How to spend less than 24 hours in Hong Kong Part 4

If you might have missed my previous posts to the Hong Kong series I have written, you can check them here:

Part 1  |  Part 2  |  Part 3

The first two times I had less than 24 hours in this cosmopolitan city. The last time I had slightly over 24 hours. This time I had less than 24 hours again.

I stayed at Hop Inn Mody Hostel again which is located in Tsim Sha Tsui. It’s very central, spacious and affordable. I would recommend this hostel, and I would definitely stay here again.

As the posts before, I will list all the things you could do in one day in Hong Kong.

So here we go:

1. Breakfast in a cafe near your hostel:

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Most chinese cities, especially Hong Kong, have plenty of different cafes at every corner that serve delicious pastry, sandwiches, and coffee, all fitting the taste buds of any westerner. Coming from Germany, the country known for its variety of bread, I approve of the cafes in Hong Kong.

 2. Visit the museums:

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Walking to the museum as you can see it in the background

Hong Kong has some interesting and unique museums to offer, especially close to Tsim Sha Tsui in the harbour area. I visited two museums which are in the same building. The Hong Kong Museum of History, and the Science Museum.

Here are some small reviews of the two museums I visited.

  • Science Museum:

I had the feeling that this museum was directed more towards kids. There was a lot of information about the human body, for example, that should be known to adults. Still, I liked how interactive the museum was. There were different activites involved with obtaining the information. It’s definitely worth a visit, even for adults.

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This was pretty impressive. lightning bolts would apear when you touched the glass. I guess it was some magnetic lightning ball.
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There was a hall of mirrors that had special effects, like this one making us small and wide :’D Not flattering at all.
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This one’s already way better. The kid’s face is too hilarious :’D
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This was a triangle-shaped mirror tube. This is what it looked like from the other side. I asked the girl if I could snap a photo of her. Yes, this time I asked to take a photo of a stranger, not the other way around :’D
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And this is how it looked like when I tried to take a selfie in that triangle-tube. It didn’t have the same effect of course. SCIENCE!

So if you have seen everything you wanted to see in Hong Kong, go ahead and have a look inside the science museum. It doesn’t take too much time to walk through it, especially as an adult.

There was also a nail bed where visitors were allowed to lie down on it, and a professional advised what to do. I did it as well, and it didn’t hurt at all. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of that. But it was an interesting experience.

  • Hong Kong Museum of History:

This is in the same building, but you need a different ticket for this. I heard of my friend Josie that it was a highly interesting museum about the dramatic history of today’s Hong Kong. With that I mean the outcome of Hong Kong as a city it is now. It has so many influences from different cultures that make the city so unique like no other in the world. The museum explains how Hong Kong has developped to the city it is today. It shows the ecological development, the unique appearance of ecosystems and animals in this city, and then, finally shows the influence of its chinese origin, the british opium war and the effects of the japanese occupation. All of these incidents are reflected in the city’s unique culture, and have shaped Hong Kong into today’s modern, cosmopolitan city.  Hong Kong might be the most unique city I have visited. You can neither compare it to other chinese cities, nor western countries. 

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This is something like a small wish shrine

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Traditional masks for street performances
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These fishing boats still exist today.
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Its really impressive that traditional restaurants in Hong Kong and China still have the same architecture today.
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The Japanese occupation
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How cute the shops looked like <3

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There were so much more beautiful photo opportunities. These are the most beautiful snaps I took though.

I am usually not a big fan of museums, but this one was pretty cool. It reminded me of the Story of Berlin museum a little bit.

3. Visit Mammy Pancake – Again:

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I had to get some of these delicious treats again, before leaving China for good. This time I got sweet potato (the purple one) and Sesame. The sesame one was a bit disappointing. I thought they’d fill it with black sesame paste, but it was just sprinkled with light sesame. Sweet potato was the bomb though. Nothing compared to green tea chocolate though :)

4. Stroll along the promenade:

When I walked towards the promenade at Tsim Sha Tsui, I couldn’t believe my eyes. There was heavy fog hanging above the skyline making it look like some sick special effect of a science fiction movie. It looked so beautiful, with the boats sailing in the harbour, and the sun slowly setting into the white curtains of the sky. 

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The weather was really nice. It wasn’t too hot, so you could comfortably walk around in short clothes. Unfortunately, I just had a sweatshirt, so I was sweating like crazy.

Still, I had to say goodbye to beautiful Hong Kong for good. Of course, it has always been a bit stressful to just visit this amazing city more of less for 24 hours, but the more often I visited, the more I appreciated it. I had a last view on Hong Kong, and then headed to the airport already.

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My flight was in the evening, and I would be back in Yuyao in the evening, early enough to take a shower and find some good night’s rest. The next day, I had one more trip left which was to Shanghai with the laowais (Ana, Josie and Alessandro).

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you have ever been to Hong Kong, feel free to recommend me some more places to visit for next time :)

Thanks for reading and travelling with me!

Merveille.

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Movie Review – Birdman by Alejandro G. Inarritu

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Original Title: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Cast: Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma stone, …

Date of Publication: August 2014

Length: 119 min.

Genre(s): Comedy, Drama

Last week, I finally watched this movie. And I was quite amazed. I have been waiting for this movie because of the cast. I didn’t exactly know what to expect from the plot, but it turned out that it was very good, and it was even slightly different than what I had expected.

Directing and Plot:

The directing was probably the most stunning thing about this movie. It was a one-shot take, or at least, it should seem like there was no cut at all. This strenghtened the effect of watching a staged play more, since theatre is also one topic of the movie. Somehow the way the movie was filmed, reflected the topic of the movie. The movie obviously criticized action blockbuster hollywood movies with a lot of “explosion porn”. And the movie itselt contained only one scene in which explosives were shown, but this scene was all happening in the head of the main character. I liked this parrallelism of the directing and the plot.

Acting:

I was so amazed by the acting of everyone, especially Edward Norton, since he also belongs to my favourite actors ever. His character was hilarious, and I liked his relationship with Michael Keaton’s and Emma Stone’s character. I also liked the latter both as father-daughter relationship. There was also character developping going on between them, since they were fighting a lot at the beginning about being famous and getting recognized. By the end of the movie, they finally reconciled. I also liked how Watts’ character developped, and the lesbian kising scene with her friend. That reminded me of Black Swan a little bit. Anyway, it had some similarities with Black Swan I notice. Zach Galifianakis’ role was a different one we usually see, so that was another surprise.

Favourite scenes:

I had quite a few favourite scenes. The one in which he imagines himself blowing up cars and stuff, then flying over the rooftops. And then the scenes at the theatre when Norton tries to have sex with Naomi Watts’ character on stage :’D And also the scene in which Keaton’s character has to walk around in his pants then appears at the back door of the theatre. And of course, the whole gun story. I also liked all the schizophrenic scenes of Keaton in which he talks to Birdman who is basically his movie figure alter ego. I also loved the korean man at the beginning of the movie :’D how he reacts to Birdman is hilarious.

Final review – 4/5 stars: Tolle Regie, interessantes Thema, könnte jedoch für manche etwas langatmig werden.

Buchrezension: “Shopaholic to the Stars” von Sophie Kinsella

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Autor: Sophie Kinsella

Veröffentlicht: 25. September 2014, Dial Press. Paperback.

Genre: Chick Lit, Liebesroman

Seiten: 400

Sophie Kinsellas neues Buch beschreibt das Dillemma zwischen Familienbande und Hollywoodkarriere. Leider kommt es oft zu klischeehaften Zwischenfällen und unnachvolziehbaren Taten.

Das Buch fängt sehr unterhaltend an mit einer lustigen Szene in einem Sportmodegeschäft. Der Leser wird sehr gut in die Handlung, den Hauptcharakter und die Atmosphäre geleitet. Auch im Verlauf des Buches kommt es noch zu vielen lustigen Szenen. Oft musste ich wirklich laut loslachen. Als Leser kann man am Anfang auch sehr gut mit Becky sympathisieren. Manchmal habe ich sogar Parallelen zwischen mir und ihr entdecken können. Gegen Ende wurde sie jedoch etwas egoistisch und ich fand ihre Taten etwas kindisch und unverantwortungsbewusst. Es gab dann natürlich immer wieder Stellen im Buch, die weniger interessant waren, aber dafür gab es einige Höhe- und Wendepunkte im Buch, die ich so nicht erwartet hätte.
Eins muss man Sophie Kinsella wirklich lassen: Sie schafft es den Leser immer wieder zu überraschen, obwohl der Plot an sich simpel zu sein scheint als so mancher Fantasy-Roman.
Die restlichen Charaktere fand ich eigentlich ganz okay für einen Chic-Lit Roman. Ich mochte Danny Kovitz sehr und Luke fand ich auch ganz sympathisch.
Was ich auch sehr unterhaltend fand, waren immer die verschiedenen Briefe, die vor einem Kapitel zwischendurch auftauchten :D
Das Ende vom Buch fand ich etwas enttäuschen, aber dazu sag ich vorerst mal nichts.
Der Schreibstil ist leicht zum Lesen und sehr unterhaltsam gestaltet.
Sophie Kinsellas Bücher sind oft wegen der Shopping-bezogenen Themen bekannt, in diesem Buch jedoch rückte das Thema Shopping etwas in den Hintergrund. Stattdessen wurde der Hollywood-Hype etwas auf die Schippe genommen bzw start kritisiert. Die meisten Leser mag dies vielleicht stören, aber da dies mein erstes Shopaholic-Buch war, hab ich keinen Unterschied bemerkt.

Fazit: 3/5 Sternen – Für eingefleischte Shopaholic-Fans mag dies eine Enttäuschung sein, ist aber auf jeden Fall ein Blick wert.

Book Review: “Brave New World” – Aldous Huxley

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Author: Aldous Huxley

Genre: Dystopia, Science Fiction

First published in: 1932

Pages: 229

This novel amazed me in a different way than 1984 did. In 1984, I was amazed due to its frightening reality that could easily be applied to our society today. In Brave New World, I would go as far as to consider this described world not as dystopia, but as utopia. For many people it would be a great world to live in, in which you get drugs for free, and in which you are not supposed to lead a serious relationship, or even to marry someone. It is a society that fosters people to have a lot of sex with as many different people as possible. Furthermore, in this society, even the middle-class and low-class people don’t have to work hard. It seems to be a perfect world, but then, the ‘savage’ comes who stands for the old society, namely, our society today in which we marry and have a family, and in which we have to work hard to secure a good living. The contrast between those two worlds is unbelievably written by Huxley. Still, one wonders what the point of all this might be. For me, I thought that this book does not only compare a utopian/dystopian world to our world today, but also stands for a tribute to family love. That’s what I especially felt while reading this. And I liked that the message of this book is not as obvious as it seems :)

Final rating – 5/5: An unbelievable world created by an author with an amazing writing style. And the message behind it is immense.

Book review: “Before I fall” by Lauren Oliver

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Last week, I began reading this book. The daughter of our family friend gave it to me, because I showed interest in the book after she told me about it. When we visited them last week (post is coming), she remembered and gave it to me so that I could read it. I began reading it immediately, and I couldn’t stop anymore. After The Time Machine, this was a bit more refreshing. I noticed that I am still a fast reader when it comes to new books/bestsellers. And I also read it in German, which can also be a reason that I read it quite fast. The german cover looks like this:

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“Wenn du stirbst zieht dein ganzes Leben an dir vorbei, sagen sie”. A long title, right? But quite an interesting one. It is definitely not the exact translation of “Before I fall”. If you would translate the german title exactly into english, it would be something like: “When you die, your whole life passes you by, they say” (wow, there is even a rhyme :’D). I think the meaning in “Before I fall” should refer to that sentence. That’s how they translated it. Although it is not the exact translation, I somehow like it. I think a lot of buyers were interested by this mysterious title. I was also wondering what it was all about. So I read it. And I can tell you that it is damn good.

I would say that this novel belongs to the category of YA novels. In the last few years, I kind of neglected this category, athough it has a lot of good novels. I just didn’t have time to read these kinds of novels anymore, because of uni stuff. I was also on a classics trip, so I always bought and read classics. Now, I also try to fit in some YA and new bestseller novels.

I liked this novel, because it shows the life of many different teenagers. Because there are so many different characters, it was very interesting for me to read. I love books with a lot of characters, and character description and development is important for me in order to like a book. And this one had a lot of development. Although I missed some further appearance descriptions of characters like Elody or Ally, or even Samantha, I was quite content with the descriptions appearing one after another.

The plot of the novel was quite interesting. At first, I thought that she could actually rescue herself, but when she woke up the same day over and over again, I have given up hope, until she found out about the connection to Juliet. From those last few pages on I just couldn’t wait to find out what would happen.

I think the message this book conveys is quite clear: Karma. You get what you give. Samantha, the naive, passive girl who admires her friend Lindsay, has to be punished for bullying the outsider of the school, Juliet.

I like how Lauren Oliver manages to criticizes bullying at school by connectin it to life and death. I also like that Samantha doesn’t decide to abandon her friends, especially Lindsay. The author successfully praises bonds of friendship, no matter how sick your friends are, or how bad their past is.

I somehow could connect quite good to Samantha. I wasn’t a popular girl at school in the past. Actually, never was popular. I was never bullyied though. Most people liked me I think, but not in the way that I was the coolest girl at school. In university, things like these were not important. When I began to study, everything had changed, even my friend group. Almost every weekend, we went to another party. A friend of mine always organized the pre-gaming at her place. She could have been like Lindsay, or even Ally :’D Another thing that reminded me of my past was Kent. I think he would have been my type: curly hair, green eyes, and tan skin. There was actually a guy I was in love with during the years of my A’levels. He also had curly hair and a tan skin, and he seemed to be quite creative and chaotic :’D Unfortunately, it has never worked out as well as it did with Samantha and Kent.

Well, back to the novel. I would recommend it to everyone who want to have a light, yet exciting and interesting read. However, I don’t know if I like the ending or not. I am somehow somewhere in-between.

Final rating – 8/10: A good writing style, interesting character constellations, mysterious plot. What else can a reader want? Two points off because some characters were not described as well. But all in all, a book that is worth the read.

Film review: “Captain Phillips”

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Director: Paul Greengrass

Writers: Billy Ray (screenplay), Richard Phillips (based upon the book “A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea” by).

Stars: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi,…

I have to admit that I didn’t expect this movie to be so good. It began a bit slow and boring in my opinion, and I was distracted several times, but it immediately got exciting and nerve-wrecking. The movie is 134 min long. It might be a bit too long, but I think it’s necessary in order to explain such a story, and display the characters in a stunning way. 

Except for the main story of this movie, I liked to see the differemt aspects of the pirates. Somehow I pitied them. Of course they were criminals, but I don’t believe that they were evil. I think the director did a great job in displaying the despair of them. There were some scenes in the lifeboat which struck me. For example when they talk about their bosses. Of course Phillips is right when he says that everyone has bosses, but I think the real bosses of those pirates is life itself. The coincidence that the ship has food for poor people in Africa was very ironic. I could even understand why Musa was especially wanting to take Philips with him. I don’t want to say that it was good that they captured him, but I just could understand how they might hate the West, especially America, that catches the fishes out of their seas, just to send them some “american food” and make them dependent. I can understand the hatred and the striving for power in this case. 

Another question I asked myself was that if it really is necessary to kill 3 people to save one? Phillips looks like the victim, but aren’t those pirates victims as well? These questions occupied me after the movie, and now I feel better after posting them here. Here, the movie did a great job. Not every movie manages to show differemt aspect to a situation and gets the audience to think about it.

In the end, we were all happy that Phillips survived, of course. Tom Hanks did a great job, again. I can’t really decide what he acted the best: The Courage while leading a crew in such a situation, The Fear in the lifeboat, or the Shock after the situation. 

It is a true story, which makes it more difficult for the actors to act, because they are limited in improvising. Both, Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi did an excellent job. I sympathetized for both character, to be honest. And like mentioned before, Greengrass did a great job with displaying such a situation and the different aspects on it and the characters.

Final review – 9/10: Might be a bit too slow in the beginnijg, but the movie blows you away and even gives you some questions to think about.

Movie Review: “American Hustle”

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Finally, I have seen one of the Oscar favorites. American Hustle, Gravity, and Her are actually those movies I liked to see the most. The Wolf of Wall Street and 12 Years a Slave are also on my to-watch list. I know, I haven’t seen much of the nominees. It was the same last year. I haven’t seen Life of Pi, but was so sure that it would get many Oscars. And it did, and I was so happy :’D I watched the movie a few weeks later. 

This year, it is going to be hard I guess, but I think that American Hustle will profit from the actors category. I enjoyed the movie mostly because of the big range of characters. The story and plot were interesting as well, but at the beginning it was a bit complex. However, got exciting. 

When it comes to the characters, I was very delighted with Jennifer Lawrence and Christian Bale. They did such a good job. Bale’s role somehow had a sad undertone. He wasn’t quite the beautiful ideal for a man with his belly and bold head. He also stated that he has never met a woman like Sydney, or never had a friend like Carmine. This made me very sad, but at the same time I realized that many people must feel like him. That’s also why I liked Jennifer Lawrence’s role so much. She played a mad wife. Someome who loves her husband madly but doesn’t get that love back, is even considered as stupid and crazy. There are also many people who probably feel like her. They both were just brilliant. Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper were good as well, but Lawrence and Bale were the more dominating characters in my opinion. Oh, and I also was surprised about the little role of Robert de Niro. He somehow seems to always have a gangster role :’D I liked his role, and the fact that he spoke arabic. 

I don’t want to say more about the plot, it is a bit complex. You just have to watch it. But one thing I didn’t like about it was the ending. I wished that Irving somehow would have managed to save Carmine, because he really didn’t deserve to get arrested. And I wished that Irving got together with his wife again. And I thought it was kind of strange that Rosalind just left her son with Sydney and Irving. The ending could have been a bit better maybe. But the movie itself was very good. 

Final review -7/10: I imagined it to be better. However, if you like a complex plot with a big variety of characters, and enough funny scenes to laugh about (oh yes, there were plenty), then you should watch it. 

Book review: “Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov

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Nabokov is a Genius! one of the greatest authors ever! This man has grasped what literature means, namely art and aesthetics, and this book clearly showed me that, despite or because of that taboo topic. Every book fan might by now found out what this book is about. Some call it perverse, disgusting or immoral. But I think this book is a beautiful description of childhood, memories, nostalgia, and love, mixed with darkness, violence and feeling of being lost. This is the impression I got from this book. This, and way more things which I can’t grasp yet.

In this book, another kind of perversity is described. Humbert Humbert is not turned on by femininity, but by childishness. I, as a reader, have clearly seen his overly exaggerated and almost sick love, or rather a perverse, and later sexual obsession towards a little girl child from which Humber even tries to escape, but then blames a little girl of seducing him.
I had the impression that he loved Dolores more than her mother Charlotte did. I even was happy after she died. At the beginning of the book, I even sympathetized for Humbert Humbert, because he wasn’t bad at heart, intelligent and a handsome man. But more important was his past which was so sad. It had a nostalgic melancholy about his past and his childhood love Annabel which he never got over with. His feelings for a girl child were always inside him, all these years. Although he was a handsome man fancied by many women, his wife still cheated on him. I think this event showed his hatred against grown women who tend to cheat driven by sexual, or material reasons. A child is pure and innocent. However, Lolita rather seemed to be like a grown-up, seducing boys and accepting gifts from H.H. So she didn’t really fit to the innocent picture of a little girl Humbert knew from his childhood and from Annabell. Of course it could be that Lolita was lying about her virginity, or Humbert exaggerating it. But I had this picture of Lolita being an innocently impure. She probably loved Humbert Humbert as well, since she calls him “honey” at the end of the book. I think that Humbert has a special place in her heart, because he was a replacement for a father. There is also this theory that a girl chooses his lovers according to his father. Here, Humbert had the role of both. She chose to revive her dead father in Humbert, while he chose to revive Annabel in Dolores, and lived his childhood love as an adult: “[…] while I passed by her in my adult disguise[…]”. For me, this sounds so sad and bizarre, yet beautiful at the same time. And right this is the reason why this book is a work of literary aesthetic. This work doesn’t teach you not to rape a child. A pedophile wouldn’t be convinced by a book, even if it is from Nabokov. He himself wrote in the afterword of this book that it is nonsense to try to analyze literature. At least for his piece of work, he states, that the author has no purpose, nor is trying to say something with that. I think many pupils and students would love Nabokov. He also says that he himself is not a didactic writer and didn’t intend Lolita to teach something. “For me a work of fiction exists only insofar as it affords me what I shall bluntly call aesthetic bliss, that is a sense of being somehow, somewhere, connected with other states of being where art (curiosity, tendernesy, kindnesy, ecstasy) is the norm.”
I could write pages and pages about this book, but these are the main things I wanted to write. I can understand that many people didn’t like this movie, but somehow I also feel sorry for them because they did ‘t grasp this wonderfully written book, which is more than a story about a pedophile.

Movie Review: The Place beyond the Pines

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Director: Derek Cianfrance

Writers: Derek Cianfrance, Ben Coccio, Darius Marder

Cast: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes

Genre: Crime, Drama

140 min.

***SPOILER ALERT!***

I watched this movie yesterday and I am still under the impression of it. The whole movie in itself is a masterpiece. The story is quite interesting with the destinies of those different people who are connected with each other in this kind of way. For me, this movie showed me how wrong the keepers of justice can be about a ‘criminal’ as they call it. Just because he robbed banks he was considered to be a bad humand and deserved to be killed. The truth however was, that he was a loving father who was dismissed my society. The powerful people are the real criminals in this movie, as well as the police officers who have worse intentions than Luke. It is also remarkable how Avery tries to gring justicd after Luke’s death. He notices that it was not a good deed to kill someone, even if it was a criminal. They have lifes, families, and loved ones as well. And Avery noticed this. He was chased by his deed so much that he couldn’t look his son in the eye, and so much that he kept the photo of Luke and his family in his purse all these years.

A really moving film, with great acting I have to remark. Ryan Gosling is getting betterand better with each movie. I never saw a movie from him which wasn’t good. His role in this one was utterly remarkable! The emotions of love he showed towards his son and Romina were just heart breakingly sad. Especially the scene in the church was so sad :'( My favorite scene of the whole movie was the ice-cream scene, or the photo-session scene. It was beautiful, melancholic, funny and touching at the same time.

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Eva Mendes is my favorite Latina anyway, so I loved her in this one as well. I could say that I am ver jealous of her because she always acts together with beautys in her movies: Paul Walker, Johnny Depp, and now Ryan Gosling. Then, there is Bradley Cooper, who, after Silver Linings surprised me even more with his role in this movie. He is also one of those hotties who are not just only good looking, but also do great movies. He had some not-so-good movies as well, but with every movie he makes, he gets better. I hope I will see more good movies from him.

At the end of the movie I cried. It wasn’t sad at all. It was rather a good ending. But with this scenery, and the voice of Bon Iver, I realized how much this movie has taken me in, has impressed me so much that I couldn’t help but let a silent tear roll down my cheek. During the film, there were more sad scenes (Ryan Gosling’s crying face is the saddest and at the same time cutest thing on earth), but I didn’t have time to cry, because I was so focused on the film and how the story went on, that I could let my emotions flow only at the end,when it got calm.

Final review-10/10: Already now, this movie belongs to my most favorite movies of all time! I can only recommend you to watch this!

Review: The Heat

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Director: Paul Feig

Writer: Katie Dippold

Cast: Sandra Bullock, MelissaMcCarthy, Marlon Wayans

Genre: Acttion, Comedy

117 Min.

This movie is one that combines different genres other than comedy. It also has a lot of action and crime, as well as Drama, and a little bit of love. Sandra Bullock always did a great job as an actress, and I have never watched a movie of her which I didn’t like. She can do anything from action, to comedy, to Drama, and Romance. I haven’t seen many Melissa McCarthy movies,  but the ones I have seen were rather shocking comedies, like bridesmaids which I have utterly disliked! In this one, however, she really did a great job, because her character had different facettes to it. Somehow it seems like Sandra Bullock can improve everyone’s career whom she is working with. I also was surprised about seeing Marlon Wayans in a movie again. The Last movies I have seen of him were rather old  like Scary Movie or White Chicks. He had a small role here, though. 

Now to come to the movie.  It is a usual comedy movie with the usual scenes we are used from other comedy movies e.g. two opposite characters getting along int the end, an unexpected revelation, or the typical drunken scene in a bar. 

Final review-7/10: It isn’t a movie with new topics or concepts, but can be watched for a good laugh and Sandra Bullock’s acting abilty.