The other way to fly

Riding a horse is so simple. Just get on the horse and let yourself be carried. That’s exactly what you think, isn’t it? But riding a horse is so much more. It is a unification of the rider and the horse and not quite as simple as you think. At times it can be hard work and very tiring.

But why do so many love this sport? Why don’t they play football or rugby or…?

Because it is a great sport and one of the few sports that includes animals. And it is very diverse. There are so many different ways of riding a horse. This is what makes riding so interesting.

Every day is new and different because horses are personalities and they can be easy-going one day, but moody and difficult the next. You can learn so many things if you work with them. But you should know that if you want to learn to ride a horse it can be difficult and frustrating and sometimes even dangerous when you fall off the horse. And you should be willing to not just blame your horse when things go wrong, but to scrutinise your own behaviour, too. 

And what do you need for riding? You’ll need a riding cap, breeches and riding boots. But to start with riding you can wear a crash hat, gym trousers and shoes with heels. And if you like you can wear riding gloves.

And one day you will gallop over a field thinking ‘It is like flying – just better! It is the other way to fly.


Hangover review

The last film I’ve seen was Hangover, a comedy with the main characters played by Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Grillfiankis.

In this film three helpless guys try to remember what has happened after a devastating Vegas night. Looking for one of their buddies who has gone missing, they experience a series of adventures. Once they’ve recovered from their hangover they promise each other “NEVER EVER!”.

Well this film turns out to be every bit as crass, offensive and incorrect as you would expect. But it is very funny indeed. One of the movies greatest strength is the way in which the story is told. Plus – in my opinion – all actors are fantastic.

I haven’t laughed as much for a very long time!

Review: Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes is an action-mystery film which was directed by Guy Ritchie. Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law portray Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson. In the movie Sherlock Holmes and his Partner Watson investigate a series of murders connected to occult rituals.

The movie is set in England in the 19th century. Holmes and Watson catch Blackwood, who has already killed five young women. After three months Blackwood is sentenced to be hanged and Watson certifies his death. However, Blackwood mysteriously returns from the death and Holmes and Watson must take up the hunt again. They have to stop Blackwood before he can initiate his masterplan: the takeover of the British government.

Sherlock Holmes is still one of my favourite movies, because it’s not like the regular detective movies from the past. In this movie there is much more action, it has great  fighting scenes and there are also funny moments. Moreover the movie benefits from the strong performance by Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes, who is the opposite of a gentleman in this movie, due to the fact that in this movie he is an unlikeable person and also a bit of a psychopath. In my view this is the perfect mixture of action and comedy with a great acting Robert Downey Jr. and a profound story.

I can recommend the movie to anyone who likes action movies and a good story, but if you can’t get over the idea of Sherlock Holmes as an action hero you might be disappointed.

Let’s start playing volleyball!

Many people in the world do sports. There are sports for teams, for two or just for one single person. But what is the best sport in the world?
For me it is definitely volleyball. Why? Because it is a perfect mixture of technical skills and team spirit. All volleyball players of one team have to be talented in a similar way. If one player is bad in that sport, the team is weak, because of him. In other sports like football you could avoid that player to take part at the match, but if you play volleyball every single player is included in the game.
That is the reason why I absolutely adore playing volleyball. The benefits are a strong team spirit and exciting games with lots of energy.
If you want to take it up, please be ambitious and don’t give up too early. Learning the techniques can take quite a long time. Practice makes perfect!
You will need some knee pads, because volleyball demands that you give it all.
If you keep this in mind, I’m sure you will love it just as much as I do.

Is sport important?

Sport is necessary to stay fit and healthy. In addition to eating right, you can create a good way to stay healthy for a long time by doing sport regularly.
If you do sport you will not only stay fit, but you will also live longer. I, personally feel better after doing sport. It’s a great way to forget about your troubles at school or work. In my opinion, it’s the best compensation to your workday.

But you do have to spend enough time doing sport. If you are doing sport only once a year it won’t do anything.
Additionally you have to mind what you eat! If you are doing a lot of sport but eat lots of unhealthy food it won’t give you the effect you want.

In my opinion, sport is really important for everyone. Even if you only have time to do sport twice a week, the important thing is to do it regularly.

“The Box”

What’s a “box”? Something wooden to keep objects safe inside? No, the  box I’m talking about has a red button. And pressing that button is a matter of life or death.

“The Box” is a psychological horror and science-fiction film based on the short story “Button, Button” by Richard Matheson. The American movie is written and directed by Richard Kelly and was first released in October 2009 in Australia.

The movie is 115 minutes long and the plot takes place in the USA in the year 1976.

The main actors are Cameron Diaz and James Marsden as the couple Norma and Arthur Lewis. They live in Richmond, Virginia together with their son Walter.

One day they receive a wooden box with a red button from a mysterious old man, played by Frank Langella. The man, named Arlington Steward, makes them an unethical offer: If they  press the button they will receive one million dollars and a person they don’t know somewhere  out there in the world, will die.

After a long time of hesitating, Norma finally presses the button and the misery begins. She and her husband get more and more sucked into a dramatic predicament.

There are some exciting special effects and the brilliant soundtrack and the film music create a fantastic atmosphere. All the performances are solid, but the couple Cameron Diaz and James Marsden won’t make history as the loveliest couple in hollywood! Which brings me to my evaluation and assessment of the movie.

The first part of the film is well structured and seems quite realistic. Unfortunately, as the film goes on, it is going down hill: there is disorder, hectic action, the story gets weird. In the end, because of the obscured course of the story, the spectator gets more confused than anything else.

If it wasn’t for this chaotic second half, “the box” would be a thrilling movie right until the end.

I recommend the film to those, who are interested in watching a good science-fiction movie and who like the director Richard Kelly. His take on “button, button” is great. There is one thing that I learned after having watched this movie: I never want to get a wooden box with a red button.

However, taking into account it’s many failings, I’ll give only three of six stars.

(★) (★) (★) (  ) (  ) (  )

Review: Anonymous

Anonymous, a Roland Emmerich film, takes us back to the England of the 16th and 17th century. A time full of political intrigues, forbidden love, illegitimate children and fighting for power and the English throne.

The most famous of all playwrights lived in those days: William Shakespeare. But we don’t know exactly who that man was. This film presents one of the many theories about him.

One day the playwright Benjamin Johnson is arrested in the middle of his performance, for his play is considered to be insurgent. He is released by Edvard de Vere, the Earl of Oxford himself and also writer of many plays. He orders Johnson to perform the plays that put him under arrest, but under the Earl’s name, as his own writing had been overlooked. Furious about the very idea, Johnson tells the actor William Shakespeare all about it. Poor as Shakespeare is, he decides to sign and perform the plays instead of Johnson and so the story starts to take a bad turn.

At the same time Queen Elisabeth I is about to die without naming an heir for the throne. The Cecils, royal advisers to the Queen, try everything to hide the fact that the Earl of Southampton is her illegitimate son and therefore the legal heir in the succession to the throne. Afraid to lose their grip on power, they prefer King James of Scotland, who promised to the Cecils to keep them, to become King.

Many leaps in the story line and a complicated plot make this historical drama not an easy film to watch. Still, it is worth watching because of the excellent insights into the English history and the fascinating demonstration of what seems to be a very likely theory about Shakespeare’s true identity. The acting, especially that of Sebastian Armesto as Benjamin Johnson, is quite superior. The cast with Vanessa Redgrave as Queen Elisabeth I and Rhys Ifans in the role of Edvard de Vere is very well chosen. Beautiful costumes and magnificently detailed sets as well as wonderful music capture the ambiance and the soul of the 17th century. The beauty of Shakespeare’s English shines through many scenes in a most enchanting way.

Therefore I recommend this film to everyone, who loves the English language and who would like to take a closer look at the dark but fascinating England of 300 years ago.

Film Review: James Cameron’s Avatar

‘Avatar? That’s just a film about big blue people living on a planet named Pandora.’ That was the first description of the film I heard and the reason why I didn’t intend to watch it. But then I watched it anyway, perhaps by chance. And it turned out to be  the first film where I was sorry that it actually had to end.

Even though it’s a science-fiction film there are other genres included: romance, action and fantasy. And in addition to this it reflects the human pursuit of wealth and power.

The plot is intriguing and surprisingly real:  In the year 2154 the earth’s resources are used up. So the company Resources Development Administrations starts to mine the precious resource Unobtanium. But the aboriginial people of Pandora, the Na’vi, resist the destruction of their environment.
Jake Sully, a USmarine, is sent to Pandora to replace his dead brother on a difficult mission: He has to persuade the Na’vi to leave their homeland and to give up their resistance with the aid of a simulated Na’vi-body, an Avatar.
At his first expedition as an Avatar Jake is separated from his group that went with him. At night he’s attacked by predators, but his Avatar is saved by Neytiri, a member of the clan of the Omaticaya. She takes him to her clan, where Neytiri’s mother, the clan’s spiritual leader, orders her daughter to initiate Jake into their society. After three month, Jake is a member of the clan and even though Neytiri didn’t like him at first they fall in love with each other. But Jake’s challenge is still in store for him…

I think the most fascinating thing about this film are the locations on the planet Pandora. The trees are unbelievably high, there are beautiful plants, coloured blue and green, and everything glows at night. It is pretty awesome that James Cameron, the director, is able to portray this perfect world in such a detailed way.

In addition to this the film is not only beautiful to look at but also amazing to listen to. The soundtrack reminds me of Indian folk music, but it’s made alien by electrical sound effects. This suggest that Pandora is very different from our world. I really love the soundtrack because it’s in line with every single scene.

Avatar is an awesome film, actually the best film I’ve ever seen. It’s not only a visionary science-fiction film, but also an appeal to humanity: We have to take care of our earth because we can’t just go to another planet and destroy everything there too. We have to start to not only look after ourselves but also care for other life around us. That’s why I’m so glad that I watched the film even though I didn’t plan to watch it – this had to be destiny.

Review: Blood Diamond

‘Blood Diamond’ is not a light movie to be watched and then easily forgotten. The gripping atmosphere touches your mind and stays there for a few days.

The story takes place during the Sierra Leone civil war in the 1990s. The fisherman Solomon Vandy (Dijmon Hounsou) is walking through a village with his son Dia (Kagiso Kuypers), when it is raided by rebels of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF). The RUF kill and mutilate some villagers. Vandy’s wife and his daughter manage to escape, but his son gets kidnapped to be a child soldier. Solomon himself gets captured and forced to work on a diamond field near Kono. Just before government troops launch an attack, he finds a large diamond and buries it. The rebels and labourers get taken to prison in Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital. There he meets the ex-mercenary Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio), who now smuggles diamonds. They make an agreement that Archer has a share in the profits of the diamond if he helps Vandy to reunite his family. They break free from jail and with the help of the American journalist Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connelly), the exciting story takes its course.

‘Blood Diamond’ showed me a different world I didn’t know – and hopefully will never get to know first hand. If you see all the problems the people there have to deal with – trading of diamonds and weapons, war between rebels and government troops, corruption and child soldiers – you start to think about what you are complaining about. We should be thankful to be born in a peaceful part of the world. The actors play at their very best, the rather unknown Dijmon Hounsou and Jennifer Connely are not eclipsed by the powerful Leonardo DiCaprio.

This movie is stunning and far reaching, it’s about topics you normally don’t think about. It’s fascinating and terrifying. But besides the seriousness, the film is a great popcorn movie which offers some elements of dramatical action and also a bit of romance. This is all I need for a perfect movie I will definitely watch more than once.

Earth’s endangered species

Should more be done to protect and preserve endangered animals ?

Over 40 % of species are estimated to be at risk of extinction. On the IUCN Red list of threatened species are lots of extinct, critically endangered and vulnerable animal species. The list is long and is getting longer. It´s time to ask ourselves: Should more be done to protect and preserve endangered animals?

Today, thousands of animal species have become endangered and hundreds are facing possible extinction.

Species like the Siberian tiger, the blue whale, the green sea turtle and the Sumatran orang-utans, for instance, can be found on that list. Alongside these well-known animals there are a number of species that not many people know: Or do you know the brown spider monkey or the Chinese giant salamander?

However, we have to be serious: Do we have to preserve these species? The first question we have to answer is: Why should we do that?

The environment offers a big diversity of species. Just one less or more – who cares?

Some people say, that we don’t even need these species to be alive. In fact, there are lots of arguments to support this point of view. Humans not only have to change their consumer behaviour, but it’s also very expensive to protect them because to prevent human interventions and protect life-sustaining measures costs a lot of money.

Therefore, the second question is: How can we actually help?

Well, it seems to be an inevitable development and in fact, there are not many effective pro-environment activities to be listed.

Before answering the first question it’s important to have a look at the positive side of protecting the species.

Why do we have to preserve the vulnerable species that are threatened by extinction? Are there any advantages? There are plenty of reasons to help them: Firstly because of our sense of responsibility. We are responsible for the consequences of our interventions on this planet and therefore we have to make sure that the ecosystems keep functioning.

To protect the endangered animals means to save the whole environment and the diversity of the species for the following generations. We have to act differently and no longer irresponsibly. Moreover we need a sustainable use of the environment. The prohibition of the extermination of endangered species would be a step into the right direction.

Besides this, we have to preserve the diversity of species because of the  unforeseeable consequences which are connected to the destruction of the environment and the extinction of the species.

Animals are elements in the natural ecosystems. If a species becomes extinct it won’t be able to sustain the ecosystem anymore. Disturbed structures and an imbalances of sensitive ecosystems could have disastrous and serious consequences for the human population.

Humans have to protect animals from their own actions.

All in all it’s a personal decision for everybody whether or not to get involved in preserving species and to fight for the protection of animals. On the one hand it is expensive and can only be successful if we put a lot of effort in. On the other hand we have to be responsible in the use of the environment and think about the next generations.

What we should keep in mind is that even small things can cause big changes and have a wonderful impact on our world.