Another Exciting Summer in Manchester

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It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything about Manchester United. Laziness, lack of confidence and lack of material are some excuses I could use. The fact of the matter is, when the club is in the turmoil that it is in it’s tough to write anything without sounding pessimistic and defeatist. When the club you’ve loved for as long as you can remember seems to be going down a dark path from which it will be tough to return it is not easy to write match reports and reviews on news and gossip. I mean, in all honesty the club is too far down the dark path and it will take years of patience and rebuilding to get to where Manchester United should rightly be, but maybe that’s not the worst thing in the world. Anyways, I’ll be writing more about United and hopefully this season will be better than last season at least. Even if United are in a tough spot and we, the fans, are having a hard time feeling sympathetic for seemingly uninterested players and a board that is leeching money from the club, the prospect of a quiet summer concerning Manchester United will always be a foreign concept.

Timely Transfers

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With the announcement of Wan-Bissaka extremely close amid leaked pictures of the star and his management team signing his contract, and the announcement of Daniel James from Swansea a few weeks ago, it seems that Ole and the team are moving in the right direction.
However, the fact that not one player has been sold and the surfacing of articles and videos featuring United stars Pogba and Lukaku admitting they want to play elsewhere and face ‘new challenges’, is extremely negative.
I think we can all appreciate that in the modern footballing world and especially concerning Manchester United, transfers are no longer cut and dry. Agents will look for more money from bigger clubs, as will the selling club, especially if they know United have the money. Sometimes players will flirt with United to get a bigger deal at their preferred club, which really pisses me off when I see it happen. I’m going off on a tangent here, but United’s transfer policy over the last six years, if not ten years, has been dreadful.
I must admit that these transfers of young players, James from Wales and Wan-Bissaka from England, bode well for the direction of the club. While Pogba and Lukaku may be petulant and under-performing, the club needs experienced players to help the new young lads through, and I’m not talking about Ashley Young giving Bissaka training tips on how to play right back.
With Bruno Fernandes poised to join Liverpool one day and us the next, and another truckload of midfielder’s names now dumped onto the bag carousel that is United’s summer transfer list, who will be signed and will anyone leave? Will these timely transfers be enough to boost United and keep Ole in the job?

Insolent Influencers

It’s been an interesting few months so far as followers of Lingard, Rashford, Pogba and Lukaku. The former pair, on holiday together before pre season, posted videos on IG messing around, chanting ‘Beans, beans, beans’, and commenting on the state of their hotel rooms. I personally don’t see anything wrong with this and find the reactions of a lot of United fans disturbing and bordering on highly irrational. I also don’t hold any umbridge with Pogba posting videos of himself and his brothers dancing in their room, or Lukaku posting videos of him dunking on his friends who are too afraid to properly defend against him on the court. While Lingard annoys the shit out of me and Rahford frustrates me on the pitch, the two lads are only having a bit of craic and enjoying themselves. Pogba and Lukaku on the other hand have publicly flirted with other clubs and said on video that they more or less would like to leave. I have lost all respect for the two of them and while that doesn’t mean a thing to them, it shows that they don’t care about the fans.

When was the last time that you heard a player from Liverpool, Man. City or Tottenham publicly state that they would like to play in a different country or face new challenges? Nothing in recent memory, and if they ever do they still hold utmost respect to the club and the fans. Pogba and Lukaku, two main names in the United set up, don’t give a toss about the fans. In fairness to Pogba, he does get dog’s abuse even though he is United’s best player, but to go on t.v., in a promotion for Adidas, nonetheless, and say you need a new challenge when you’ve done sweet feck all is laughable.
The players don’t help their cause with their insolence and the fans don’t paint themselves in a great light when they comment horrible abuse on said player’s pages, but it’s all indicative of the ownership of the club and the way it is being run.

#Glazer’sOut

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The biggest news story coming out of United over the summer has been kept quiet by the club itself. The hashtag started a few weeks ago on Twitter and picked up speed straight away. Every tweet from United accounts and fans I follow has #glazersout afterwards, a testament to the fact that United fans are not happy with the current state of the club. The debt the Glazer’s have given the club and the money that they have taken out is staggering when compared to the money that the owners of other clubs have put in their respective clubs.
It is a fantastic movement that has already caused the stock price of the club to fall. It became highly popular again when one of the club’s owners, Darcie Glazer, took out a loan with shares of the club as collateral. Now, I don’t claim to know anything about finances but from what I read and understand, we shouldn’t be getting as riled up about this as we are. Those shares are hers and it’s like she’s putting her house as collateral for the loan. If she fails to repay the loan the shares are taken off her. However, I understand the anger and rage that formed when United fans heard about this. It is similar to seeing videos of players dancing and laughing when the fans that pay money to wear their names on their backs, go to see them in games and pay to watch them in person and on t.v. are sitting at home in despair at the state of the club. It shows disrespect in a time of great sensitivity in the club.
I don’t understand how the P.R. reps of the club and certain players aren’t taking measures to ensure that players and owners don’t do things that paint themselves in an even worse light.
“Hang on there, Jesse, maybe leave the dancing off until pre-season starts, O.K.? And Darcie, maybe put something else as collateral for the loan until there’s a better public feeling about the Glazers. Cheers, boss, nice one.” Maybe I could get a job doing that. C.S.O. Dalton. Common Sense Officer.

In all seriousness though, the movement is important and even if nothing comes of it, at least the Glazers and Woodward know that the fans aren’t stupid. Two signings and removal of deadwood in the club isn’t enough; we want them gone for good.

A Tale of Two Concerts

It was the best of times. It was the drunk of times. It was Snow Patrol. It was Metallica. It was Malahide Castle. It was Slane Castle. It was Heineken. It was more Heineken.

I’ve never been a regular concert-goer. Over the years my friends and peers have gone to acts such as Green Day and Metallica when I wasn’t allowed to go/ had no money for my own ticket! They’ve been to festivals like Oxygen and EP when I’ve been too young, dumb or broke to procure entry. It was a frustrating existence when the summer rolled around as groups would inevitably form to go to gigs and concerts and I’d settle in for another night watching Made In Chelsea.
I make it sound as if I was a recluse and a loner. While that might be somewhat true now it couldn’t have been further from the truth back then. I had many friends and many opportunities to attend events in Dublin or Cork. I couldn’t go either because I was too young or I was too broke.

I don’t have any regrets in this life. I do wish that I had gone to see Metallica in Marlay Park in 2009 when my friends all went up with one of their older brothers. I wish I had gone to see Green Day a few years after when they played in Dublin. I wish I had saved more money when I was that age instead of supporting the BFS in Blarney by buying chicken rolls any chance I got. Alas, these are not regrets. If I ever perfect time travel, and God knows I’ve been trying, I’d go back, ruffle my hair and say, “Eat those chicken rolls Cian. Your metabolism is fast and you’re strong. It won’t be like this in ten years.” And I’d respond, “STRANGER! FAT STRANGER! HEEEEEEEELLLLLPPPPP!!!” And I’d swiftly teleport back to 2040 Cork, where traffic hovers above the city, the river Lee is but a speck in our digital glasses and the Events Centre is still under construction!

I went to a good few concerts in New York and loved ’em all. Vance Joy in Prospect Park was probably my favourite. Although I knew all of the songs from his new album we kept shouting “Play Riptide ya prick.” While I’m confident Vance himself would probably find this funny, the American couples surrounding us obviously didn’t, and we received enough side-eye for another pair of glasses!
A number of us attended a gig in Brooklyn where Florence and the Machine played alongside Muse and AJR for charity. That was really enjoyable. We all got fairly drunk, though, and I apologise to the girl sitting in front of me. I did not mean to spill a whole can of Brooklyn Lager down your back. You were a good sport.

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Gary Lightbody

Snow Patrol were really, really good. I attended with the lovely Katie and we had an absolute ball. Malahide Castle was a cool venue, and it let me feel like I was at some part of a festival for the first time.
I couldn’t get over how smiley Gary Lightbody, the lead singer, was up on stage. Katie told me that the band had taken a break due to his problems with alcohol and he was now completely sober. Despite the fact that I knew perhaps three of their songs and had only listened to their new album about twelve hours previously, I was privileged to attend a concert where the artist was so visibly happy with what they were doing.

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James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett

The next day, still drunk from Coppers and whiskey n’ gingers, I made the long trek from the Green Zone Car Park to the entrance to Slane Castle. An hour and a bit later I arrived at my destination, two bottles of water and three cigarettes in, where I was ready to finally see Metallica. I hadn’t listened to their music in years, bar the day before where I scrambled to see would I still like them. And I did. I really did.
I could go into massive detail about the concert itself and the venue and how great it was and how we all let out a massive roar when the main act came on. I could tell you how nobody took their eyes off the stage and the hush before each song followed by a swelling shout will never leave my memory. I could tell you about Whiskey in the Jar and One and Master of Puppets and all the other classics they laid on us. I’d rather just say that the crowd, the fans, the people who attended the concert made it the best thing I’ve ever been a part of. Ever little interaction me and Sarah had was so delightfully wholesome; two lads from Tipp, where one worked in Blackpool, told us of other metal concerts and European cities; two young fellas who gave Sarah a card for his podcast; Jerry from Wisconsin who came all the way from the States to see the band; the rocker from Ennis who really didn’t like where he was from; the Polish lady in the queue for the food who had a Northern Irish twang; and the countless others.

The band was great.
The atmosphere was terrific.
The crowd stole the show.

If you want to take anything from this piece I wrote today it’s this…Eat all the chicken rolls you want.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix

It is with a heavy heart that I must write my first terrible review. Up until now I’ve thought most movies were, at the very least, average. I’ve made excuses for how bad they were. I’ve solved plotholes and bad performances to justify the money I’ve spent on the film. That time has passed. Dark Phoenix has broken the mold, and broken my heart.

The latest installment in the X-Men franchise tells the story of how Jean Grey, played by Winterfell’s own Sophie Turner, becomes the powerful Phoenix. After a rescue mission turns sour, Jean absorbs what seems to be a solar flare and is perfectly fine..for about ten minutes. She subsequently proceeds to kill close friends, alienate all around her and become an intergalactic fugitive. Charles Xavier (James McEvoy), Magneto (Michael Fassbender), Blue Beast Man (Nicholas Hoult) and a host of other mutants try to save/kill/contain her in a movie that is not even saved by a fantastic action set piece aboard a train.

Problems

I must admit that I haven’t seen Days of Future Past, so I’m not entirely sure what was wiped out in this timeline. Pretty much everything, I’ve been told. I know that this movie is more truthful to the comics and that The Last Stand has been eradicated, thankfully. Although the aforementioned action scene was fantastic, the first hour and a half are so boring and predictable that it doesn’t really matter.
The X-Men go on a dangerous mission -> Someone nearly dies -> People get annoyed at Charles because he thinks he’s never wrong -> Jean can’t control her powers -> A mysterious villain tries to take over Earth -> A major American city is nearly decimated -> The X-Men and Magneto save the day -> Fin.

I was really looking forward to seeing Jessica Chastain. Ever since Crimson Peak and Molly’s Game she has been one of my favourite actors. It is a shame, then, that she shows no emotion in this movie and has about ten minutes screen time.

I feel like there’s always a scene involving somebody’s parents abandoning or disapproving of their child’s mutant powers in a cul de sac estate in an X-Men movie. Maybe it was only X-Men 2 but the police always get involved and get absolutely owned, not realising that pulling a gun on a powerful being who can control your fu***ng mind is a bad idea. Pulling a gun on any mutant is a bad idea. Wolverine took a bullet in the head, rejected it and kept on keepin’ on. Different timelines, I know, but come on. Don’t pull guns on superheroes and don’t @ me.

I’m like a broken record with this timelines shpiel but I honestly have no problems with it. Keep churning out X-Men movies and I will more than likely go see them. However, different timelines doesn’t mean different appearances I would imagine. So if this movie is set in 1992 and the first X-Men was released in 2000, that means Magneto and Professor X have eight years to go from handsome, charming young men in their forties to totally different looking but no less handsome and charming men in their late sixties.
And yes, you might say to me that it’s a film about mutants walking the Earth and co-existing with a species that can’t even co-exist with other humans of a different colour. And I might say to you that I told you to not @ me and that it makes no Gawd Dayum Sense.

Positives

Train scene. Many fighting and impressive CGI. Cian happy with violence.

Rating

Rotten Tomatoes: 20%

IMDB: 5.9/10

TheRathpeaconRambler: 4/10.

Happy Friday folks and have a good weekend. I’m off to Snow Patrol and Metallica. I haven’t listened to either band since I was 14 so I can’t wait to not know the words and get smashed.

Ballad of the Rescuer – The Lost Gecko

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Artwork for the band’s latest release

Happy Friday, folks. I hope ye all have a lovely weekend planned and that the sun will shine, or at the very least the rain will stay away. In my last post, a review of Meghan Ali’s new song, Far Off Shores, I waxed lyrical about the talent that Cork has to offer. What I would like to clear up is that that is not a new phenomenon. Cork is the real capital and with legends like Rory Gallagher and travelling troubadours like Clare Sands to talk of, we can be very proud! Emerging talents can be found in any number of pubs, clubs and venues around Cork, plying their trade in the hope of making it big.

The band that I’m talking about today are far beyond the moniker of ’emerging talent’. It would be much fairer to call them an established set-up. Having formed in 2006 in Cork, The Lost Gecko have recorded 9 EPs, released an album and are due to release another later this year. They have performed in festivals in Amsterdam, Finland, and numerous ones in Ireland.

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The Lost Gecko merchandise is available on their Facebook page

If you get a chance to listen to their 2018 album, Solasta, meaning ‘Luminous’ in Scots-Gael, I would recommend Fan Liom as the go-to track. This song stood out to me not just because of the Irish language but because the arrangement before the verse kicks in is uplifiting and magical. Which brings me onto the song we’re hear to read about!

Ballad of the Rescuer was released on Spotify on May 20th. It has over a 1’000 plays on Spotify, and a good 100 of them are from me the last few days since I first heard the track. It is hard to describe the feeling I get when I hear the opening section of the song. The fingerpicking pattern that opens is beautiful and sad, especially when the low notes of the cello accompanies it. Then, an ethereal, mystic voice fills your eardrums and the ballad of the rescuer begins. For a brief minute I thought to myself that this song and sound was Bon Iver-esque. I copped myself on and saw it for what it was: authentic, beautiful sound from a talented trio.
“There’s nothing left inside of me” is a line that sticks out from the first verse, the minor notes picked at just the right time. I became invested in the rescuer’s journey, living every dip and dive in his mission.

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Malcolm, John and Elaine at a gig last year

A cacophony of sound greets us toward the end of our journey as the percussion comes to the fore. The ballad of the rescuer rings out as all three members of the band give their all for the last act; Malcolm Urquhart on guitar and vocals, Elaine McCarthy on cello and John O’Connor on percussion. It lifts you up for the final scene of the song, an image of the rescuer, exhausted and on his knees at the end of the day, played out by the same beautiful guitar playing and cello accompaniment that we heard at the start.

Well, that review got quite a bit more emotional than I ever intended! You will agree with me once you hear the haunting opening of the song. I can guarantee that as I never lie. Honest Cian, they call me.

Look out for The Lost Gecko’s new album, The Ghost That Minds the Crows, due to be released this year at Claycastle Studios in Youghal with John Burke. They are on Spotify and Youtube so give their pages a follow! The Lost Gecko are playing a number of gigs around Cork in the coming days but they are also supposrting Meghan Ali next month in Maureen’s bar in Cork City. June 23rd, pencil it in. Keep an eye on the blog for more music reviews and news of the bands and artists I’ve already reviewed. Have a good one!

Country Girls

“Take what you can get from Ireland and scoot… Leave before it takes your belief from you, or worse, buries it within you.” So says Finn, a down on his luck poet living in Dublin, advising our main character Kate to leave the Emerald Isle and seek pastures new. His appearance and announcements coincide with the bleaker view of Ireland we see in the latter parts of the play. At first we are told of the haunting beauty of the lakes and the bogs, learning later that even Irelnad’s rugged beauty can not keep someone whose heart is broken by the people and the place.

Edna O’Brien’s debut novel, The Country Girls, was published in 1960. Like the rest of her work in that decade, the book was banned, as were the two sequels, The Lonely Girls, and Girls in Their Married Bliss. On viewing the play last night, one can see why it was banned in the Irleland of the time; Full of sexual innuendo, some playful scenes, a hint of a lesbian relationship and full on mockery of nuns, the crowd would have been up in arms!

Kate and Baba are our two country girls. After Kate’s mother dies in a boat accident and needing a place to stay away from her drunken, abusive father, she goes to live with Baba and her parents. The two girls go to the prestigious convent, St. Enda’s, where Kate excels in all things studious, while Baba is content to study her body and not much else.
Following an incident at school, the country girls make the move to Dublin. The vibrance and non-stop clock of the city life will set the girls on two different paths; Kate on one of heartbreak; and Baba on one of self-discovery.

Instead of drawling on about the different acts and scenes of the play, I think a good indicator of how good this play was was the ending. After Kate says goodbye to Ireland and her past the whole cast comes out and performs a small dance number, with Kate finally running towards the back of the stage as if towards her future. The stage goes pitch black and you’re left to wonder how will she get on in London? I audibly gasped, which I take as a good sign.
The set design was innovative and enjoyable. Every prop was suspended above the stage, ready to be released down when needed and pulled back up again when the scene finished.
Catriona Ennis who played Baba, the foul mouthed and wayward friend, was hilarious and a joy to watch. She commanded the stage when present, generating healthy laughs from the audience.
While the rest of the play was full of life, music, dance or movement, the scene between Kate, played by Grace Collender and Mr. Gentleman, played by Steven McCarthy fell a bit flat. In contrast, the fantastic Collender was a giant in the scenes with her father.

As the play opened, we saw Kate and her mother dancing and running around the stage. I immediately sank into my chair, preparing myself for two hours of an Irish novel told through interprative dance. I’m very glad I was wrong.

The Country Girls is playing in the Opera House until this Saturday the 20th.

My friend ( The Spider)

The spider in my old bedroom and I had an understanding
That if I caught one of his friends downstairs or on the landing
They were fair game for a rolled up newspaper or a tissue on the wall.

Even though he and I never shared a squabble,
Except for the time of the lynx can spray attack debacle,
Evidently he knows that other spiders are a free for all.

I’ve screamed the house down for tiny ones and old ones in the corner already dead,
Jumping on tables for those on the floor and dangling above my head
But my buddy under the skirting board was just fine.

I did gasp and hold my breath when I saw him first,
Overcome with terror and spinner bloodthirst
But he was too fast and escaped just in time.

The more this happened the more worn down I became,
Stopped caring about the miniscule arachnid annoying my brain
And began to stop worrying about him finding a new home in my hair.

I’d see him in the morning when getting ready for school
And in later years at night when I’d come home drunk like a fool,
Him sitting guard outside his 3 inch wooden lair.

I’ve since moved away to lands far across the sea and
Returned to the home of my loving family,
This time demoted to a different room.

I’m sure he didn’t like me much either despite
The good memories I have of my friend, the spider,
All the while sendning his family and friends to their doom.

 

 

Are Ya There Existential Crisis? It’s Me, Cian!

Different moods call for different movie genres. If you’re mourning a lost love then maybe a romcom isn’t for you at that moment in time. Perhaps a comedy might suffice. If you have a day off and no plans then maybe a thriller will keep you ticking over. There’s no problem with watching your favourite movies over and over again, but it’s also nice to explore your horizons. You never know what you will find on Netflix. It’s an endless trove of new and exciting features and series mixed with foreign language shows and old forgotten favourites. You can stumble upon  a new classic or waste an hour watching a terrible flick.  The one thing to be said for the streaming giant is that a lot of their originals are heartwarming and packed with life lessons.

Last week I received some discouraging news about a college course I was applying for. I took it on the chin at the time but didn’t really let it sink in. I thought, “I am man. I feel no pain.” I stayed true to that thought and for the next five or six days I didn’t really think about it other than the fact that I was pissed off it wasn’t the news I wanted.
Thanks to developing a cold over the weekend I lay in bed late and just watched movies all day, every day. This gave me a lot of time to think about life and what I was and wasn’t doing. Yesterday was the height of my man flu and consisted of comedies and conspiracy theories on YouTube. Today I was picking and choosing more carefully. I watched The Princess Bride, Fargo (1995), The Miami Showband Massacre and The Unicorn Store. The latter of these movies will be my main focus of this discussion. The discussion into my fragile manhood and my constant lack of direction. Warning! It’s gonna be a fun read ahead guys.

For context, I’m not happy with my weight and am gonna ship a good two stone of weight before my holiday to Croatia at the end of the summer. My abs will be the communal washing board for the villagers. My biceps will be the rocks upon which waves will break. Cannae wait.
I’m not bringing in any serious money. I came home from New York, leaving behind a well paying job because of a plan for a better future. That plan is in dissaray and now money is not my friend anymore.
Finally, despite years of hitting the beds after serious gym sessions with the lads, I’m still as ghostly white as the young fella Casper who was knocked down up by Whipstaff Manor there about twenty years ago. Awful tragedy that was.
So in conclusion, I am fat, poor and pale. Not the best combination but you can only play the card you’re dealt; or in this case, the cards you’ve repeatedly sought after again and again and again.

The Unicorn Store was a slap in the face for me. It is directed by Brie Larson and stars herself alongside Samuel L. Jackson and Joan Cusack. Larson plays Kit, a 20-something dreamer and creative type who has failed in her own dreams and so decides to make a go of it in the corporate world. Along the way she fights with her parents, deals with difficult co workers and bosses and loses herself a bit in her new pursuit.
There is a scene at the very start of the film when Kit, fresh from flunking out of art school, is flicking through the channels and hearing all about rejection and how she would be better off settling down. This affected me because I was lounging on the couch just like she was and listening to the same message. The only problem is that I haven’t really tried anything. I’ve difted from job to job and hand out to hand out, doing well at these jobs but yearning for something more despite not looking for that thing.
Another scene towards the end depicts Kit and her mother making up and apologising to each other, Cusack reassuring her onscreen daughter that she doesn’t think that she’s a disappointment. This resonated with me because I feel like I’ve been getting cabin fever at home lately and that my parents think that I’m a disappointment. I wouldn’t be surprised if they do, but it also stems back to that I haven’t failed at anything because I haven’t really tried anything.

There’s an open mic night in Cork City that I could go to every monday night that I just choose not to. I didn’t do anything creative in New York for two fucking years except for start this blog which gives me some sanity. I’ve contributed to a few college and online publications for three or four articles. As soon as I begin to realise I might enjoy putting my work out there consistently I just bail and leave it be. I don’t know what’s wrong with my creative side but hopefully this post will kick it into gear.

The ending of The Unicorn Store is positive. I haven’t revealed any actual spoilers because it inspired me to write this post and I thnk that everyone should go and watch it if they get a chance. It shows that you are allowed to have these periods of self doubt, as long as you still stay true to who you are inside. You are all unique and whatever you choose to do in life, do it your way and with passion.
To anybody who reads my blog, whether it be the movie reviews, the sports pieces or theses ones where I give out about myself for a while, thank you for even clicking on the post. It means a lot to me. Here’s to the future; to being an average weight, financially able to support myself and only myself, and pale.

Pet Sematary

For decades now, audiences around the world have been mesmerised, terrorised and astounded by adaptations of Stephen King’s works. The prolific author has seen many of his novels make the big screen. The Shining, Stand By Me and Shawshank Redemption, to name but a few, are all classics and examples of how well a book can be transferred onto the big screen.
Jeté Laurence in Pet Sematary (2019)

Some of King’s more dark and terrifying pieces have found new audiences over the past few years. It was a hit worldwide and a sequel is now being filmed. Like Pet Sematary, it was a remake of a well received take on the horror master’s work. I saw the latter over the weekend and can inform you now that it is as terrifying as the trailer makes it out to be. As King himslef said, it is the one work that kept him up at night. And that’s saying something ya freak!

Pet Sematary opens with the Creed family on the way to their new home in Ludlow. Louis Creed, played by Jason Clarke, is moving to the countryside with his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz), daughter Ellie (Jetee Laurence), son Gage (Hugo and Lucas Lavoje), and cat Church. Trying to escape the frantic city life of Boston, the Creed’s have bought a lovely house with 50 acres of woods attached. In an attempt to work better schedules and reconnect with his kids, Louis takes the day shift at the University health centre where nosebleeds and sprained ankles are the port of call.
Rachel and Ellie discover a graveyard for pets located within their property. They meet Jud (John Lithgow), an older neighnour who seems to know more about the pet cemetery than he’s letting on.
After a shocking death at the univerity, Church being knocked down and terrifying nightmares, Jud shows Louis a place where the living don’t dare to journey and the dead don’t care to stay.

Jason Clarke in Pet Sematary (2019)

Jason Clarke blurs the line between rational professional and unhinged father in this terrifying film. His performance of a man slwoly unravelling while attemting to hold onto his beliefs and what is right was a pleasure to see.
Amy Seimetz was equally as powerful in her role as a guilt ridden wife with a terrible secret. It was in her scenes where she relives her terrible nights alone with her sister that had me fully back in the seat with my eyes almost covered.
The star of the show was young Jetee Laurence. She turns seamlessly from angelic daughter to demonic satan-child at the blink of an eye. I hope she isn’t typecast in the future because she was fanatstic. Terrifying, but great.

I do wish that the film explored the relationship between Rachel and her latte sister. It was terrifying but didn’t finish its journey. The filmmakers teased a horrifying reveal towards the end but left it at that. Just a reveal.
Although I was extremely scared throughout and still don’t know how i manged to eat popcorn while simultaneously, it hasn’t kept me awake at night like I thought it would. I was on edge for a few hours but I’ve moved on. I’ve grown as a person it seems and don’t put too much stock in horror movies anymore. In saying that, give me a romcom anyday.

4/5.

Us – Movie Review

Jordan Peele’s latest horror offering is as mindbending and thrilling as Get Out. However, Us is its own film with its own ideas and impeccable twists and turns. After viewing this earlier tonight and searching twitter for user responses and funny gifs, I’ve decided that it is hard to pick a favourite between the two. There is a lot more going on in this instalment, sometimes to its detriment, but it is clear that it requires at least two viewings.

The film opens in 1986 with a young Adelaide (Madison Currey) walking the boardwalk of Santa Cruz with her father and mother. The parents bicker throughout and when her mother goes to the bathroom and her father ignores her, Adelaide walks down to the beach. She sees a mirror funhouse and enters. Inside, the lights shut off and after trying to find her way out she bumps into a doppelganger of herself. Adleaide begins to scream and the movie cuts to the present day.
Adelaide is now en route back to Santa Cruz with her husband and two children. The adult Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) does not want to revisit the boardwalk where she encountered that terrible horror all those years ago. Her husband Gabe (Winston Duke), obviously doesn’t share her fears. Gabe and the two kids, Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Jason (Evan Alex), are all wrapped up in their own material worlds, choosing image, technology and a mask instead of realising that their mother would rather be anywhere else. Adelaide’s fears come true when a strange family appear at the top of their drive. The doppelgangers have come and are out for blood. What follows is an hour and a bit of intense scares and breathless thrills.

It is another offering from Peele that blurs the lines between horror, psychological thriller and action. The film touches heavily on class divide and the segregation of people. The wealthy and lucky only need worry about their appearance and possessions in life while the doppelgangers, or tethered, only know that they are not worthy of such things and must suffer life down below. Themes such as faith, materialism and ethics are rife throughout. I would implore any viewer to take most of the dialogue very seriously. You don’t know what throwaway line, action or scene might rear its head later on.

Nyong’o steals the show as Adelaide and Red. While Wright Joseph is extremely impressive in her dual performance also, it is the Oscar winner known for her portrayal of Patsey in 12 Years a Slave that blows the audience away. She plays the terrified Adelaide so well while also portraying the deranged and vengeful Red with frightening reality.
As I said earlier, this movie is similar to Get Out in that the twists and turns are impeccable. Us is a proper headscratcher. I won’t give away any spoilers but I guarantee that by the end of the movie you’ll be walking around in your day to day life wondering whether your doppelganger will pop out at any second and take your place. You’ll also be thinking of every line that has been said in the film and linking it all together. The only problem is that just like Det. Kujan, you’ll be too late and Keyser Soze will have been off on his escape already.

Auschwitz and Birkenau

There are very few things or sights in the world that will make me stop in my tracks. I am very rarely caught for words, thinking about what I could write or jot down later. The concentration camps Auschwitz and Auschwitz II (Birkenau) stunned me. While visiting them and getting a tour of the locations only took up a very small amount of time in our weekend trip to Krakow, they will definitely stay with me forever.

Myself and a group of friends spent three days in Krakow, a beautiful city in Southern Poland. I am going to write more about what we did in a later post. Today I will focus on the haunting day we had seeing for ourselves the horrible conditions that Jews and POWs had to live in, as well as the awful ways in whcih they perished. I am so glad that I got to see the camps but we were not a happy group after our day in the west of Krakow.

After flying into Poland late Thursday night, we only had time for a relatively short sleep before rising again. Keli payed extra for private taxis for us on our tourist activities which was a Godsend. We could nap in the car or just sit there in horrible silence, wishing we were still in the land of nod.
Shortly after arriving at Auschwitz, an hour drive west of Krakow, there was a light mood in the air. We got some coffees into us and there were a lot of other groups, mainly couples, chatting and joking. I feel like maybe we were all holding onto the last bit of happiness from our morning. I know plenty of people who had taken the same tour already and the consensus was clear: you will not be in a good mood afterwards.

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Our tour-guide Nina brought us through the buildings in the main camp of Auschwitz. The sprig in our step from ten minutes beofre was immediately wiped out. We walked through many buildings, Nina always in our ear via a radio explaining the purpose of each building and the atrocities that happened inside.
We passed the infamous, ‘Arbeit macht frei’, sign, which means ‘Work will set you free’. This would become a theme of the tour. Although I studied history in secondary school and loved it, I didn’t know or must have forgotten that the Nazis made the Jews and other prisoners believe that they were only in the camp to work and that through this hard work they would eventually be set free. They were trying to exterminate a race of people so they could not cause panic. They told the people en route to the gas chambers that they were being cleaned before their work was to begin. They were told to write their name on their suitcases and to tie their shoelaces together so that they would be easier to find after their cleaning. Little did they know that they were soon to be murdered.

We saw many haunting images that day but the ones that stood out to me will be etched in my memory forever. Mounds of human hair stacked all the way to the back of the wall, a good ten metres away. Mainly brown with flecks of grey, this horrifying testament to the human lives lost over that five year black mark in human history had a profound effect on me. I saw the faces, the fear becoming more and more apparent on the faces of the grown ups while the children were maybe wondering why these strange men were cutting their hair. Maybe some of them realised then and there that they weren’t going to survive this shower.

Countless pictures lined the corridor of another building. Dates of birth, internment and death underlined each picture, sometimes accompanied by the occupation of the prisoner. Monks, teachers, sculptors, priests, officers and homemakers were butcherred alike with no discrimation apart from the fact that they were Jewish or less than the German image of perfection.
Some of the prisoners were children; one boy was 15 when he died in the gas chambers while another girl had just turned 17 before she perished. These two buildings opened my eyes to the reality of the genocide of the Jewish people. Before, it was only a chapter in a history book or the subject matter of an emotional movie. Now, I know that human lives were not lost but taken. As Nina said when asked how long she has been giving tours for and why, it is important that future generations kno what happened there and that it may never be repeated.

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We saw Birkenau, a ten minute drive from the first camp, which is the version of the concentration camps that people would definitely recognise. It has featured as landscape shots and opening sequences for hundreds of movies. The train tracks that ferried millions to their deaths still stand there, while an actual kettle car that held prisoners on their way to their doom has been preserved and sits on the tracks.
This section of the most famous death camp used during the war didn’t affect me as much as Auschwitz. I will say that the ruins of one of the original crematoriums used to incinerate carcasses and evidence of what was going on was tough to take, the sight of the human hair, names on the suitcases and the several red shoes mixed in with the brown and black brogues really brought home the human involvement for me. I know that people might wonder how I never really registered how many lives were lost. I did and I do know that that is an awful amount of people. In this day and age it is so easy to desensitize ourselves to tragedies and loss of life. It is also easy to transfer that sense of detachment back to past genocides and really put distance between ourselves and anything that makes us uncomfortable. That is why it is important to visit these places and empathise and realise.

A monument to the dead lies at the very back of the camp. Instead of some last word on the camp and my experience, I will just leave the message, written in a number of languages at the base of the piece.

FOR EVER LET THIS PLACE BE
A CRY OF DESPAIR
AND A WARNING TO HUMANITY,
WHERE THE NAZIS MURDERED
ABOUT ONE AND A HALF
MILLION
MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN,
MAINLY JEWS
FROM VARIOUS COUNTRIES OF EUROPE

AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU
1940-1945

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