Shush! It’s a Secret!

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Latimer: I have just learned about the amazing Secret Cinema in London, but guys, it’s a secret so don’t tell anyone 🙂

I would love, love, love to go to one of these. I will make it my mission to experience at least one major Secret Cinema! So, what’s the premise exactly? Well, it’s a fully immersive cinema experience. The Secret Cinema releases what the movie will be, you buy your ticket, then they assign you an identity in line with whatever the film is. You dress up and you turn up to where the Secret Cinema event will be.

The area is a replica of various parts of the film in question, so to use an example, the most recent event was Back to the Future.

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You get dressed up like someone in the Fifties, from the town in question, then you go to the fully immersive town. It was a complete replica of the town square – you could go to the diner, or the school dance. You could talk to the people there, the idea is to ‘be’ in the movie. So, the more you talk to people there, the more ‘story’ you get. They might tell you to do things, or go places. You could even sit down in the diner and have a burger! As in the movie, Biff comes in and fights with Marty and they race outside and jump into a car and drive around the town square! It’s all fully interactive.

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And then, after about 3 hours exploring the area, you go and watch the movie, but there’s still some tricks and stuff. Like an actual DeLorean appears and so on!

It sounds like so much fun. Here are some trailers of what previous movie experiences have been – I would love to have been at the Blade Runner one!

Latimer watches… Beauty and the Beast

Latimer wants adventure in the great wide somewhere!!!

Latimer wants adventure in the great wide somewhere!!!

Latimer: I’ve found myself watching lots of Disney movie’s lately. This is mainly due to the fact that my niece loves to watch Disney movies, since she’s finally old enough to sit still long enough to watch an actual movie! So, I ended up watching Beauty and the Beast for the first time in years, and I had some random thoughts as I watched!

When Belle sings her first song and heads into town to return her book, I just love the part where she enters the bookshop and chats to the owner and rolls around on the ladder looking for books. It’s always been a moment I’ve loved!

Gaston has shot something at the start of the movie, and LeFou is carrying it, and fecked if I know what on earth it’s supposed to be – it has no head, horns, fur and feathers… what the hell is it?! Beauty-and-the-beast-disneyscreencaps.com-484 When Belle sings her ‘I want adventure in the great wide somewhere’ line I bob my head in agreement! I can often be found randomly singing that line in a passion when I’m gearing myself up for an adventure! Ha!

This has always bothered me – how come no one knows about this beast and the castle in the woods? I mean come on! It isn’t that far from their town and the beast was cursed when he was a young man and he’s only got until his 21st birthday to find someone to love him… which means he could have only been cursed for a few years – therefore everyone in town, including Belle, must remember the prince in the forest?! Surely!

It breaks my heart when Belle’s Daddy goes to the tavern to ask for help to save Belle and everyone laughs at him and ridicules him for talking crazy about a beast (which, again, they should all know about anyway!), and they throw him out into the snow. He is left there saying; ‘will no one help me!’ (that line has always stuck with me, even the way he says it!). Damn, so sad. 500px-Beauty-and-the-beast-disneyscreencaps_com-3472 How does the Beast have a woman’s bedroom with woman’s clothes that fit Belle like a glove? They could have just jigged that a bit, like the clothes needed to be tailored a bit by the castle tailor, who has been transformed into a measuring tape with his needle and thread assistants! They could have fought at the end of the movie with the rest of the cursed inhabitants – they could have had a scene where they stitch-up a townsman – the measuring tape could have tripped up another person! Ah Disney you missed an opportunity there – ha!

Some of the cursed castle inhabitants don’t have mouths or eyes… what does that mean? Did the witch/enchantress think the Beast would need to have enchanted cutlery as well as servants enchanted to be cutlery? I don’t get that. be-our-guest-beauty-and-the-beast I guess it’s pretty interesting to consider that Beast is always the one that judges based on looks. He assumes that Belle doesn’t like him because he’s a beast, because of the way he looks, but actually the reason she doesn’t like him is because he has a terrible temper and is verbally abusive to her!

It still annoys me that Belle doesn’t really eat anything at the dinner song! I love all that food! (I love food, I really, really do)

Lumiere sings that ‘10 years we’ve been rusting’ – 10 years?! That would have made the Prince 11 years old when he was cursed! The enchantress cursed an 11 year old for being a superficial person? What a crazy woman she was! And wouldn’t that mean then that Chip, the cup, was probably born a cup? Because he looks like he’s probably 6 years old when he’s a human! Ah, apparently there was a flashback scene in the Enchanted Christmas special, that kind of explains things (but also doesn’t!).

The Prince was a boy when he was cursed – and Chip was a child when he turned into a cup. But the Prince is a man when he turns back into Prince – because he’s 21 years old now – but Chip, alas, for some reason, is still a child?

Okay, while I seem to have been picking a lot at the movie, I actually really love this movie. It’s not my favourite Disney movie, but I definitely rate it highly on my Disney movie list!

Stop-motion love

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Latimer: There are some interesting movies on the horizon. Just the other day I saw a trailer for The Boxtrolls, a beautiful-looking stop-motion movie made by the Laika group.

It’s been a while since I saw one of their movies (Paranorman) but I always look forward to them – because I love me some stop-motion.The Nightmare before Christmas is one of my favourite movies (and also, strangely, one of the movies that creeps me out most… not sure what that says about me!).

Paranorman was preceded by Coraline (one of Neil Gaiman’s books), which was on the TV recently and made me fall in love, all over again, with lovely Laika stop-motion.

What a beautiful art-form stop-motion it is. These movies are so detailed and so lovingly made. You can see how much time and effort went into crafting them. I love the wacky character designs, the seamless movement and yes, I love the eerie feeling that niggles at the back of my mind, because stop-motion, in a lot of ways, boarders on the very, very creepy.

They take years to make and I guess that’s the price we pay for the quality – the time. But, YES, time to look forward to The Boxtrolls!  

Dare to Fear

clown-doll-21397141Ridley: I love a good horror! Well, I love and hate a good horror. I enjoy being frightened after the fact, but I hate it at the time….does that even make sense? I do wonder how my brain works sometimes. For the last week, I’ve been craving a good horror. I was discussing my options with a friend, and I was all revved up to watch something, before I wimped out and decided I couldn’t do it completely alone, I’m mad but not that mad. I’d end up chucking things at random shapeless shadows and hugging my pillow until it started to beg for mercy. Even as I write this, I remember this has already happened with a movie that I would have said was at a low level in terms of scariness. I watched Paranormal Activity 2 in the living room, with all the lights off at 1am (and there were other people in the house, they were just all asleep) and I still managed to freak myself out as I crept up to bed. I managed to see things standing in the dark corner in the hall, crouching in the shadows by the sink in the bathroom and eventually hiding by my desk in my room. The main lights were all switched on to their fullest that time.

There’s only one type of horror I like to watch, it’s the creepy kind. Some of it is often quite Hammer Horror-esque. There has to be a slow build to the fear inducing moments. Moments where someone suddenly appears in the mirror, moves in a photo, flashes behind the main character in a doorway or is reflected in the blank TV screen. It’s the type of horror where you do most of the work as your imagination runs riot, making everything a hundred times worse.

One of the scariest films I’ve ever seen was the Japanese Grudge, ‘Juon’. It just sent shiver upon shiver down my spine watching it. There’s just something so creepy about the little boy in that.juon2md4

I’ve also seen the American version of ‘The Grudge’ in the cinema, which was fantastic as the atmosphere was so tense, people were screaming. It just added to the whole experience, and then on the Dublin bus home, where it was dark and rainy and windy out, I managed to scare myself when my own reflection popped up in the window. *sigh* True story.

So recommendations for a fantastically eerie scary creepy movie marathon? Well here’s a few doozies….(goes without saying, but I’ll say it, watch the Grudge too!!)

Sinisterit looks utterly brilliant, there’s creepy photo moving, evil demon guys peering at you from the bushes, a cursed house and a helpless naive family stuck in the middle of it all. I can’t wait to watch this!

Insidious…harsh voices on the baby monitor, rocking horses rocking (this is such a classic, but it works every time!!), people popping up behind them, freaked out mediums drawing fecked up pictures.

The Conjuring...laughing children (eep!!), pianos playing by themselves, the fact that it’s based on a true story, the freaky woman from The Haunting (Lili Taylor), whispering voices on their recording systems, flashes of horrific events, clocks stopping just after 3am… Personally think this one looks like the scariest of all of them, mainly as you don’t see the big bad as such, and it’s based on a true story….though Sinister is certainly vying for the top spot too!!

Clown…all you have to say to me is clown and horror in the same sentence and my eyes will widen in panic and fear. There’s just something about clowns…the evil smile perhaps? Or the fact you never quite know whose behind all the face paint, until it’s too late!! My favourite creepy line of this trailer happens as the poor boy is climbing down the stairs into the basement and whispers, “Daddy, this isn’t funny…” No kid, it’s not, it really isn’t and you need to run.

The Woman In Black….remake of an old Hammer Horror, it has a very creepy house, weird villagers, some freaky faces in the window action and the rocking horse again. While probably not the creepiest film on the list, it’s still worth the watch, Daniel Radcliff is quite good in it too. Just gotta keep the mantra ‘not Harry Potter’ in your head for the first twenty minutes, then we’re good (as you’ll start to wonder why he doesn’t just banish the ghost with his wand otherwise! haha…)

So, which one are you going to watch first? Make sure you have your cushions at the ready!!

Latimer watches… Indiana Jones

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Latimer:  I don’t think a Christmas holiday is complete without watching at least one of the Indiana Jones movies! They are all shown on television over the holidays.

This year I noticed that the fourth Indiana Jones movie (Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) has been added to the marathon. To me, there are only really three Indiana Jones movies.

I’ve been watching Indiana Jones since as far back as I can remember. It started my obsession about wanting to be an archaeologist. I thought being an archaeologist was being Indiana Jones. For most of my childhood that’s what I was going to be, an archaeologist/Indiana Jones.

I was definitely going to go on adventures and find artefacts stuck in booby-trapped tombs. Yet, in spite of all the ways I would definitely die adventuring through Indiana Jones style tombs, I was convinced that was the life for me! I would have needed a lifetime of parkour, self-defence and weapons training for that career path.

I’m now convinced I would have died trekking to my first tomb!

Thankfully, I’ve grown out of considering that life (for my own health and safety!), but still love Indiana Jones! Out of the three movies (yup three!), my favourite has always been Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I watch it once every Christmas. I’m always happy to see it; I know it’s Christmas and it never fails to make me smile.

I love that movie because it’s just so much fun and not serious, and so 80’s – it’s pure nostalgia!

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It has the never-ageing Sean Connery, the zeppelin, the quick detour to Berlin, tombs, the leap of faith I never would have taken, the old knight of the crusade, the face melting scene (that always scared the crap out of me)… and you learn that Indy’s named after the dog 🙂

Latimer watches!

I think everyone has a favourite Indiana Jones movie – Ridley’s is Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom! What an epic movie series it is… cue music…

Also Happy New Year to everyone! Hope you all have a great 2014! MLR 🙂

Make Good Art

Ridley: I love inspirational quotes, especially from people whose work I admire or who I really look up to for what they’ve achieved through hard work and determination. I always feel really motivated after I’ve read them. So I said I’d share some of the really good ones with you!

  • This quote often has me nodding rapidly in agreement…

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  • ‘We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.’ Jesse Owens
  • Latimer found this one from Kevin Smith. Never were there truer words.

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  • Technically not a quote, but it inspires me, so I’m adding it it! This is my favourite poem, do other people have favourite poems? I have this painted on my bedroom wall, depending on the type of day I’ve had, it can mean different things to me.

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  • The prolific Stephen King, who is definitely the King of hard work! (see what I did there? :D)

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  • This is taken from the move, ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’, one of the best films I’ve ever seen and one that always has me sniffing at the end. What a fantastic story.

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  • Grant Morrison, Glaswegian comic-book author extraordinaire.. an amazing personality, who has this great quote that makes me feel like ‘yes! yes, let’s do that!’
  • Walt Disney, if ever there was a man who inspired dreams in generations of young children, it was him. He never let failure stand in his way, no matter how many knockbacks he received. 

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  • Neil Gaiman, a rock star author, I just love his quotes!!

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  • This picture happens to be the background image on my phone! This is what I look at every day, it reminds me to always keep going forward, to strive for what I want to be.

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  • So true Kevin Smith!! If ever you worry that someone’s better than you (there’s always someone better than you), if someone is more successful (without a doubt there is) or if you aren’t good enough (if that’s what you believe, then it will be true), read this quote, duck your head down and work harder. Keep focused.

kevin-smith-quotes‘The main goal in life careerwise should always be try to get paid to simply be yourself.’ Kevin Smith

  • Darn tootin’!

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  • Make Good Art. More Neil Gaiman. I’ll just repeat his lines like a parrot, as I’ve nothing that could add to this quote. This is a snippet taken from his commencement speech at the University of Arts in Philadelphia, it’s absolutely epic!

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You can watch it here:

Other quotes from him:

‘The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.’ Neil Gaiman

‘As far as I’m concerned, the entire reason for becoming a writer is not having to get up in the morning.’ Neil Gaiman

‘It’s not a bad thing for a writer not to feel at home. Writers – we’re much more comfortable at parties standing in the corner watching everybody else having a good time than we are mingling.’ Neil Gaiman

  • Insert the word books for movies and you got that right Walt!! 😀

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  • Thankfully, Latimer and I both love to read and write. To be sucked into another world without leaving your armchair is the most magical experience there is! Is it still called work when you enjoy yourself? 😀

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  • Will Smith, the master of thought provoking quotes, I could have a whole post dedicated to him you know, or even a website! He’s a fan of inspirational quotes himself, Paulo Coelho’s ‘The Alchemist’ is one of his favourite books. I quite enjoyed it too, makes you think.

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‘Being realistic is the most common path to mediocrity.’ Will Smith

  • Sometimes we all have to do this!

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  • This is one of my absolute favourite quotes, it just sums up the lives of so many people!

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  • And always remember, the most important piece of advice, from the funniest man ever:

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PS. I own none of the above pictures  (* _*)

Silver Linings

In which Latimer finds something sparkly to love!

Latimer: I watched the Golden Globes this week; I don’t know why really, maybe the universe was trying to tell me about Silver Linings Playbook?

I was sitting with a cup of tea, chatting and complaining to my flatmate, Orbie (typical behaviour when watching awards ceremonies). The camera panned the room and stopped briefly on Jennifer Lawrence sitting with Bradley Cooper.

I paused.

“What’s going on here?” I said, intrigued (firstly I thought they had gone together so I was confused, thinking… what… what about Peeta?! Haha). Orbie, shrugged and went back to messing on her phone.

As the ceremony went on, I learned why Jennifer Lawrence was sitting beside Bradley Cooper… Silver Linings Playbook! But what was that exactly?

Well from the brief trailers I saw, I decided to see the movie and find out!

And…  I am in love with it! It’s one of those things whereby I’m overtaken by a desire to scream from a cyber-rooftop – “This is great!”

I texted Ridley –“ Watch this! You gotta watch this!”

It’s such a good story line, the characters are fun and quirky and, wow, all the actors are amazing.

Bradley Cooper’s acting is absolutely jaw-dropping. He’s gorgeous of course, but in this film he isn’t playing the good looking character, he’s playing this broken, delusional, bi-polar person, who’s manic and funny and sad all at the same time. He does such an amazing job.

For definite, Silver Linings Playbook is going in my favourite’s pile; with the books and the movies and all the sparkly things I have collected over the years.

When they dig me out from under the pile (when I’ve gone feral and incoherent; “my preciousssesss!”); they’ll be scraping Lord of the Rings DVDs and old Doctor Who episodes off me, and I’ll struggle out of their hands, dressed in clothes I’ve fashioned from the pages of Harry Potter books, clutching a DVD of Silver Lining’s Playbook, screaming:

“Excelsior!!”

The Phantom of The Opera

Ridley: We’ve been to the musical, Phantom of the Opera. Both Latimer and I went to see this in the Grand Canal Theatre in Dublin (now renamed the Bord Gais Theatre, though everyone refuses to call it that!)

Latimer: It’s a real shame that the theatre was renamed, because the ‘Grand Canal’ makes it sound very opulent and grand, but the Bord Gais (‘Gas board’ in Irish.. because the Irish Gas Board sponsor it now) makes it cringe-worthy. 

Ridley: It was really fantastic going though, name choice aside! I don’t often go to the theatre, but when I do go, I always wonder why I don’t do it more often, as I feel quite cultured! 🙂 The costumes were so vibrant, the set design was clever and the music just swept you along. If you ever get a chance to see this in theatres, go, you won’t be disappointed! Your eyes will just want to drink it all in!

Latimer: Myself and Ridley went to see Lord of the Rings, the soundtrack score in this theatre (‘Grand Canal’ at that point). I remember complaining that the seating was bad (we were about three rows from the front). And the layout felt very cramped.

But this time I was sitting on the upper circle and it was pretty fantastic. I recommend that seating area now! I went with my Mam and Aunt, and my Aunt has been to this theatre lots of times and she knows what seats to book now.

Ha. I suppose it’s trial and error.

And in introducing my Aunt, I introduce an old, old fact from the Grand Canal’s medieval past- a detour through time now if you will!

Outside the theatre, there are many red poles (as you see above).

Ridley, did you ponder, what these meant? I didn’t give them a second thought, only thinking; ‘oh, some arty poles’.

Ridley: I have asked before ‘what’s with the red sticks’ but no one ever knows! I’m sensing you do…

Latimer: Ah, my Aunt told me that they mean something…

There’s a street opposite the theatre called Forbes Street. And in medieval Dublin this was were the lepers were sectioned (it was known as ‘Misery Hill’).

The red poles are symbolic of the saying, ‘I would not touch them with a barge pole’ in reference to the lepers.

Very eerie now in that respect eh?

By night the poles are lit. The above picture is them after the show was finished!

Well now… back to the Phantom! I agree that the set-design was fantabulous! My god I couldn’t get over it. Ridley, please, explain the story if you will…

Ridley: Well, most people know the story of Phantom of the Opera. For those that don’t, it’s basically a tragic love story. The phantom is a deformed man, a ghost who lives in the depths of a theatre. He falls in the love with the young and beautiful Christine Daaé. He watches her from the shadows and teaches her to sing without revealing himself. She believes he is her Angel of Music, a being from heaven sent by her father to watch over her. It is the phantom that arranges for Christine to get her first big break in the theatre. He bullies and forces the owners to feature her as their star. While she is singing as the lead in the play, her childhood friend Raoul sees her and they reconnect. Thus begins the dangerous love triangle, where Christine must decide between her old friend and her Angel of Music.

The 2004 movie with Gerard Butler is the version that I know best. Not a bad version of the phantom to love, Gerard Butler, eh? Teehee. It’s a bit like Doctor Who, everyone has their favourite Doctor and everyone has their favourite phantom! Gerard is mine! (I also have the soundtrack from this version of the Phantom of the Opera and I play it often. It’s really beautiful.)

Now, I’ve always thought Christine should have chosen the phantom over Raoul. My view on this has never changed, no matter how many times I’ve seen the musical-either in the theatre or in the cinema. Raoul’s affections always seemed so fleeting and shallow. He only remembers his love for her when he hears her singing at the opera-after she’s become the lead performer. Whereas the phantom has loved her all this time, helping her and protecting her…

Dramatic, mysterious, passionate and powerful, that is what the phantom is for me. I’ve always found myself drawn to him. I suppose I’ve always liked the bad boy, the evil genius. The phantom had the swirling black cape, a mask framing eyes that captivated and a hidden lair that he filled with haunting music. At the same time, he was damaged and vulnerable in some ways. Raoul was always pathetic compared to him. He also certainly didn’t get the massive swells of music from the organ at his sudden appearance.

With regards to Christine, I don’t think I’ve ever liked her as a character. On one hand, I can understand that she’d be terrified of the phantom, having been suddenly kidnapped by him. He is quite menacing. But I can’t seem to shake the soft spot I have for him, despite being a kidnapper and a murderer (I seemed to have glossed over this part in past versions, I’d forgotten about it but I was abruptly reminded he killed a stage hand, when I watched the musical in the theatre the other day! The sympathy I feel for the phantom is certainly diminished when I take this into account, so I generally have to forget this happens!)

I think that Christine uses the phantom. She preys on his vulnerable side, the side that has never seen friendship or love. He’s had only hatred, disgust and fear thrown at him. Without him, her career wouldn’t have progressed as far as it did, nor would she have been able to sing like she does. She plays on his affections for her and then betrays him in the end.

Latimer: Actually watching it all again, in this form, I can understand her not loving the Phantom though. Because he wasn’t sympathic and he was pretty ruthless. I remember in the movie thinking, ah she should have picked the Phantom (I was annoyed that she didn’t to be honest!).

Yet in this musical version (possibly the real version- aside from the book!), I felt it was all mixed up, I didn’t like the Phantom. The characters I really liked were the two men who buy the theatre at the start. I found them funny and enjoyable (light-hearted among the grimness). My Aunt saw it in London and said that this Dublin version has been cut down alot, so we missed out on some backstory etc

Ridley: The funny thing is that all changes in the sequel to Phantom of the Opera, which I never realised existed! It’s called Love Never Dies, and I have some major problems with it. (Spoiler alert here)

Latimer: This is beyond ridiculous…!

Ten years after the events of Phantom of the Opera, the phantom tricks Christine and Raoul into coming to New York, where he wants to hear Christine sing once again (I’d like to point out, his love for her still hasn’t faded!) Christine has a son, Gustave. It turns out that this is the phantom’s son! (My jaw dropped at this! Latimer: what the Dicken’s? haha, this is just so bad!) Never, not once is there ever any hint that Christine and the phantom were in anyway intimate in the musical or the films. Perhaps this occurs in the book? (which i’ll admit I haven’t read, so i’m very open to being corrected on this) Not only this, through the phantom’s scheming, he convinces Raoul to leave Christine, which he does-without any fighting to save their marriage! Then suddenly it seems Christine has always loved the phantom and she finally stops fighting against this love. Based on the musicals I’ve seen, I would have always said she’d felt nothing but pity and disgust for him. Perhaps at most, she had an affection for her Angel of Music, but no this undying love. 

Latimer: She found this false, undying love very quickly, considering how she left things in the Opera house in Phantom of the Opera. I’m still shaking my head at this. It was obviously fabricated in light of creating another cash cow.

Incidentally, he’s (the Phantom) running a theme park in Coney Island when we meet him again in ‘Love Never Dies’. And it’s called Phantasma… oh my…. oh my… 

Ridley: Well, also, the other final thing I have a problem with is when Gustave finds out the phantom is his father. He decides to stay and join him at the theme park in New York, instead of following after Raoul when he leaves. Raoul is the man he’s known all his life, the one he’s always considered his father and yet he wanders off with this random stranger instead? What? Would that really happen? I don’t think so! Hmm…

All the same, despite all my nit-picking and wish to change the ending, I still love the story! I think there are quite a number of people out there that love it too, or am I wrong? 🙂

Latimer: While I really enjoyed my trip to the theatre and also, the set design and experience of the musical was just amazing, I don’t actually like the story of Phantom of the Opera.

But still, it was a nice night! Also, random that we both attended separately, but we have joined together, like bubbles caught in an updraft to write this post. After-which we’ll pop, likely never to speak of it again! Ha 🙂

Ridley: Yes…bubbles…..  *pop*   😀