Thursday, 27 October 2016

My Top 10 Halloween Films



It's finally Halloween season and I couldn't be happier, I love this time of year - not just because it's a guilt-free day to load up on sugar. But I love dressing up, going to parties, seeing all the decorations, carving pumpkins, it's just a lot of fun in my eyes. Some argue this holiday is overrated or just for children but I'd have to disagree - have some candy and enjoy yourself! Now as Halloween quickly approaches, I'm sure you've all realised the bombardment of horror films in the cinema. I say skip the cinema this year and host your own thrill-fest! For me, it just wouldn't be Halloween without dedicating a whole evening (or day) to watching some of the most dark and twisted films about. Watching behind a large pillow is also optional... Whether you love your candy apples with a zombie horror, your eyeball cupcake with a demonic flick or your pumpkin pie with something a little more light-hearted, I've got you covered for the ultimate Halloween film night! Invite your friends round, lock the door, turn off the lights, grab your popcorn and enjoy!
 
Halloween
A Halloween movie marathon would just not be complete without including the film named after this holiday. Released in 1978, John Carpenter's 'slasher film' began one of the most successful horror franchises spawning a whopping seven sequels and creating one of the most iconic horror villains. After a six year old Michael Myers kills his sisters, he is committed, however fifteen years later he escapes looking for revenge. (Trailer)
  
Scream
Scream is definitely a Halloween classic, redefining the horror genre in 1996. With a great cast, great storyline and actually some pretty good scares, Wes Craven directed a film that I keep watching year in, year out. The film's plot is actually quite smart, mocking the conventions of horror which had become clich├ęd at the time. Spawning three sequels and a television series (I keep meaning to start watching it!), this film is a must for Halloween. (Trailer)
   
The Strangers
I remember watching this film when I was about twelve and it absolutely terrified me. Based on true events, this film is centred on a young couple who are terrorized one night by three masked assailants. Even now, it's probably still one of my favourite Halloween flicks. This home invasion horror is suspenseful, creepy and full of terrifying scares so that means you need to go watch it! (Trailer)
      
Friday The 13th
This film is another ultimate 'slasher film' which started off a highly successful horror franchise with the latest being released in 2009 and a new one already in the works for a 2017 release. I thoroughly enjoyed the 2009 film which was conceived as an origin story which had some brutal deaths and plenty of scares. However it has put me off going camping forever... (Trailer)
 
A Nightmare On Elm Street
Another film from the late 2000's and another remake (Hollywood do love their remakes) is A Nightmare On Elm Street. A lot more terrifying and creepier than the original, this film revolves around a group of teenagers who are being stalked in their dreams by a burnt man called Freddy Kruger. So have fun trying to sleep after this one. One, two, Freddy's coming for you... (Trailer
 
The Cabin In The Woods
I watched this one years ago with a friend and I was terrified but absolutely loved it! If you want good scares, action, tension and a multitude of crazy and wonderful monsters then this film's for you! It starts off like your everyday run-of-the-mill horror film; a group of students retreat to a remote forest cabin and fall victim to... BUT! There's a twist in this one with an absolutely crazy ending! (Trailer)
 
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Now for something a bit more light-hearted. Whether you think it's a Halloween film or a Christmas film, it's amazing either way - heck watch it for both holidays! It revolves around Jack Skellington from 'Halloween Town' who stumbles into 'Christmas Town' which has some hilarious consequences. If you've never seen this film, then get to it now! (Trailer)
 
The Conjuring
Now this film is genuinely terrifying! There's not many supernatural horror films out there that actually frightened me as much as this one did! It revolves around Ed and Lorraine Warren, paranormal investigators, who come to the assistance of the Perron Family who are experiencing increasingly disturbing events in their farmhouse. With the possibility of a second sequel in the works and countless spin-off films, it's no surprise that it's one of the highest-grossing horror films of all time. You be the judge and check it out for yourself... but I warn you, it will put you off hide and seek for life! (Trailer)
 
Zombieland
This ones for all the zombie geeks out there. It has everything you could ever want from a zombie flick; an amazing cast, great scares, countless funny moments and more dead people you could shake a stick at. Definitely check this out if you want a good chuckle with your zombie brains. Now all I have to do is wait for the sequel... (Trailer)
 
Corpse Bride
Another classic from Tim Burton. How can you not watch this film at Halloween? Starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, one man's mistake during his wedding rehearsal finds himself married to the corpse bride! So two brides; one dead, one alive and one very confused groom, who will be pick? This film is brilliant and full of laughs for the whole family with Burton still incorporating his dark and creepy tones into the madness. (Trailer)

So there you have it folks, my top 10 Halloween films! What are some of your favourite scary films to watch over this horror season? Do you think I've left any out? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time guys.
Robert

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Thursday, 13 October 2016

The Girl On The Train | Film Review



So it's been exactly a week since I went to see The Girl On The Train. I can't believe it's taken me a whole week to actually post this, it's so difficult trying to juggle University, work and blogging. But anyway, here's a bit of a brief background story. This time six months ago I had never even heard of the book, The Girl On The Train, actually this time three months ago I had never heard of it. It was only this summer on my trip to Mallorca that I decided I really wanted a good book to read to keep me occupied while relaxing in the sun. So I chose this one and (oh my god!) it did not disappoint! I don't class myself as a big reader but I couldn't put this book down. Page after page, chapter after chapter, it had me gripped from the very start. I needed to know what was going to happen. I may have got sun burnt in the process but it was worth it. I don't care what anyone says, it was the best book I had read in a very long time. Since I found out there was going to be a film adaptation released just two months later with Emily Blunt cast as the leading lady, I honestly couldn't wait. So you could imagine my excitement walking into the cinema with my friends to watch the film I had been obsessing over for the past couple of month. With tickets bought in advance, great seats, and popcorn at the ready, it was finally time to watch it! So check out my honest review of The Girl On The Train below and find out how it compares with the book.



NO SPOILERS
 
So The Girl On The Train stars Emily Blunt as Rachel Watson, an alcoholic divorcee who inadvertently becomes wrapped up in a missing persons investigation. Once married to a man named Tom Watson, the pair lived on a perfect suburban street overlooking the sea and the train tracks that stretch into Manhatten. However due to personal circumstances which drives Emily to drink, Tom begins having an affair with a woman called Anna. This pushes Rachel over the edge and she moves out to live with her friend. Rachel travels the Hudson Line everyday where she averts her eyes from her previous home where Anna is now bringing up a child with Tom. She now fixates on a couple living next door who she believes is the "embodiment of true love." However one morning she see's something that changes everything and derails her fantasies for good. As a woman named Megan Hipwell goes missing, Rachel confides in Scott Hipwell, acting as an old friend of Megans which draws her further into the investigation. Secrets are uncovered, trust is broken, lies are told and after the events of one night, life will never be the same for these characters. However does Rachel's own lapse of memory due to drinking hide her own guilty secret? 
 
So here's my take on The Girl On The Train. Lets start by saying I preferred the book over the film. I thoroughly enjoyed the eagerly anticipated adaptation and I was on the edge of my seat with suspense but I was still a little disappointed. Don't get me wrong Erin Crissida Wilson remains structurally faithful to Hawkin's novel, but I don't understand why some changes were made travelling from the page to the screen. The book was set in England so I'm not sure why the film is set in New York, it gave the film a completely different feel to it. Also Rachel and Scott's relationship wasn't explored and delved into as much compared to the book, omitting a specific bedroom scene that I'm sure many fans were looking forward to seeing. I also felt that the film as a whole was a bit anti-climatic which I didn't get from the book. But all in all I'm so glad this film stayed on the tracks and stayed true to the incredible storyline.
 
This film had mystery surrounding all of it's characters, drama and some of the most intense scenes I've watched in a long time. In the end, however, the whole movie rests upon the shoulders of Emily Blunt, and she holds it all together, even as her character is falling apart. I've seen Emily in many films from The Devil Wears Prada to the Edge Of Tomorrow but nothing like this. She pulled it out of the bag, playing the hell out of this blackout drunk and adding a touch of welcome sympathy. The casting was superb, especially the three leading ladies who all gave incredible performances. The Girl On The Train has the perfect balance of suspense, darkness and danger. From Tom's psychological torment to the apparent utter helplessness of Rachel to the vast secrecy of Megan, TGOTT takes a darker yet more sympathetic change from the book. The deceit and horror that unfolded on the pages was adapted brilliantly onto the screen. From the cinematography, to the shocking revelations to the final reeling moment, The Girl On The Train is a brilliant film and is one not to be missed.
 
Apart from one continuity error that I don't want to get into (it will lead to crucial spoilers) as well as some bizarre changes, I thoroughly enjoyed this film. After hyping myself up to see it and ignoring the mixed reviews, I actually think it did the original novel some justice. However I do prefer the book over the film. I think some critics are being incredibly harsh on the movie but we all know you shouldn't believe everything you read. So that's my honest review of The Girl On The Train. That's my very first review on here so hopefully you enjoyed reading it. If you have ANY interest in TGOTT yourself, then what are you waiting for? Grab your ticket, wait on the platform and become amerced in the life of Rachel Watson.
 
Are you going to see The Girl On The Train? What are your thoughts on it? Do you prefer the book like me or the film? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time folks.
Robert
 
 

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Tuesday Tunes | October Playlist


Good morning everyone! I hope you're all having a brilliant day! So I think we can all agree that summer is well and truly gone. We can tell just by the cool, crisp mornings and the sound of colourful leaves crunching below our feet. So I thought it would be the perfect time to share with you guys my October Playlist. All of these songs have been stuck in my head for the past few weeks or even months and I doubt I'll be getting bored of them anytime soon. So with Autumn in full swing, this playlist is perfect for your everyday commute, sunset stroll, weekend adventure or basically any other Autumn situation you may find yourself in. Enjoy!
 
 
So we're kicking this playlist off with a bit of DNCE. After hearing Cake By The Ocean back in the summer, I immediately became a fan of theirs. So when I heard they were releasing another single, I was very excited. And boy, Toothbrush does not disappoint! They've incorporated everything that was great about CBTO and created another song you can sing at the top of your lungs to - believe me, I've tried to hit them high vocals, doesn't work. Now Dua Lipa is slowly becoming one of my favourite newcomers of 2016. I hadn't heard of her before Hotter Than Hell but she's released some brilliant songs before that. Her new single, Blow Your Mind, is so catchy and I know I'll be singing it right the way through these colder months.
 
It seems like Justin Bieber is everywhere at the moment. And here he appears not once but twice in my October Playlist. I honestly can't get enough of Let Me Love You and Cold Water. Two huge hits by two huge DJ's. Bring on the next one! It seems every time Sia releases a new song the whole world goes crazy and falls in love with it. The Greatest is no different. What a song! Now it seems like Ariana Grande can do no wrong these days. She's just releasing hit after hit and I'm loving her a little bit more everyday. Not only is Side To Side amazing but it's featuring Nicki Minaj. I'll say no more.
 
Now I don't care if Heathens was released back in the summer, it is still an absolute tune. Not gonna lie, I think I'm becoming a bit obsessed with Twenty One Pilots - they're so good! So many male artists are releasing so many amazing songs lately, it was hard choosing which ones to put in this playlist. Of course I had to include Shawn Mendes though. After only the first listen of Treat You Better, I loved it and I've been singing it nonstop for the past couple of weeks. It had to be included. Now if I'm honest, when James Arthur released his first single off the back of winning the X Factor in 2012 I was disappointed. But I am so happy that he's back! Say You Won't Let Go is stunning and it shows, with it being at the top of the charts right now. Bring on the next single! Now I thought it wouldn't be long until Calvin Harris drops another banger but I was quite surprised with this one. There was no huge artist featuring or extravagant production behind this one, just his vocals and a catchy beat. It reminded me of his earlier music so this song definitely gets a thumbs up from me.
 
Okay, Galantis can do no wrong in my eyes, they're already one of my favourite dance music acts. They just seem to get better and better with every song they release, Love On Me is amazing! Just give them a listen if you haven't already and get dancing! Now I was never a massive fan of One Direction but I must say, Niall's debut song as a solo artist is absolutely incredible. Just him and his guitar. Simplicity at it's best. The Town is quickly becoming one of my favourite songs right now - I may or may not be listening to it as I type this. But I'm actually really looking forward to hearing more of his material. Lastly, we have Bruno Mars' 24K Magic to end my playlist. Bruno dropped this song out of nowhere last Friday and I've had it on repeat ever since. It's got that Uptown Funk-vibe to it so it's definitely a great song in my eyes. Put your pink rings up to the moon! Bring on album 3!
 
TRACKLIST
DNCE - Toothbrush
Cheat Codes (ft. Dante Klein) - Let Me Hold You (Turn Me On)
Dua Lipa - Blow Your Mind
Emeli Sande - Hurts
DJ Snake (ft. Justin Bieber) - Let Me Love You
Sia - The Greatest
Ariana Grade (ft. Nicki Minaj) - Side To Side
Major Lazer (ft. Justin Bieber & MO) - Cold Water
The Chainsmokers - Closer
Twenty One Pilots - Heathens
Shawn Mendes - Treat You Better
James Arthur - Say You Won't Let Go
Calvin Harris - My Way
Galantis - Love On Me
Niall Horan - This Town
Bruno Mars - 24K Magic
 
So there you have it folks, that's the songs I'm going to have on repeat this month. What's your favourite song on my October Playlist? What songs are you loving at the moment? Let me know in the comments below!
 
Until next time.
Robert
 

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Reasons I love Autumn | Lifestyle


Happy Autumn everyone! So we're well and truly into this season and it won't be long until the clocks go back - really can't wait for that extra hour in bed! Even though it feels like summer only started two minutes ago, I absolutely love Autumn and everything that comes with it. From the cool, crisp mornings to the piles of colourful leaves everywhere to all the festivities on the run up to Halloween and Christmas, I absolutely love this time of year! Not to mention sweater weather - hands up, who's filled their wardrobes with sweaters and jumpers? *raises hand*. So after a lovely stroll through my local park I am currently cocooned inside a blanket on my sofa with hot chocolate and marshmallows. I feel so bloody cozy right now so I thought it would be the perfect time to share with you some of the reasons why I love this time of year so much! 
 
 


The Colour - Honestly there's nothing more beautiful than watching the leaves around you change colour from green to wonderful shades of reds, oranges and yellows. I just find these colours so warm and homely. Walks in the parks are also a must, hearing the leaves crunch under your feet is so relaxing so grab your camera and go exploring - it can be great for that Autumnal Instagram shot.
 
Comfort Food & Hot Drinks Season - It is now acceptable to drink hot chocolate everyday for the next 3 months! If I'm honest I'm not much of a coffee drinker, I just love grabbing some hot chocolate and sitting beside the fire in the evenings. Autumn is also great because of comfort food and I love any and all excuses to eat food. I'm going to try and be a bit healthier this year but sometimes I just can't resist when I see warm cookies or toffee apples.
 
'Tis The Season Of Pumpkins & Halloween - How can you not love Halloween? You get to dress up in costumes, eat sweets, hopefully get scared and have a great time! I already know what I want to be this year and I'm so excited! As well as that I can't wait to see pumpkins everywhere. I really need to up my pumpkin game this year because the last couple of years they haven't turned out well so I'm ready to start carving! Pumpkin-flavoured everything also comes out of hibernation. I'm already seeing everyone walking around with their Starbucks pumpkin-spiced lattes. But I'm more excited to hear that Dunkin' Donuts are making pumpkin concoctions as well! *RIP clean eating* Enjoy pumpkin season!
 
TV Is Way Better - Let's be honest, this is so true. Whether you're into your X-Factor or Strictly or obsessing over the return of The Walking Dead, you have to agree with me on this one. Apart from the exception of Game of Thrones, Autumn/Winter television is 100x better than Spring/Summer. I just love settling down on those dark nights in front of the fire to watch amazing telly with family.
 
Nights Drawing In - Don't get me wrong I absolutely love the lighter summer evenings but I just think the darker nights make everything more cozy. Another excuse to draw the curtains earlier, block the world out and grab another hot chocolate. I also love the cool, brisk autumn mornings as well.
 
Movie Marathons - These are more like movie days instead, let's be honest. Just curled up on the sofa or your bed with a big bowl of popcorn and countless films to watch sounds like a pretty good idea to me. Invite your friends over and make it even better! Have a scary movie-athon on the run up to Halloween or get into the Christmas spirit with a great selection of Winter classics. I know I'm going to be doing that so what are you waiting for?
 
Sweater Weather - Sweaters, jumpers, boots, coats, hats, gloves, scarves, you name it, they'll be pouring out of my wardrobe this season. I love being able to layer when it comes to this time of year and any excuse to start a new wardrobe, am I right?
 
Countdown to Christmas - Need I say more? The countdown to Christmas has already begun and I couldn't be more excited. Obviously I don't show my excitement until Halloween is over with or else I'd get strange looks. But that also means the Christmas market is on it's way! A complete strip of Christmas food, drink, decorations and activities galore. The Christmas market is just the beginning of a long list on why I love the run up to Christmas and it won't be long until it's finally here again! 75 days and counting...

So there's my reasons why I absolutely love Autumn. I can't wait to see what the next couple of months will bring. What do you love most about Autumn? I'd love to know!

So I guess the only thing left to do is to go grab your boots and have fun in the leaves.
Until next time guys.
Robert

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Thursday, 6 October 2016

Uni Edit | Student Living at Home

Welcome back guys! I hope you're all have a brilliant weekend! I've been meaning to post this one for nearly two weeks now. I've had the inspiration just not the motivation to actually sit down and write it. My days have been extremely busy either with University assignments, travelling, work or binge-watching Teen Wolf. I've been wanting to do this post ever since I started my second year at University, I just haven't had the time to. That is, until now. So like I said, I've just started my second year at University, actually just finished my second week of it today. Update - it's 10x harder than first year already - send help! Not only is the workload different (and harder) for me this year but my whole experience in University is different altogether. Last year I was a nervous little bushy-eyed fresher who didn't know much about University but jumped right in at the deep end by moving away from home and lived in student accommodation. This year, it's different. I'm living at home. I'm commuting to University three days a week and honestly I couldn't be happier.
 
Over the past couple of weeks so many students have packed their things and left home for University, however for my second year I decided to stay at home for a number of reasons. For instance, I actually didn't enjoy living away from home as much as I thought I would. I also just didn't have the money to even do anything I wanted - yes, I became the poor student stereotype. But I'm just going to share a few reasons why I changed from living in accommodation near University to commuting every week.


 
 
 
Save Money - This was a pretty big issue for me throughout the majority of first year. Yes I had my student loan AND grant but most of that was being spent on rent and food. I also wasn't living directly on campus as well so I still had a bus journey to take every morning and evening. By living at home this year, I'm saving so much money. I'm commuting my train which doesn't phase me as I love travelling by train. I find it so relaxing; just reading a book or listening to music while passing through the Northern Irish scenery is just perfect. Student accommodation for second years is usually over £200 per month on top of food, drink etc. While I'm only paying around £130 for a monthly train ticket and all of my food is bought at a cheaper price back home. You'll probably be wondering, that's very well but will you not be missing out on societies or even nights outs with your university friends? A lot of my university friends are living up in University accommodation so if I didn't have much work one night and wanted to go out clubbing, then I could crash at a friends house. That's actually what I did at the recent Freshers last week. I honestly don't feel like I'm missing out on that much while saving a heap load of money.    
 
Keep My Job - On a previous post I briefly mentioned that I got a hired at the beginning of summer. This included working weekdays and weekends. That's very well throughout the summer months when the only thing you have to worry about is taking holidays. I really enjoyed having an income and the extra money in my pocket. However I knew that if I got a house near my university for second year then I would have to give my job up. And I really didn't want to do that. So I'm commuting this year and I'm quite glad as I'm only timetabled to be in for 3 days per week. That's given me the opportunity to keep my job, commute to university happily and have that extra bit of money for myself - no more worrying like last year!  
 
Relationships - This was another big one for me. Although there's countless social networking site out there that allows you to stay in touch with your friends and family back home, you still feel a bit disconnected. I remember having to miss out on a lot last year with my old friends and even missed out on family birthdays. Some relationships were put to the test, some were strained, some actually got stronger. But I didn't want the same thing to happen this year. So by staying at home and travelling to university I have time with my new friends but also have way more time to meet up and see my old friends which I couldn't really do this time last year. I also get to spend more time with my family which I absolutely love.
 
Healthy Lifestyle - As you can imagine, the majority of university students live off of pot noodles, pasta, pizza and alcohol. Thankfully, I wasn't that bad. Once Freshers was over last year I did try and make reasonable food choices however they weren't always the cheapest. And I ate sooo many sandwiches that I'm actually sick of them and don't want to see another one for a very long time. But this year, I'm at home and can actually prepare healthier, more delicious lunches. There's also nothing like coming in from a long day at university to a big home-cook meal from your dad. Especially in the colder months. While at home I obviously don't go out and drink as much as I did in my first year but I have more time to exercise and keep fit. That's a big positive in the long run. I always have opportunities to drink while at home or out around university but I feel living at home gives you a much healthier lifestyle.
 
So even though the mornings are a little bit earlier and I don't have as much independence as I did last year, I feel like I'm going to be a lot happier throughout this upcoming year. For me, by staying at home I have the best of both worlds - friends on my course, friends at home, and by earning a bit of extra money through part time work I'm able to do lots of things I couldn't do this time last year. So there you have it folks, that's my reasons for staying at home this year while at university. Sorry it's a bit lengthy but I hope you enjoyed reading it! I'd love to know if you're living in university accommodation this year or staying at home like me.
 
Until next time.
Robert