16 December 2012

Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey HFR 3D Film Review

I read the book so long ago that I can't even remember the story, and from the reviews written it doesn't seem to matter, as bits of story are apparently borrowed from all over the place. And what a story it is! Similar to LOTR movies in style, the Hobbit starts out with a very lengthy meeting between Bilbo and the Dwarves, and then they start trudging. Just as I was about to get bored with the long walking scenes, the action gets cranked up, and set piece by set piece deliver Mountain Giants, Orcs, Trolls and Goblins by the truck load. There is also a superb scene with Gollum, which shows how far CGI and motion capture have come. There are also great story pieces with the Elves and Sylvestor McCoy playing the brown wizard with his rabbit drawn sledge! So more of the same, but much better! Go see it now!

We were also lucky enough to see this in Hight Frame Rate 48fps (HFR 3D), and much who-ha has been made of this format. It was a mixed bag really. The 3D wasn't outstanding, just seeming to be a film that happens to have been filmed in 3D. The HFR made some scenes look spectacularly real, like the vistas, and some pieces look completely artificial. Overall though I can't say I was bothered either way!

Ben 9 out of 10
Barry 9 out of 10


15 December 2012

War of the Worlds New Generation Theatre Review

Live at the O2 in London we saw War of the Worlds New Generation conducted by Jeff Wayne. The music was loud and powerful and instantly recognisable. Unfortunately we were both expecting a bit more of a show, and there were occasional acting pieces, also a couple of songs that seemed to grate against the music. The effects, compared to other West End shows, were also lacking, with one tiny alien walker and a "hologram" Liam Neason, which was him basically projected on a bit of plexiglass! We were basically watching a CGI movie on the big screen, to live music, with the odd actor thrown in. Its a shame, as if they'd trimmed some of it down, we wouldn't of had to leave early!

Ben 2 out of 5
Barry 2 out of 5


4 November 2012

Skyfall Movie Review

So much hype about the new Bond film on its 50th anniversary, and is it worth it? The short answer no, but not all is lost, as its a good film, just not as great as they're making out. This film focuses around Bond and M's relationship, with M having to make a difficult decision in the films opening high action sequence. After this it all goes down hill, with a fairly limp cyber terrorist blowing up MI-6 and going after M for her past indiscretions. They all end up at Skyfall, Bond's family home, where they literally wait it out. Some good nods to old bonds, added bit of humour, but the action just doesn't seem to keep coming.

Ben 7 out of 10
Barry 5 out of 10


28 October 2012

Matilda Musical Theatre Review

Went to the Cambridge Theatre this afternoon to see Matilda the Musical. Based on Roald Dahl's book of the same name, it follows the story of Matilda who is unwanted by her parents, but loves to read. She also wants to learn, but is sent to a school with the dastardly Miss Trunchbull. Miss Honey her teacher encourages her learning and also brings out some special magical powers in Matilda! Songs are all original, but unfortunately mostly forgettable, apart from "When I Grow Up" and "Telly!". The mainly kid cast is excellent, although a little squeaky and difficult to hear at times. David Leonard as Miss Trunchbull is superb and somehow they even manage to swing a girl round by her pigtails! We were also expecting a little more magic, after the excellent Ghost Musical, but this was lacking too. On the whole enjoyable, but not one of the best shows we've seen in 2012.

Ben 4 out of 5
Barry 3.5 out of 5


20 October 2012

Destination Star Trek London

Today we headed to London Excel to Destination Star Trek London. While there was nearly every Star Trek star there, plus all five captains, there was unfortunately very little else!

9 October 2012

Madagascar 3 3D Film Review

This one is actually out on Blu-ray in USA before it hits the cinema here, so we bought it! Its actually the best film in the trilogy. Using all the characters well, plus introducing a whole new set from a European circus, plus a new baddy in the Monaco police, who collects animals heads! Lots of action, chases, set pieces, great songs and the 3D really pops out of the screen at you. A great film!

Ben 8 out of 10
Barry 8 out of 10

7 October 2012

We're Home :-(

Just to remind us, heres a 360 degree photo of Fort Lauderdale beach on our final day.

3 October 2012

Hotel Transylvania 3D Film Review

A kids film that had so much potential, but too much time focusing on Sandler's Dracula character. There are literally loads of characters and ideas in this film waiting to spill over, but far too much time is spent on Dracula's sob story. The 3D is actually pretty good in this one too!

Ben 7 out of 10
Barry 5 out of 10

1 October 2012

Dredd 3D Film Review

This is the same story as foreign film The Raid. Big bad Moma lives on the 200th floor of flats in Metro City, Dredd and lacky are stuck inside and fight their way to the top to take out the trash. Slow in places and violent in others, this is an R/18 film after all. The 3D literally added nothing to this film.

Ben 6 out of 10
Barry 6 our of 10

28 September 2012

Looper Film Review

Quite a unique twist on time travelling, where disposing of bodies in the future is pretty tough to cover up, so they send them back in time to be shot dead by Loopers on their arrival. The only problem is someone in the future is closing all the Looper contracts, which means they are let off their daily killing tasks, but only have 30 years to live. Willis is sent back in time to when a younger self, played by Gordon-Levitt, who with make-up looks like a very uncanny younger Willis, luckily he doesn't shoot himself, but the two of them can't co-exist without being hunted down. Twists n turns ensue, with a big future twist covered up.

Ben 8 out of 10
Barry 8 out of 10

27 September 2012

360° Pictures of Bahamas Celebration Ship

Bahamas Reef Snorkelling

Today was finally the first day of sunshine! Which was perfect timing for our Bahamas Reef Snorkelling trip. We were taken by bus from the boat to Port Lucaya, where we boarded a pontoon boat and were taken out to the reef. We then had an hour of snorkelling, swimming and playing with the fishes. Once back at shore we had free access to the Grand Lucayan Hotel, where we had lunch, but just as we were about to go for a swim, they closed to pool to a large electrical storm!

26 September 2012

Off to the Bahamas

Today we did something completely different, a cruise to the Bahamas. We drove from Fort Lauderdale up to West Palm Beach and boarded the Bahamas Celebration ship. We were greeted by all the staff and a glass elevator going up through the middle of reception.

We headed up to the 8th floor and our five star cabin. We were then free to browse the boat, its four bars, four restaurants, casino, pub, pizza station, pool and deck. We kicked off our tour with two Bahama Mama cocktails.

For our dinner that night we had booked into The Rock restaurant, where you cook your own meat literally on a rock that has been heated to over 900 degrees! Barry had beef and pork, I had pork and chicken, both served with rice and mixed veg. You had to keep turning the meat as it cooked very quickly! You then literally ate it straight off your rock. It was delicious.

25 September 2012

Resident Evil 3D IMAX Film Review

More of the same from the Resident Evil franchise. Still much better than 3 and not as dark as 4. IMAX made the soundtrack rumble, but 3D didn't really add much.

Ben 7 out of 10
Barry 7 out of 10

24 September 2012

Finding Nemo 3D Film Review

Looking spectacular in parts in 3D, and very flat in others, the underwater setting doesn't really do 3D justice unless there is background for depth. But roll on the blu-ray release for pin sharp visuals.

Ben 8 out of 10
Barry 8 out of 10

23 September 2012

Fort Lauderdale Grey but Hot

We arrived Sunday to a mid-80s but very grey and stormy Fort Lauderdale. It won't turn sunny until Friday, which is when the pic below was taken.

15 September 2012

Go Ape Segway

Today was a birthday outing to Go Ape Segway in Swinley Forest near Bracknell. It was a bit weird at first, as you don't expect a two wheeled machine to be able to keep upright by itself, and you can literally lean all over the place without falling off. After a bit of training we headed off to a section where there were 3 courses of varying difficulty, the third one was very winding and had a big downward hill! We were limited to 7mph for this section, but after we headed off onto wider trails in the forest and were allowed to go up to 10.5mph! While this doesn't sound that fast, when you're standing upright on a two wheeled Segway zooming round the forest, its perfectly fast enough!

2 September 2012

Total Recall Movie Review

So a remake of one of my favourite Arnie 90's movies, Total Recall. Both based on the same story, but both their own films. However Arnie's version wins hands down, for cheesiness level, whereas this version tries to take itself too seriously. Both stories are chases across the film, but again the 90s version is more fun. Also this version is very dark and tonal, but going for a safe PG-13, and the 90's version being bright and in your face, yet still 18 rated. I generally just didn't enjoy this film, it was OK, but that was about it.

Ben 6 out of 10
Barry 7 out of 10


1 September 2012

Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio Tour

After a chinese with the whole gang the night before, including Gareth and Sarah, we headed off to Watford to see the Harry Potter Tour attraction with Mark, Carol, Charlotte and Elliot. They let groups in blocks of 100 and we had little to no wait. After we watched an intro video we shuffled through to a cinema to watch a synopsis of all 8 films, which ended with a reveal of the entrance to the Great Hall.

We then had a brief talk about the layout and construction of the hall, and then we were on our own to explore all the props, sets and costumes from throughout the films. We were actually there 3.5 hours, but had a break in the middle to try some Butter Beer, which was very nice!

It was a great day out, after which we headed to Frank and Benny's for dinner, where we surprised Charlotte with her 7th Birthday cake and someone dressed as a dog!

27 August 2012

Keith Lemon The Movie Film Review

While wandering around naked, knob gags, farting and ripping the micky out of celebrities is hilarious for a 25 odd minute TV show, ramp it up by an extra hour and its just plain awful! The plot is awful, acting is awful, the film is just plain awful! A real shame, as we normally like Mr. Lemon's humour.

Ben 2 out of 10
Barry 2 out of 10


26 August 2012

Expendables 2 Movie Review

More story, more action, more explosions, more limbs flying, more heads exploding, more over 60's on steroids, more humour, more guns, more of everything in general, which is actually a good thing! Expendables 1 just seemed to be a case of blowing stuff up, Expendables 2 had a fairly decent story and was much more light hearted, making all the death and destruction entertaining rather than just for the sake of it. All the cast get to do their thing this time round. They also take the mickey out of their previous films, with jibes at film titles and slogans. Much better than the first and rolls out death and destruction to the max for a 15 certificate!

Ben 8 out of 10
Barry 7 out of 10


18 August 2012

Zombie Shopping Mall Experience

Headed to Reading today where ZED Events holds their Zombie Shopping Mall Experience in an old abandoned mall. The place is already spooky enough, being a deserted dark mall, but you have live action zombies chasing you! After our briefing we were given a combat vest and gun, then we had to infiltrate the mall and retrieve a blue case containing information about the virus. This whole first zombie experience was scripted and we had police actors following us. The second mission we were on our own and had to retrieve as much ammo from the mall as possible. This was actually much scarier as you started out in the basement, which was pitch black with just a torch! Our third mission was to retrieve the antidote from a medical area, then escape the mall. Again we were left to roam freely around the darkened mall, with zombies popping up all over the place, groaning, chasing and trying to bite us! A superb experience that genuinely made me shit my pants a few times, especially the pitch black basement. Highly recommended day out!!


4 August 2012

Ted Film Film Review

Coming as the first live film from Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, this is actually a live version of Family Guy with a giant talking teddy! Back when Wahlberg was 8 he wished his teddy was alive, and hey presto he is! Growing up together, drinking and doing pot together they become life long buddies. Eventually though they have to grow up as Ted comes between Wahlberg and Kunis' relationship. I would call this film a very loose crude comedy rom-com. It is also in the same format as Family Guy, with lots of cut away gags. It keeps you chuckling throughout, which is good for a comedy of this length, and MacFarlane as Ted is as funny as in Family Guy.

Ben 8 out of 10
Barry 7 out of 10


28 July 2012

Dark Knight Rises IMAX Movie Review

We used some of Barry's Birthday voucher to see Dark Knight Rises in IMAX. The film is fantastic, although very, very dark in tone. Bane played by Hardy is an excellent baddy for this film, basically turning the whole of Gotham vigilante and disavowing all forms of authority, all the time threatening to blow up the entire city up if anyone tries to leave. Batman who is still in hiding from Dark Knight teams up with an unusual choice of a cat burglar. Catwoman played by Hathaway is superb, playing a witty and sarcastic character skilled at the art of deception. Batman basically comes out of retirement and with Catwoman sets about trying to free Gotham. There are a few twists and turns in the story, such as who is who's father/daughter and a few surprise characters reappear. IMAX was superb as usual, with the sound thundering and the Batplane and explosions rumbling right through your body. While the film is very good, is was just too dark and not as enjoyable as Avengers.

Ben 8 out of 10
Barry 7 out of 10


27 July 2012

Go Ape!

Barry was "working from home" today, so we actually went to Go Ape in Bracknell's Swinley Forest. Barry loved it, but for some reason I got the shakes from the height even though we've done it before.

To turn 3D off, click the red "3D" button at the bottom of the video window and click "Turn off 3D"

21 July 2012

Madonna MDNA in Edinburgh

This weekend we popped up to Edinburgh, the furthest north we have ever been, to see Madonna's MDNA concert in Murryfield Rugby Stadium. Oh and we made a bit of time for Edinburgh Castle too!

8 July 2012

Amazing Spider-man IMAX 3D Movie Review

The opening of this movie is practically the same as the first one. Geek photographer gets bitten by spider, Uncle gets murdered, then goes on crime fighting spree dressed in spandex. The back story of the Parker parents is slightly different, which leads to this film's baddy, the Lizard! Garfield plays a younger, jokier hero, which was missing from the other films. Amazing Spider-man is also much darker than the previous trilogy, and at 12A is certainly pushing the limits of that rating, with some genuinely scary and jumpy moments. It just takes too long to go through the back story, which is a shame as the rest of the film is very good. IMAX sound certainly thunders, but the 3D sucks yet again. There are some excellent moments that could have used the 3D to make things pop out of the screen, but for some reason movie studios seem to be afraid of making things fly out the screen at you!

Ben 8 out of 10
Barry 7 out of 10


7 July 2012

Ghost the Musical Theatre Review

Part two of Barry's birthday surprise was to see Ghost The Musical in London's Piccadilly Theatre. Based on the 80's film about boyfriend and girlfriend who are double crossed by their best friend, which leads to Sam becoming a ghost. While the story is familiar, the songs aren't apart from the obvious one, and the actors can certainly belt them out, but unfortunately they were largely forgettable. However the scenery was stunning, using a giant jumb-o-tron video wall, like you see at concerts, but its constantly on the move, changing shape and setting the scene. There was also lots of projection on a front see through screen, like rain and ghosts floating. The dancing is also very unique, using some sort of stop motion slowing down effect, when combined with strobes looks very weird in a good way. Finalising the effects are the illusions, with people walking through things, vanishing and floating. One particular scene on the subway train is unlike anything we've seen, with the jumb-o-tron being the train, the actors behind it, coming in and out through a door and people/rubbish floating in slow-mo as the ghosts fight. It really is amazing. Watch the video below for a taster.....

Ben 4 out of 5
Barry 4 out of 5

London Comic Con 2012

As the first surprise of Barry's birthday, we went to London Comic Con again. There were loads of stars out signing autographs (for a fee), lots of cosplay and loads of stalls of comics. We didn't stay too long, as not heavily into comics, but had a quick glance round the stars and saw Jeri Ryan (from Star Trek Voyager) doing a bit of a talk.

6 July 2012

Northney Farm Tea Rooms

Quick flying visit to mum's today for lunch at the tea room. As we were leaving it was milking time and we waiting and watched the cows cross the road.

1 July 2012

Ice Age 4: Continental Drift Film Review

There is literally nothing on at the cinema that we want to see, so chanced Ice Age 4. Glad we did as far better than 3 and probably just beat out 2 too! As the subtitle continental drift suggests the ice is now breaking apart and Manny, Diego and Sid get washed out to sea on an iceburg. While they are trying to get home, they bump into the films baddies, a group of pirates lead by Cap'n Gutt. A whole host of swashbuckling activites obviously happen. All the other characters see auxiliary to the action, but Scrat is his usual nutty self. Its a shame we didn't see this in 3D, as it had a lot of very obvious things flying at you, so not sure if this is a full on 3D film finally??

Ben 7 out of 10
Barry 7 out of 10


24 June 2012

Men in Black 3 Movie Review

"Here come the Men in Black" for the third time, and time travelling is thrown into the mix. When Boris the Animal escapes from a lunar prison and travels back in time to get his missing arm back and erase Agent K (Jones) by killing him, Agent J (Smith) is the only one who remembers and sets about fixing the timeline. A younger K (Brolin) then accompanies J for the rest of the film. Rumours of script problems are fairly evident, as there are good bits of action and comedy, mixed with large lulls. This film completes the trilogy, but isn't a patch on the other two. A word of warning, for a PG film this contains lots of swearing, which we all noticed, so film sensors need to be a bit more careful what 8 year olds hear!

Ben 6 out of 10
Barry 5 out of 10


23 June 2012

Mark and Carol at Legoland

Its been 4 months since we last got together and the weather forecast was dismal. Luckily they got it wrong and we headed to Legoland!! We also celebrated Carol's 40th, Elliot's 3rd and Barry's 38th birthdays!

17 June 2012

Red Lights Film Review

Sigourney and Murphy are two physicists who investigate paranormal activities in order to disprove them. The movie starts out with some pretty normal bump in the night cases, but builds upto the point where they meet De Niro's charater, who is the USA's biggest psychic just come out of retirement. The university where Sigourney works conducts controlled experiments on De Niro to try and prove his powers are real, but there are a few twists and turns as the results are about to come out. Fairly slow burning film, but interesting topic, well acted and keeps you involved. Just a bit too slow for my liking.

Ben 6 out of 10
Barry 7 out of 10


5 June 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman Movie Review

This version of Snow White follows the Grimm story much closer than other fairy tales. Theron is superb as the evil queen, going from beauty to haggered and old, before sucking the life out of some maiden. Stewart is as plank like as in Twilight, while Hemsworth just seems to be along for the ride. The story unfortunately plods a bit, with Stewart fleeing the queen and coming across various things while trying to reach her uncle, like the woods and dwarves. This takes the majority of the film, and when she gets there turns around and in about 5 minuntes is battling the queen again. With a little refinement and a better Snow White, this film could have been superb.

Ben 7 out of 10
Barry 6 out of 10


4 June 2012

Prometheus 3D Film Review

Prometheus is the Alien prequel that isn't an official prequel. It stands as its own film, but does link up to the "Jockey" sat in the chair in Alien very nicely. Basically a calling card is left throughout numbers of ancient human civilizations, which scientists discover and decide to head there, funded by the Weylund corporation. Once they get there they find ships full of an alien substance. Lets just say at this point things go horribly wrong for the crew of Prometheus and they end up getting infected with an early evolution of the face huggers! Great sci-fi film, with a great story and suspenseful atmosphere, the 3D only adds in areas of claustrophobia like the ship and tunnels. Glad Fox stuck to its guns and went for a mature not 12A certificate!

Ben 8 out of 10
Barry 8 out of 10


27 May 2012

The Dictator Movie Review

Cohen creates another outrageous character. After Borat and Bruno we have the Dictator. Unlike the other films which were clips of interview strung together, this film actually has a plot, albeit a very light one! The whole point of the film and all his shenanigans seems to be leading to a speech at the end of the movie, which points out all the bad things he has done, which have actually happened in America! A few laugh out loud moments however can disguise a corny yet outrageous film.

Ben 6 out of 10
Barry 5 out of 10


5 May 2012

Avengers Assemble IMAX 3D Movie Review

The first summer blockbuster has arrived! Moving quite quickly through assembling, introducing threat and superb showdown, Avengers has it all. Its amazing with all the characters, sub-plots and separate film franchises that they managed to pull this together. Even the Hulk has purpose and works in this movie. This film is simply great and everything a superhero movie should be.

Ben 9 out of 10
Barry 9 out of 10


30 April 2012

Battleship Film Review

A load of build up at the beginning setting an overly complicated story line to basically aliens coming to the planet as trying to kick our asses almost ruins the film. However once it gets going at the huge action sequences kick in, this is a great popcorn film with some genuinely tense moments. The aliens seem invincible, but some genuinely clever strategy saves the day. We'll gloss over all the annoying bits in this film, as it is a popcorn flick, one of which helps explain why this film is so very loosely based on the Battleship boardgame.

Ben 7 out of 10
Barry 7 out of 10


27 April 2012

Final Day Sunset

In homage to my dad, a sunset on our final night!

To turn 3D off, click the red "3D" button at the bottom of the video window and click "Turn off 3D"

26 April 2012

Dolphin Racer

Rode the Dolphin Racer today from St. John's Pass. They guarantee seeing dolphins playing in the wake of the speedboat, but blink and you'll miss it barely breaking the water alongside the boat. Still the actual speedboat trip was cool along Madeira and St. Pete's beaches.

To turn 3D off, click the red "3D" button at the bottom of the video window and click "Turn off 3D"

25 April 2012

Jet Skis

Today we had another break from the sun and headed back to St. John's Pass to rent some jet skis from Woody's Jet Skis. We hit the Gulf and Barry literally took to it like a duck to water, flying along at 45mph!

To turn 3D off, click the red "3D" button at the bottom of the video window and click "Turn off 3D"

24 April 2012

Madeira Beach Seagulls

Lazy day in the sun. In fact a bit too hot! So to take a break we wandered down to the beach and fed the seagulls.

To turn 3D off, click the red "3D" button at the bottom of the video window and click "Turn off 3D"

23 April 2012

Lockout Movie Review

Lets gloss over the fact that why on Earth would you store 500 criminals on a MS-1 (maximum security) space station, popping back and forth to Earth as if it didn't cost millions to dock a space ship each time. Anyway the presidents daughter is caught on the station when the convicts manage an escape during an interview, Pearce is then sent in to get out of his wrongly accused sentence to the very space station he is sent to! Cat and mouse games ensue between the pair and the prisoners. It was just too annoying, with pretty crappy acting. Its a shame as the leading man and effects were up to more.

Ben 6 out of 10
Barry 7 out of 10


Busch Gardens

Today we went to Busch Gardens, a theme park full of roller coasters! We rode the new Cheetah Hunt at over 65mph and I almost threw up on Montu!

20 April 2012


Today we went parasailing with Gators Parasailing at St. John's Pass near St. Petersburg. Had a great time and the crew were very funny. We had a speedboat trip out into the Gulf, took off from the back of the boat, floated around in peaceful silence, saw some dolphins, then landed feet first back on the boat.

To turn 3D off, click the red "3D" button at the bottom of the video window and click "Turn off 3D"