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entertainment

Review of two films in UK cinemas now – what do you think?

I love the cinema – really, really love it. But I don’t always get time to see all the films I’d like so recently I had a cinema day – yes I went twice in a day. It’s a quite surreal thing to do, especially at this time of year. It can feel like you’ve had a day in darkness….with the added benefit of popcorn!

The first film was Twilight – Breaking Dawn Part Two. This was a necessity as I’d read the books, watched all the other films (more than once) and had two daughters nagging endlessly.  I have to say on a scale of one to ten – I’d give it a seven. Plus points were that it rounded off the saga really well, in many ways better than the books where everything seems to end so weakly. Also Bella actually took on a bit of colour and energy – as there were many times in the previous films when I wanted to almost punch her for being so insipid. And of course there was plenty of Edward and Jacob, which always helps. Though frankly Carlo and Jaspar weren’t too shabby either, though almost inconsequential.  I was mulling over my favourite character in all the films and decided that Alice probably came out near the top.

After lunch it was Skyfall. Friends had raved about the film to me so I was really, really excited to see it. There was much talk of a big secret. Also it included Daniel Craig and Dame Judi Dench, so who couldn’t be bowled over by them? But I’m afraid this film didn’t match my expectations. It just didn’t have the action sequences that I have come to expect from recent Bond films. and it seemed to have a bit of a copycat theme – I got a strong feel of the Bourne series here, but just not handled as well. Like the recent follow-up of the Bourne trilogy – tried hard but just lacked that raw drama.

The storyline was reasonable, bit too personal for me, and it featured Scotland which helped. But overall I felt a bit let down. So much emphasis on everyone being too old – and a baddie who was personal but less ‘big picture’ and having a very, bad hair day.

Overall a film which lacked the creativity factor of other films, Casino Royale was much, much better in my view. I probably will buy the DVD just to see if I’ve been a bit too harsh but both me and my better half felt the same. Seven out of ten is a generous score I think.

But I’ve still got the film of the year to go – The Hobbit. One of my favourite childhood books, alongside Lord of the Rings. I’m expecting a nine or ten to take me into Christmas and to prepare me for the annual local pantomime. We’ll see…….

Cheetah sitting on anthill in Mara Kenya

Waiting for the next big film to come out – The Hobbit…

 

Summer holidays which cost loadsa money!!!!

Where would you draw the line in paying for kids' activities?

Parents are now dealing with the summer holiday season and with that comes the cost of having children off school.
I’m not talking about the speed at which food is hoovered up (I bought six big yoghurts and they were gone within a few hours) or the amount of extra washing. (Anyone with teenage girls will know how children dump perfectly clean clothes into a washing basket to change into the ‘appropriate’ outfit for that particular minute).

 
No, it’s the almost visible rubbing of hands for those businesses who rely on children and families for their income. It’s not just holidays that cost more during school holidays, it’s any type of entertainment.

It’s our modern need to continually give our kids ‘things to do, places to go, people to see’. Why is this?

When I was a kid, we went on a week’s holiday no more than 100 miles away and then I was at home day after day, week after week.

 

Entertainment was self-generated. Imagination was key, as were friendships.

The biggest outing was to the local corner shop with 10p to buy lots of sweets. My parents didn’t have the money for day-trips or extras which we now take for granted.
This was brought home to me this week when my son, who’s 4, desperately wanted to go to a soft play area which had moved premises to a larger site, closer to our house.
Okay, I thought, let’s go. We walked in behind a couple, probably grandparents, with two children, one in a pushchair. They were complaining about the fact that they had to pay for the baby because she was over six months.
So I looked at the price list, which frankly I hadn’t considered. At other similar sites in Swindon, you can pay per half hour, so you can control the cost and keep it within reason.

 

No more, the fees here were flat – so £5.95 for each of my daughters and £3.95 for my son, oh and 75p for me to take up a seat within the premises. Total cost, almost £17. That’s before buying any drinks or refreshments.

Disappointing my son, I just turned and said that it was too much money. Even if we’d gone in and I bought four drinks, we’d be looking at probably £25 for that entertainment.
As a business person, I understand that costs might need to go up but surely there needs to be some moderation. What about more flexible terms – per half hour costs for example? Or a loyalty card scheme?

As a customer, it seemed I was paying through the nose for a new venue and I employed the simplest tactic in the book – I walked out.

 
Even if refreshments prices had risen a little – at least that’s an expense that I choose to make. Also what extras are on offer to justify more money? Is there free internet access? An internet cafe facility?

 
It’s a cheek to charge parents 75p for simply taking up space within a space that was alarmingly empty anyway.

 
I’m afraid this business has priced itself out of the its own market. It’s only been open for a few weeks but who’s going to go there often with prices like that?

 
As a working mum, I know that at it’s previous location, groups of childminders would sometimes go there as a treat for their young charges. I can guarantee that they won’t go now – the cost would be far too high.

 

If you ever want to know what’s good value for money for entertaining children – ask your local childminders, they are experts in value for money.

 
Let’s hope that this small business does some serious market research around its own competitors and adjusts accordingly. Lower your prices or offer something extra and shout about it.

If it doesn’t, I give it a year at the outside.

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