite frustrating to those who ran, including me) the 5km distance. We all set off wearing white T-Shirts and colorful sunglasses to protect our eyes. Throughout the race, we got splattered with colorful powders and colorful gel, so, by the end of it, our white T-Shirts were far from white. All of the paints were non-toxic, so the event was safe health wise.

After the run, all the participants basically raved, danced and were jumping around by the stage. The songs were a bit old but still great – everybody knew them and could sing along. The hosts were amazing – their organized some games for the runners and were throwing prizes into the crowd. We also did a few color throws, where we would all count down from 10 and just go crazy with the color bombs (packets of colorful powder) – we would all end up in a giant cloud of colors. It was amazing to see ‘it’ from the side but even more magical participate in the throwing and be inside that ‘cloud’.

The event took place in a beautiful park in south-east side of Aberdeen. I live on the north-west side of town, so I had to take a few buses to reach the location of the event. The best part was going back home via the bus through the city centre, where tons of people were staring at my dirty clothes and face.

The event was organised nicely: there was enough free water for all the runners, a food stall and a merchandise booth. I got a Color Me Rad wristbrand to remember this day. Bellow, I have included a few ‘before’ photos of the event. If you want to see more ‘colorful/after’ photos, I suggest you visit Color Me Rad Official Page or their Facebook.

If you ever get a chance to do something like this, I suggest you take! It is really fun for and enjoyable by both  children and adults!

Have a nice day!

Sightseeing: Isle of Skye & Glencoe

Sightseeing

Hello!

I haven’t done any sightseeing post in a while because I haven’t travelled anywhere, except flying between Scotland and Lithuania. However, this past weekend, I channelled my inner tourist and visited the Islands & Highlands of Scotland or Isle of Skye and Glencoe valley, to be precise. So, I’m guessing by this point you know what this post will be about – I will tell you about a few of the many beautiful places of Scotland that I had a chance to visit.

I was travelling around Scotland with my university’s international society, whose sole purpose is to help international and home students to see more of the country and make unforgettable memories. I’m sure that after you read this post, you will be able to recreate the trip to the smallest detail if you wanted.

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This is an approximate map of my trip. The lines definitely do not represent the actual roads that we took, they only show you the order of the trip. Red lines and red dots represented the distance we covered and the objects/places we visited on the 1st day of the trip (Friday), Blue lines and dots – Saturday (2nd day) and the Green dots and lines – Sunday (the last day).

We set off from Aberdeen early in the morning – around 6am. At around 9-10 am we stopped on the outskirts of Inverness to buy some food – especially snacks and a lot of water. Then followed another 1.5h on the bus before we reached our first location for photo opportunities – Loch Carron.

Loch Carron is both the name of the village and the narrow lake in the Highlands – only a short drive from the bridge to the Isle of Skye. We took photos from a few angles but all of them very equally beautiful.

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Then, we went to a few locations on the actual Isle of Skye. First, we drove and walked (around 1 mile through hills and valleys) to the Claigan Coral Beach – the view was absolutely stunning – the sand and corals were pure white – and the water – light and deep blue. The weather was also spectacular – sunny with a few clouds in the sky.

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Next, we drove pass the Dunvegan Castle (sadly, we didn’t have time to visit it) to the south of the isle – the Glen Brittle glen, where we hiked to the Fairy Pools. The view was magnificent, the weather – pleasant (sunny but a bit windy) and the path to walk on – interesting. We had to jump over quite a few streams or use stepping stones to cross them. I wish we would have had time to reach the actual bottom of the mountains, though. Nevertheless, I enjoyed seeing all the waterfalls and pools.

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After visiting the Fairy Pools, we drove back up north to the town of Portree (King’s port). There we spent the night at an independent hostel. The hostel’s building was really cute (light yellow colour) and the actual hostel was clean and comfortable. In the morning, I went around Portree to get some water for a trip, some money from an ATM and I also bough a few postcards. Basically, the town is full of all the necessary shops and the major banks.

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We started our second day of the trip with the hardest challenge of all – a hike to the Old Man of Storr. When we started our hike the sun was still shining, however, the higher we walked, the worse the weather became. By the time I actyally startedclimbing up the mountain, it started to snow and hail. The wind was also crazy. Nonetheles, the extreme hike was worth all the energy, becase the actuall rocks of top of the hill were really cool and the view from the mountain was also nice, In addition, after climing this hight – this was the highest hike I have ever done – I felt a sense of accomplishment. Moreover, for me as a cinephile, it was really nice to be standing in the place where Ridley Scott shot the opening of Prometheus.

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When we climbed down and got back to the bus, the clouds cleared and the sun appeared, so our drive back to the Highlands was pleasant. Although we were all quite cold, since we were soaking wet and frozen after that climb through a hail storm.

At around miday, we reached the Eillean Donan Castle, which is located in the meeting pint of three lochs – Loch Duich, Loch Long, and Loch Alsh. It has been destroyed at the begining of the 18th century and rebuilt between 1919 and 1932. Now it is used as a tourist atraction – various collections are on display. The historical kitchen model is also recreated and displayed. The castle also serves as a filming location for movies and TV shows. One of the films that was shot there and that I’ve seen is Highlander. The castle has a big gift shop full of iconic Scottish souvenirs, so I picked up a fridge magnet – the most stereoytipacl souvenir of all.

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After visiting the castle, we drove down south to a very special place to me – the Harry Potter filming location. I have always been a massive fan of both the books and films, so standing in the place where the movies whre shot was surreal. We visited the Glenfinnan Viaduct, which serves as a bridge that leads to Hogwarts. On the other side  of the road from the viaduct, there is a beaituful lake – Loch Shiel or the Black Lake/Great Lake that is near Hogwarts and was mostly shown in the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire film, during the 2nd event of the Triwizard torunament.

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By this point, we were all pretty tired, so we just sat silently or napped on the bus on our way to Glencoe, were we stayed at SYHA hostel in the middle of nowhere. The hostel was surrounded my hills and mountains and all sides. The rooms were comfortable, the kitchen and bathrooms – convenient and clean.

On Sunday, we didn’t have any plans as a group, so all of just basically divied into pairs or smaller groups and when for a walk or a bike ride (there was a little vilage near by where you could rent a bike for 10 pounds) around the Glencoe valley. Films like Braveheart, Higlander and even Skyfall where shot around those parts. This valley is also famous for being the location of the real life Red Wedding. The Masscare of Glencoe in 1692 was the event that inspired Goerge R.R. Martin wen writing the Song of Ice and Fire.

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At around 3pm we left Glencoe and headed back to Aberdeen. We made a short stop at Perth for some food (McDonalds) and reached the city of Aberdeen at around 8pm. I was home by 8.30 pm and extremely tired, so I just caught up on the news, took a shower and went to bed.

Although the trip was echausting, I enjoyed it immensely. Rocky mountians and water (oceans, lakes, rivers and seas) are my two favorite things to visit in nature, so this trip was perfect for my taste. I highly suggest that you at least visit the places that I have mentioned if you ever in Scotland. There is so much more to visit, though, and I know that I will defintely be going back to both the Islands and Higlands of Scotland. They are quite hard to reach via the public transport, so I would suggest for you to either rent a bus and find a group of friends or just get a car and go solo. This trip would also requre you to be able to walk or hike quite a lot, so remeber to wear comfortable clothes and shoes and bring lots of fluids.

What was the last place that you have travelled? Have you ever been to Scotland or are you plan on visiting it ? Bye!

Happy Easter 2016!!

Sightseeing

Good morning my dear readers and Happy Easter!

I just wanted to quickly wish you a happy day even if you don’t celebrate Easter! I hope that either your Easter Sunday or just normal Sunday will be full of joy and happiness whatever you do!

Easter is quite a big family celebration in my native country. This year I’m not going home to celebrate it, so I’m stuck alone in my room on campus. But I can’t say that I mind that very much..:)

In Lithuania, we have a tradition to color eggs for Easter and we call them ‘marguciai’ (translated as colorful Easter Eggs). So, even though I now live in a different country/time zone/continent(almost), I decided to continue this tradition.

First of all, let me present you the Easter Egg with ‘Easter Eggs‘ (aka references) on top of it. I hand-painted (my skills are rubbish, but I think it turned out nice) various symbols of nerdiness. From the top left corner we have my blog symbol, Wonder Woman’s symbol, Black Widow’s symbol, The Avengers A, Batman v Superman logo, Daredevil’s double D logo, Deadpool’s symbol, Captain America’s shield, the nerdfighteria’s acronym DFTBA, and the Star Trek logo. I really wanted to include references to Harry Potter, Lord of The Rings, Star Wars and Game of Thrones, but I either ran out of space or just couldn’t come up with a simple enough symbol or logo.


Next, I did a United Nation/Countries/Flags Easter Egg. This one was partly inspired by a globe-like Easter Egg that I made last year.


The countries that I managed to include were: Lithuania (my native country), Scotland (my current home), United Kingdom, United States of America, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Spain, The Netherlands, Greece, Brazil, South Korea, South Africa, Japan, India, and Denmark. That’s basically all the countries that I would like to visit (and whose flags are quite easy to draw/paint).

I also coloured two other eggs. I just put some zigzag lines and dots on one of them and rolled the other one in nail polish. They turned out okay.


Once again, have a Happy Easter if you celebrate it, while I am going back to bed to eat chocolate eggs and other sweets!

Easter 2014 post – here.

Christmas Run: Aberdeen Santa Run 2015 

Sports

Hello!

Welcome to another post about a running event! My last post on running was published  back in September, when I participated in the Night Run just before I left Lithuania, and you can find it here. Since then, I have literally been jogging only 3-5 times, so I wasn’t in my best shape for this run. Nevertheless, I had a great time and I want to share my experiences with you!

Aberdeen Santa Run 2015 was an annual charity run organized by WildHearts charity. This was obviously my first Santa Run in Aberdeen (since I’ve only moved there 4 months ago) as well as my very first Christmas Run in general (although, I think I will participate in a Christmas-y Run in my hometown of Kaunas when I get back to Lithuania for a Christmas break). Speaking about Santa Run in Aberdeen: all the proceeds from this event went to the aforementioned WildHearts charity and will help to fund various projects that this charity undertakes. Next weekend, a different WildHearts Santa Run will take place in the nearby town of Inverness, so, if you are in the area, I highly suggest that you participate! It’s not only a fun afternoon activity but a great charity event for an amazing cause!

I, personally, found out about Aberdeen Santa Run through Facebook and instantly decided to register. The standard payment for the run/donation was 15£. For this price, upon arrival, all the participants received a full, one-size-fits-all type of Santa Suit (trousers, jacket, hat, beard and  belt, which I have lost while running) and a number card. After the run, all the runners received a commemorative medal, a goodie bag with snacks (caramel bar, coconut chips, yogurt raisins and shortbread cookie) and a bottle of water. The youngsters could participate for a cheaper price -10£- they received a special event T-Shirt, a hat, and a number.

The run started outside the Pittodrie Stadium and the route ran  by the beach and the seafront. Throughout the whole run, I could  see the North Sea, so, from my running experience, this was definitely the run with the prettiest view. Having said that, running by the sea was not easy because of the harsh wind! However, the sun was shining the whole time and there were zero clouds in the sky, so it was a nicely balanced weather.

The organization for the event was really good, except for one mishap with the first turn in the route. All the runners (725 runners participated in the run) divided themselves into two groups and took two different paths, however, we managed to join back into one crowd fairly quickly. The whole mass of runners was also accompanied by a group of men in Santa costumes on motorbikes – that was an amazing spectacle as well.

I was quite happy with the time that I’ve managed to finish the distance in. This event wasn’t meant to be a serious competition. It was just a super fun Sunday afternoon, doing something good both for one’s own health and a bigger cause. It also helped me to get into a Christmas Spirit.

If you want to find more information about the event, you can click here. Bellow, I have also included a few photos from the actual run, a photo of the Santa Suit, a number and the medal. The snacks are already in my stomach, so I can’t show you those!

Have a great week!

Aberdeen’s Christmas Trees

Sightseeing

 Hello!

I hope that all of you are getting into the Christmas Spirit. I, personally, can’t wait for this year’s Christmas, because I get to go home to visit my family: finally, the song ‘Driving (or flying) home for Christmas’ will actually be meaningful. Anyway, in this post, I just wanted to share a few photos of my town’s Christmas Trees, so as to lift up your mood or pass on the contagious Christmas Spirit. Don’t worry about the deadlines and the exams if you are a student – bad grades do not mean that your life is over. If you are out of school and in the workforce – try to enjoy the things you do or be brave enough to change them – end 2015 the way you want to live the rest of your life!

A few sentences about the photos: the first Christmas Tree stands on campus of University of Aberdeen, the second one – the book tree and the third – the plastic tree are both in the university’s library (The Sir Duncan Rice Library) and the last one is the city’s tree – it’s located on the corner of Union street and King street.


  
       

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