Film Review: Oceans 8 at the New Omniplex Omagh

 

Oceans 8 opened this week and for me it’s the perfect film to inspire a new bout of girl power in the world. Having watched the previous Oceans Heist films I always thought the female characters had been lacking but not in this film. We have the spice girls of the heist world; Oceans 8 bring together a female strategist, a female designer, a female hacker, a female who works in logistics. It basically SHOUTS men of the world whatever you can do you better believe we can do it too. These characters are all skilled, intelligent persons rocking this film with female empowerment and giving each other a leg up. I ask myself why an action film like this hasn’t been made before. And I even dare to ask if they make an Oceans 9 can it have a female director please.

The basic premise: Debbie Ocean ( Sandra Bullock) has been devising the biggest heist of her life whilst locked up in prison for all of 5 years, 8 months and 12 days but who’s been counting. She knows what it’s going to take to pull of the perfect heist and she feels she has to prove this to her dead brother (Harry Ocean from the previous films). She assembles a team of the best people in the field, starting with her partner-in-crime Lou Miller (Cate Blanchett). Together, they recruit a crew of specialists, including jeweller Amita (Mindy Kaling), street con Constance, suburban mom Tammy (Sarah Paulson), hacker Nine Ball (Rihanna), and fashion designer Rose (Helena Bonham Carter). Their target a necklace that’s worth more than $150 million and will be the star attraction on the red carpet at the Met Ball. It’s the normal Oceans premise find a target and work out the most complicated but entertaining way to turn the tables so the bad guys end up looking like the good guys.

The film is clever with lots of twists and turns. It’s about friendship, trust and a bit of a revenge plot in there too. Add in cameos from Kim K, Gigi Hadid and a few other A-listers and it has you glued. Not enough suspense or action for me but entertaining and I hope this a start of a new series of Ocean films!

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As an aside I should add I watched Oceans 8 in the new Ominplex cinema in Omagh. The new multiplex is modern, bright and a shining beacon for the film industry in Northern Ireland. It has screens which have the most high tech sound systems and floor to roof Maxx screens, which take a bit of getting used to but once you have seen a film this way you won’t want to go back. Having worked in the film industry for eight years it’s heart-warming to see the Omniplex Company investing in the entertainment industry like this and especially at home in the North-west. I’ll be back to the cinema soon as I feel it’s the perfect Saturday night treat. Mamma-Mia two anyone??

Emer D xx

Thank you to Omniplex Omagh for having me to watch the film and their fantastic hospitality on Thursday night. If you want to find out more about Omniplex Omagh or book in and watch the film go to https://www.omniplex.ie/cinemas/cinema/omagh.

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Something for the Summer: A day trip to Whitehead Railway Museum

Last weekend my sister, my two nephews and I made the trip to Whitehead to check out the newly refurbished Whitehead Railway Museum. So that’s two 30-Somethings a six year old and an eight year old. If they could keep us all happy that would be some doing.

As we drove through Whitehead we remarked how pretty and well-kept the sea side town is with lots of gorgeous little shops and tea rooms. It also seemed to have a lot of camp sites, B&B’s and caravan sites so perfect for a staycation this summer.
The Whitehead Railway Museum was easy to find, we followed the Sat Nav but there were plenty of sign posts pointing us in the right direction and when we turned the corner and saw the railway tracks we knew we had come in the right direction. We had booked in a tour for 2.30 and arrived just after 2 unfortunately we were told in the tea room that the tour had actually started early so we ran to the signal box to catch up. Luckily  we hadn’t missed much and the boys were able to have a go changing the signals. (The loved this, the eight year old did it with ease and the six year old needed a helping hand.)

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The tour progressed we went through the museum hearing about how the trains had been used, the commuter belts from Belfast to Dublin and how the train company enticed people on to the trains with holidays, homes and so much more. They had lots of artefacts and interactive boards which the boys had been dying to play with but on we went.

We saw the trains which had been used in movies and some which where hundreds of years old. We also saw the workshops and how the Whitehead team had been working hard to restore the trains to full working order.
I have to admit half way through the tour the 30 somethings had lost interest never mind the 8 year old or the 6 year old. It is a lovely place and the history is fascinating but a little over powering plus we didn’t get a chance to stop and have a cuppa! But we persevered as our tour guide was so friendly, helpful and informative. We were admitted into the carriage room which was full of old trains and carriages, they had been used by Taoiseach’s and royalty. The boys loved this room they could dress up and jump on and off the trains they were even taught how you drive the train.

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So overall the Whitehead Museum is a lovely railway museum to visit, perfect for a day trip  the eight year old loved it but the six year old did lose interest so judge your audience does your child have a lot of patience? Personally  I would recommend going down and taking your own time and pace through the exhibition and maybe getting down before they close the tea room, as the tea and scones did look scrumpitous.

Thanks for having us Whitehead Railway Museum

Emer D xx

 

Preview: Flashdance the Musical

 

Flashdance the musical comes to Belfast in August, to be precise it comes the Grand Opera House Belfast 21- 25 August. I had the chance to go and watch the production in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre Dublin a couple of weeks ago here’s what I thought of the production.

Flashdance the musical is everything you want it to be from the opening notes it brings back the nostalgia of the 80’s movie and once again we encounter the troubled Alex Owens. Welder by day flashdancer by night. Alex in this production is played by Joanne Clifton known for her award winning moves on Strictly come dancing. Here love interest Nick Hurley is played by boyband eye-candy and talented stage actor/writer Ben Adams (I’ve recently become aware of Adams’ current production Eugenis and the guy has talent!) Adams wears the 80’s power suit well and is endearing in the role as Hurley.

Anyway Flashdance the musical is full of high kicks, Lycra and leg warmers. It’s all about the dance and this is where the production succeeds. Every single actor/dancer is perfectly in time and the choreography by Matt Cole wows the audience, keep an eye out for the  I love Rock and Roll scene it really shakes the whole production up and of course the iconic water scene. The set is industrial and full of moving platforms which the actors negotiate successful throughout the show but it also lends itself to be poles, platforms and dancing spaces.

Does it hit the right notes for a musical? It does, with songs like What a Feeling, Maniac and Gloria you can’t help but singalong. But it’s the more tender love songs which go straight to your heart strings. The relationship between Alex and Hannah (played by the legend that is Carol Ball) feels real and song One in a Million cements this feeling. Ball and Clifton look perfectly natural together as if they had been playing these roles all there life.

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Overall this Flashdance the musical will leave you singing and dancing in the aisles and send you home with that warm fuzzy feeling and if your where a teen in the 90’s it may reignite your old boyband crush 😉 but I highly recommend it for a girls night or a date night.

Emer D xx

Tickets available at http://www.goh.co.uk

Guest Review: Snazyazzi reviews The Monk, The Bird and The Priest

A few weeks ago, The Playhouse Derry/Londonderry opened it’s doors to The Monk, The Bird and The Priest by writer Dr Liam Campbell and Producer/Director Kieran Griffiths.
The play tells the stark and all too familiar account of abuse experienced by young men (and women) within the Catholic Church in Ireland. With the setting for this story taking place in a college.
The Monk, The Bird and The Priest were first introduced to us by the narrator and former pupil of the college, Jonny Regan, as he gave his account of his school days, We met the monk; the dictator and authoritarian who judged pupils based on their social standing. The Bird; an eccentric and egotistical priest who revelled in the power bestowed in him thanks to the Church; and the Priest, the beacon of hope and a forward thinking young Priest whose main concern was the welfare of the students, not the reputation of the Church.
The choreography and the fluid movement of the cast on stage, turning courtyards into classrooms, with only painted boxes for props sent me back to the nervous energy felt by me in my school days during maths class.
The abuse and torment suffered was well executed and powerful, but not easy to watch, as you could tell by the expressions of some of the audience members.
Finally, towards the end of the play, the audience gets justice; as the Priest confronts the Monk, bringing aloud the undercurrent of abuse, which had been avoided throughout the performance.
This was an extremely professional production, but as an audience member, I left feeling drained given its heavy subject. There was support information available for anyone affected by the performance.

Festival Review: Holywood Harmony Live

A summer night in Holywood and there’s something in the air. Parking up you hear bass notes and walking towards the Holywood Rugby ground you can’t help but see the smiles on faces and the feeling of a very proud community. And proud they should be, despite funding cuts Holywood have curated another fabulous line up for this year’s Holywood Harmony Live Festival. A weekend of music which kicked off yesterday when I had the joy of watching Rews, Toploader and headliners Reef.

Unfortunately because of work commitments I have to admit I missed most of Rews set only catching the last few notes as I walked into the marquee but Shauna Tohill and Colette Williams bounce between London and Belfast and I highly recommend you keep an eye on this pair, after playing Glastonbury last year the sky is the limit for these two. I’ve a feeling this summer will be epic. They are a highly energetic alternative rock duo who’s debut album Pyro has been on my playlist since its release.

Next on the lineup are Toploader who without giving away my age these guys have been part of my happiest memories from the 90s/00s (shout out to the Diceys crew!) and I’m glad to say they still can make my smile, sing and dance. Having released album Seeing Stars in March, the guys are currently working the summer festival season and they have there set list perfected. Last night they treated the Holywood Harmony audience to a taste of some new songs and there signature positive vibe and infectious melodies still remain (my favourite song from the newest album being Roll with the Punches). However they didn’t disappoint those that came to hear there biggest 90s/00s hits, the crowd loved Achilles Heel and of course we very happily Danced in the moonlight even though the sun hadn’t yet set. Throwing in some fun covers including Elton John’s Rocket Man. The band left the stage glistening in sweat from the summer heat and to a well deserved rousing round of applause.

Headliners Reef took to the stage after a brief intermission where we heard from another talented duo. Two local teenagers Charlie and Aidan who had won a talent competition to perform at the festival.Starting out a little shaky and nervous the guys confidence grew with the warm reception they received and they rocked the stage with two original songs and a cover another pair of talented rockers to keep an eye on.

Reef did not disappoint! How you describe the energy, the talent and the eclectic sound of Reefs set last night is almost indescribable, almost but I’ll try… the guys are maybe slightly more aged ( In fact it’s the drummer Dominic’s birthday today) but the guys are back in the charts currently with new album Revelation . If you haven’t listened to it yet you are missing out.

My favourite track being Gospel track How I got Over which went down a storm in the marquee last night, with everyone reaching to the sky and thanking and praising these legends. Reef are gospel, soul, metal, country,rock and pop, they are feel good music with fantastic guitar rifts and rasping vocals. They worked there way through there new tracks and the crowd loved everyone but of course you knew the roof would come off the place when they performed there best known hit Place Your Hands (if you don’t know this song where have you been living under a rock). We bounced we sang we placed our hands and the crowd just grew and the songs kept coming.

Reef played for an hour and half none stop. Interacting with the crowd climbing barriers, posing for photos and ultimately rocking the foundations of Holywood. I adored the whole set as the atmosphere was amazing but I couldn’t finish this review without highlighting their new track My sweet Love (which features Sheryl Crow) on the Revelation album which got a fantastic singalong from the audience and which has a fantastic guitar solo. Overall Reef sent us him with ringing ears and singing hearts both signs of a fantastic gig. I hope they come back to play in NI soon and congratulations to Holywood Harmony Live for a fantastic night.image

Something for Fathers Day

Hands up who forgot Fathers Day?  Be honest you remembered at the start of the month then it just slipped your mind. Well you still have a day or two to make sure you can show your dad how much you care. But two days doesn’t give you much time… you could grab a gift voucher, bottle of booze, M and S Jumper. But as the old adage goes the way to a mans heart is through his stomach, so what about booking in some quality time with your dad over a nice meal this Sunday. Here’s two tried and tested suggestions…

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How about a steak?  I highly recommend Macro Pierre White Steakhouse Bar and Grill in Belfast. Part of the successful Park Avenue Hotel, the restaurant is a gem in East Belfast (it’s actually not very far from my home.)  I checked out the restaurant last week with a group of friends and bloggers . We all tried a selection of steaks, burgers, fish and cocktails. Between the comfy dining room, the good conversation and the amazing menu which had vegan,vegetarian and gluten free options. As a large group we had no complaints.  A big plus for me was the very attentive staff and more-ish food. My favourite dish had to be the seared scallops with black pudding and crispy pancetta. If you fancy booking your dad in this weekend read more at MPW Belfast.

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Dad not a steakhouse kinda guy? What about spicing things up a little bit. How about a curry at the fantastic The Star of India in Portadown. I checked out this award winning Indian restaurant  last month and I had the most mouth-watering butter chicken masala. The staff where attentive and knowledgable. The perfect place to try something new. The place has been newly refurbished and having been in the business for over ten yards if your dad is a fan of spice this is the place to go! What to find out more or book a table head to Star of India.

So there you go my two newest restaurant suggestion, if you scroll through my blog you will find lots more and whatever you do this weekend have a fantastic Fathers Day.

Emer D xx

 

 

 

 

Something for the Summer

Hi Guys

If you noticed from my social channels I’ve been bouncing about this month checking out what’s coming up over the summer. I hope to give you a few ideas to help you navigate your way through the lazy summer months. Something for you, something for your family and always lots to do with friends. I thought I’d start by highlighting two fantastic  festivals coming up to Belfast this month the Belfast Photo Festival and the Belfast Book Festival.

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Belfast Photo Festival  7-30th June 2018

Got a camera? Know how to use it? Yeah me neither,you can tell by my images on this blog (oops I’m not meant to admit that am I?)  but if you are inspired by photography, animation and all things in-between Belfast Photo festival is for you. My top picks this year are:

  • Belfast Exposed Photo sketch: Photography Workshop; take an image, PRINT IT (we never do that anymore) and make a it into a visual story. Saturday 16th June 11am-1pm at Eastside Visitor Centre (Ages 14-17)
  • Shoot the Band  with Carrie Davenport. Love music and photography learn how to shoot musicians.  Tuesday 26th June 1pm-4pm Oh Yeah Centre (Ages 14-17)
  • Toy Story plus Q&A with Pixar Editor Torbin Bullock! Amazing, bound to give you a “BUZZ” 😉  Saturday 9th June 2018 QFT 2pm

And so much more check out http://www.belfastphotofestival.com.

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Belfast Book Festival 6-16 June 2018

A fan of all things literary or just pick up a book on your summer holidays? Either way the Belfast Book Festival has something to suit all tastes and all ages. My top pick:

  • Jane Godley 15th June: The Queen of Scottish Stand-Up and perennial thorn in Donald Trump’s side, Janey Godley to the city for an evening of unapologetic, take-no-prisoners stand-up.A regular 5-star performer at the Edinburgh Fringe, in 2008 Janey won the Fringe Report Award as ‘Best Performer’ and two Nivea Funny Women Fringe Awards – as ‘Best Stand-Up’ and, overall, for ‘Best Show’ as “one of the most prolific and extraordinary stand-up comedians working in the UK”.
  • The Lit Crawl Saturday 16th June (I road tested this one a couple of weeks ago and loved it!) The night is divided into 3 sessions to make a fast-paced evening of pop-up events and quirky literary happenings. This is literature done differently. Follow the big blue balloons make  your way between each session (which lasts no longer than 45 minutes each) of bookish content all of which are centered around the festival marquee located in Lower Crescent Park. The park will be filled with music and spoken word plus local food and drink vendors. Perhaps you want to take a dander to No Alibi’s and visit the Book Doctors, or sit back and relax in the festival marquee and have a bite to eat and then head over to Friar’s Bush to visit Belfast’s Books of the Dead. And it’s all FREE!

Find out more about the Lit Crawl and all the events/workshops happening this year at http://www.belfastbookfestival.com.

Whatever you get up to this June have fun. If you need suggestions drop me a line and keep up to date on my social media channels to see what I get up to.

Emer D xx