Stranger Things

stranger things

A perfect mix of misfit kids and science fiction, Stranger Things packages everything good about eighties cinema and presents it in eight fun, tense and supernatural episodes.

Set in small town Indiana, the series centres around the disappearance of Will Byers after a day and night of playing Dungeons and Dragons with his friends. This sets his family, and the rest of sleepy Hawkins, into a downward spiral that includes dangerous experiments, government agents and the Upside Down – a parallel dimension filled with other-worldly presence.

Distraught at his mysterious predicament, Will’s pals are the most endearing group of nerds imaginable, struggling against the usual high school bullies while hiding out in the AV room and geeking-out over new radio equipment. Their cool-factor is raised significantly with the arrival of Eleven, a mysterious girl sporting a shaven-head and supernatural powers that could be the key to returning their missing friend.

You’ll find elements of E.T, Jaws, Poltergeist and more than a few nods to Stephen King, but it never feels like a rehash, always sticking on the right side of homage.

There are subtle hints to the influences – watch out for a state trooper reading Cujo while guarding the morgue – and a few that are slightly more obvious like the giant cracked glowing egg that just might remind you of Alien. These are handled really well, bringing an additional element of nostalgia to the series.

The soundtrack adds another layer of cool with with more eighties synth than a Nicolas Winding Refn movie alongside appearances from The Clash, Joy Division and an EXTREMELY effective use of classic Bowie.

All eight episodes are full of suspense, humour and genuine scares – I was totally hooked only a couple of minutes in and couldn’t wait to hit play on the next instalment.

The first season of Stranger Things is available on Netflix now. What are you waiting for?!

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My top films of 2016 (so far)…

While I was working on re-branding the blog over the last few months, I’ve missed out on reviewing some of the 2016’s best films. Still waiting for this years Mad Max or something on that level (that is a MASSIVE ask though…), 2016 has still saw its fair share of strong releases.

So, let’s get into it! My top films of 2016 so far (that I haven’t already covered on the blog) are…

My top films of 2016

1. The Nice Guys

Easily the funniest film of the year so far, The Nice Guys is the perfect mix of comedy and neo-noir featuring perfect performances from Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe.

Tangled into a web of confusing, seventies crime, the unlikely duo are pitched together as their confused detective work clashes on the trail of a dead porn star.

I don’t remember the last time I laughed this much at the cinema – it’s everything good about Inherent Vice and Boogie Nights rolled into a package – watching Gosling and Crowe stumble from one opportune discovery to the next had me in stitches for the full 116 minutes.

My top films of 2016

2. Hail Caesar

The latest film form the Coen brothers, Hail, Caesar is an extremely funny slapstick run through classic Hollywood.

Following Hollywood ‘fixer’ Eddie Manix (Josh Brolin), as he struggles to juggle the tribulations of everything and everyone associated with his production studio, the film deals with a host of challenging characters and situations as Manix works to keep things smooth across his various productions.

At times, the plot feels like it exists purely to link the jokes and cameos but that’s never a problem – they always hit the mark. Hail, Caesar is the Coen brothers best work for a long, long… did I say LONG(?) time.

My top films of 2016

3. Zootropolis

A traditional buddy-cop story with a Disney twist, Zootropolis sees rabbit Judy Hopps heading for the humongous animal metropolis of Zootropolis with dreams of taking the police force by storm.

Hopps hails from a small farm town where her family sell carrots and the worst crime involves some name calling and petty theft. Following a fast and rude introduction to her new surroundings, the new recruit pairs up with a wily fox to solve the conspiracy of missing predators and feral attacks.

It’s funny, exciting and heartwarming – you can’t ask for much more than that!

So, that’s my top films of 2016 so far. What is on your list and what are you looking forward to over the coming months (cough. Suicide Squad!)?

Let me know on Twitter or in the comments section below…

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Trouble with Travel: A quick guide to Orlando

A quick guide to Orlando

We’ve been visiting Orlando for the last eight years and have become pretty well acquainted with the city and all that it has to offer. Don’t be fooled, it’s not just Disney – although it is a good idea to set aside time for plenty of that – there is tons to see and do in Orlando, the food is great and the shopping will have you totally, totally spoiled.

So, if you are already planning a trip or trying to pick a destination, here is a quick guide to Orlando…

A quick guide to Orlando
Food

Priorities, eh? This year was our first time visiting since we gave up eating meat – that changed things up considerably as the fall-back cheeseburger was (literally) off the table and it made grabbing quick eats at the theme parks a little more difficult.

For a quick bite, seek out Panera Bread – their sandwiches, salads and soups are great and pretty reasonably priced. For dinner, you really can’t go wrong with Bahama Breeze for some fresh Caribbean influence or House of Blues for a taste of the good ol’ Southern cooking.

Pro-Tip: If you have packed your stretchy waistband (and I definitely recommend doing so for a Florida vacation), Golden Corral is an all-you-can-eat goldmine – just prepare for a few hours of regret as your body struggles to decipher what just happened.

A quick guide to Orlando
Parks

We normally spend around four or five days of our two-week trip at the theme parks but, if you are on a short vacation, or trying to save a little cash, make sure the one park you don’t miss is Disney’s Magic Kingdom; it has by far the best mix of attractions and experiences.

My personal favourite is EPCOT, I like to think of it as the connoisseurs choice! I know it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but there’s a great mix of fun and culture with some of the best food Disney has to offer (yup, I’m still thinking with my stomach…)

Pro-Tip: Avoid SeaWorld, it’s not worth the price of admission and, well, we’ve all seen Blackfish…

A quick guide to Orlando
Shopping

The main shopping attractions in Orlando are the outlet stores where you can pick up bargains (and I mean bargains with a capital B!) from the likes of Nike, Adidas, Levis and loads more.

If you are shopping for souvenirs, look out for the Disney store at the outlet mall where you can grab a selection of discounted merchandise including toys, pins, shirts and millions more.

Pro-Tip: To find something a little more fancy, head to Mall at Millenia – there, you will find one of the best food courts in Orlando alongside The Cheesecake Factory (I know, more food…)

A quick guide to Orlando
Night Time

The late-night destination of choice in Orlando is Disney Springs (it used to be called Downtown Disney but it is now MASSIVE and re-branded with a new name!) which houses all the shops and restaurants you could wish for.

This is where you will find some awesome places to eat, a cinema which generally has a good mix of new releases and classics (we caught Ferris Bueller’s Day Off this year), a retro-themed bowling alley and boat transportation to most of the Disney resorts if you decide to go exploring.

So, that’s my quick guide to Orlando! Have you been before? What are your must-do’s and what should I check out on my next visit??

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