by Dan Millen Reviews Sunday, May 26 2013

So I went to see The Hangover: Part III today with mixed expectations. The first one broke new ground in the movie arena, bringing a fresh concept to a party style movie with the twist of what happens when the sun comes up the next today. I laughed so much that when the second part was announced, I found myself itching to get in the cinema to watch it. (That was 6 months before its release!) Unfortunately, aside from the hilarious scene in a Bangkok Strip Club, I felt that Todd Phillips and the gang were just reproducing the first outing in a different location. The fans wanted more.

And boy oh boy, in Part III, Todd Philips has shown why he had to make the trilogy and answer his critics (myself included) following the second outing.

First thing you need to know is there is no-one getting married, hence no stag do (batchelor party), no mayhem… yeah right!

The film opens in Thailand where Mr Chow escapes his prison cell, worthy of Andy Dufresne might I add, during a riot. A chase through the sewers leads him to jump from a cliff edge, plunging into the Gulf of Thailand.

Alan has not changed since we left him. He is still immature, brainless and damn right funny. His parents are sick of him because he is a constant disappointment, and when it all becomes too much for his father (quite emotional but funny at the same time), it’s decided by his mom, sister and the Wolf Pack that he needs to go to Arizona Institution for an ‘intervention’.

ROAD TRIP! Phil, Stu, Doug and Alan hit the open road but are quickly side tracked, and rammed off the road, by Marshall, a gangster trying to track down 40 odd million dollars’ worth of gold bullion from Mr Chow. We then find out that subtle little hints have been dropped into the previous two movies to build up to this moment.

Always given the short straw, Doug is held hostage until the three amigos can track down Mr Chow, retrieve the gold and return it to Marshall before the sunrises 3 days later.

Cue the ‘hangover’. What follows is pure genius, with a bit of long windiness to prolong the Wolf Pack’s agony. I don’t want to give too much more away but you’ll be treated to a trip to Tijuana, old faces reappearing, seductive lollipop sucking in a pawn shop, abseiling down Caesar’s Palace and finally the finale just outside of Vegas. Oh, and a happy ending too.

All in all, enough to make you feel as though you’re the one with a hangover.

I am pleased to say that this movie is a good one to see, but do take it with a pinch of salt because after all, it is a comedy and therefore, not meant to be judged on anything more than whether it can make you laugh or not.

Salt or Sweet? Definitely Sweet.  

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Categories: blogs and bloggers | Entertainment | Film | General | Humour | Just Life | Leisure | Media | People of Kent

Ticket woes aren't limited to the Olympics

by The What's On blog, with Chris Price Wednesday, August 1 2012

Tickets – they seem to cause more problems than they are worth sometimes.

London 2012 Games organisers have had to admit that 67,000 seats a day have been left empty at the Olympics – equivalent to one in 10 tickets sold.

Consequently, there was a rush by LOCOG to get tickets on sale on Monday, putting another 3,800 back on the market, with a promise more will become available day by day.

Disappointingly, after taking a quick look on the Games’ ticket website today, the process to buy more tickets seems as complicated as ever. Also, many have been angered there are no box office numbers to call and that tickets can only be bought online.

Yes, tickets can be a pain, as organisers at Lounge on the Farm have found this week.

The festival at Merton Farm, near Canterbury, announced on Tuesday, July 24 that a “very limited” number of early bird tickets would become available on Friday, July 27.

Yet, six days later, they are still sending out tweets saying the £79 passes are still on sale for LOTF 2013.

Granted, these are difficult times. Everyone wants to spend their money on those extra Olympic tickets going on sale this week. Plus, we are all generally a bit skint in these times of double-dip recession.

Yet this must be a bit of a blow for the festival, which must be hoping to get as much money in the bank as possible after a relatively poorly attended event this year.

Perhaps the memories of the rain and mud has put off a number of people off for now. It’s still a bit too raw in the memory.

But if Kent music-lovers want a great festival to keep afloat in these tough times, maybe snapping up those early bird tickets might be a good idea.


Talking of tickets, I have some pretty amazing ones for a certain show tonight.

I am not allowed to talk about it really. In honesty, I am not allowed to be there either. But the excitement is too much to not even drop a little hint.

Once a certain closing event of a certain rather big occasion has occurred, I’ll be able to write all about it.

But for now, just know that I’m really looking forward to it, and I’ll be bursting at the seams for a couple of weeks, waiting to get behind a keyboard and blurt everything out.


A couple of weeks back, we ran a nice little piece on page three of What’s On, talking about the Red Bull Pro Nationals motorcross up at Canada Heights, near Swanley.

Thanks to our monsoon like summer, the final day had to be cancelled, as the track had become a quagmire.

Following more problems with wet weather – this time at a venue in North Yorkshire – the promoters have decided to return to Canada Heights, for a second attempt.

The racing, bouncy castles, zorbing and even Peppa Pig, Fireman Sam and Bob the Builder, arrive on Saturday and Sunday, August 4 and 5. Details at

Categories: blogs and bloggers | Entertainment | Media | music | Olympics | Showbiz

When the Olympic dart strikes through the heart

by The What's On blog, with Chris Price Thursday, July 26 2012

I thought I’d been there, done it, and bought the t-shirt.

My Olympic Torch Relay party at my flat on Friday went without a hitch as the flame which began burning on Mount Olympus passed through Gravesend on its way to the London 2012 Games.

A dozen or so cups of tea were made for family and friends, who piled in to my flat at the normally highly unsociable hour of 9am, ready to claim our spot on Saddington Street in plenty of time, to see the procession pass in and out of the Gurdwara.

We got two bites of the cherry and barely had to walk any distance at all to see such a momentous occasion in British sporting history.

Job done I thought. I’d taken a couple of pictures, waved and cheered like I was at a football match (everyone was doing it so I felt ok) and even seen the torch bearer trip on a sleeping policeman – although thankfully he had kept his balance.

Yet none of that compared to the excitement when Julia Chilcott from Maidstone came into the office for an interview with my colleagues at kmfm about her torch bearing experience.

Julia carried the flame into Leeds Castle and lit the cauldron at the end of Thursday’s run from Deal to the county town.

She walked in almost hugging the golden beacon and its appearance quickly gained more attention than when a newborn baby is brought into the office.

I’d tried to play it cool and watch from afar as colleagues gathered around the torch but before I knew it, I was up there like a wide-eyed schoolboy asking for my picture to be taken with the little piece of history.

As with every torchbearer I’ve met or read about, Julia was delighted to tell everyone her story and more than willing for everyone to get their moment with her treasured possession.

More than seeing the flame, more than cheering and even more than my faultless Olympic Torch Relay party (honest!), this was the moment when the cupid of the Olympic Games drew his arrow and fired it straight through my heart.

There’s a magic to how the torch relay brought everyone in the county together and how it has demonstrated so simply the power of sport.

Boy I cannot wait for the Games now.

  • For daily updates on what is going on at the Olympic Park, follow our man Alex Hoad’s blog. He will be following Kent athletes’ performances throughout the Games. You can follow him on Twitter @KentOnline2012.


The Opening Ceremony on Friday, July 27 will be too big to watch in your normal, comfy armchair in your uninspiring living room (oh, that’s just me then.)

A large open-air screen will be at Rochester Castle Gardens showing the event live from the Olympic Stadium for free.

A similar big screen will show the ceremony at Gravesend Community Square. Then after watching the spectacular coordinated by film director Danny Boyle – the man behind Slumdog Millionaire – party into the night at a silent disco on the upper Community Square. Tickets are £8 from the Woodville on 01474 337774.

The ceremony will also be shown on the big screen in Dover’s Market Square from 9pm for free, with a Zumbathon getting the atmosphere going from 7pm to 8pm.

Categories: Entertainment | Gravesend | kmfm | Media | Medway | Olympics | Rochester | Sport | TV

The touch of Turner

by The What's On blog, with Chris Price Saturday, January 28 2012

The opening remark of Jon Snow's speech at the launch of the Turner and the Elements exhibition was a telling one.

"I have been to Timbuktu but I have never been to Margate" the Channel 4 News presenter quipped apologetically as he addressed the great and the good at the Turner Contemporary last night (Friday, January 27).

Everyone knows Margate has been essentially seen as a bit naff for the best part of about 25 years but as the keynote speaker continued his speech, the shift in attitudes towards the seaside town became apparent.

A committee member the Tate in London and a passionate watercolourist, Jon had spent the afternoon sneaking a peak at the exhibition of 88 Turner works now on show in Margate.

He referred to Turner's oil painting New Moon and gushed "the sunset you see in that painting is the one I have seen tonight." He marvelled at the Turner Contemporary's architecture and how the gallery would allow Turner's works to be seen in the natural light which inspired the Romantic painter.

The Turner Contemporary is largely being credited as the spark for this renewed interest in Margate but as JMW Turner and now Jon Snow have recognised, the key ingredients have always been there - it has just been getting the right attention for them.

There are fewer more beautiful scenes than a sunset in Margate, which is very unusual owing the town's north facing position. That light is captured superbly inside the Turner Contemporary and reflected unsurpassably in JMW Turner's work. The way he developed his style of capturing the elements on paper and canvas was largely developed in Thanet and north Kent, so to see these works all in one place will no doubt pull in vast numbers of visitors to the area.

"We are seeing the beginnings of people talking about Margate as a cultural destination," said journalist John Kampfner, who is also the chair of trustees at the Turner Contemporary.

"The buzz has been here now for a year since the building was completed last January and the attendance speaks for itself. We have had well over 350,000 people in nine months. We were planning for 150,000 in the year.

Also running at the gallery is the walking art exhibition of Canterbury-based artist Hamish Fulton. When asked how he felt about his works going on show at the gallery, he decided instead to draw attention to the Turner works, such is the significance of the exhibition.

"The privilege of making an exhibition with the Turner paintings is great. It is great to see real Turners as opposed to the ones inside books - the actual paintings themselves. When you look at them close up you can see the detail."

The former editor of the New Stateman, Mr Kampfner continued: "We have had incredible success and plaudits for the first two shows but this one really does take us to new heights.

"It is a combination of Hamish' eclectic approach to multimedia art and an extraordinary Turner show with so many works.

"The way it has been put together with the different elements is a sight to behold. I will see it so many times because it will take people time to appreciate the full majesty of the exhibition.

"The critical reviews have also been very strong. It is not just about the art either. Margate will become a visitor destination when Dreamland opens. It is just up and up."

Margate has certainly felt the touch of Turner. But don't take their word for it. Take a look yourself.

Turner and the Elements runs until Sunday, May 13.

Hamish Fulton: Walk runs until Monday, May 7.

Categories: Celebrities | Margate | Media

You Me At Six turn up the heat with lots of hot air

by The What's On blog, with Chris Price Tuesday, October 18 2011

Heat. It struck you the moment you walked into Margate’s Winter Gardens for You Me At Six’s show on Friday, October 14.


“Margate is definitely the hottest gig we’ve had on this tour,” frontman Josh Franceschi said to a steamy, largely teenage audience.


Indeed the frontman was on fine vocal form, no doubt buoyed by the fact this gig has come in the week they are sitting at No3 in the album charts.


“About 6 months ago, some journalist said rock music is dead” he said. “I think the fact we were the No1 album midweek proves he's an idiot.”


Sinners Never Sleep is You Me At Six’s highest entry to date but Josh might have been less bolshie had the gig been two days later. On Sunday, the Surrey five piece’s’s third record slipped 27 places to No30 after its second week in the charts.

But take away the bravado and you take away the joy of You Me At Six. As Josh stomped on the stage to open their encore with current single Loverboy, the blinding lighting effects added to the drama of their pure rock and roll set.


As a fan of Lostprophets circa 2004, a trip to see You Me At Six does feel like something of a journey back to the early naughties. Belting out Stay With Me has that Rooftops kind of unity.


Then as the band finished on Underdog, Josh had the courtesy to admit to the crowd “this has been my favourite show of the tour so far. I was not expecting much of Margate but you have proved me wrong.” If he had just said “bless” he would have left the crowd feeling equally patronised and added less hot air to the now stifling heat.


It was no matter though as Underdog still proved a great finisher. Still, it was not without a sense of irony that Josh shouted “and remember Sinners Never Sleep” as the final drum beat was struck at the sociable hour of 10.20pm.


Yes they had managed to get off in time to catch Big Brother (as Josh had told the crowd – he had clearly forgotten his charm school lessons tonight.) Perhaps after the steep fall in the album charts, rock and roll music might be in trouble, if not dead. But whatever was happening in Margate, You Me At Six proved themselves to be good value if anything else.

Categories: Celebrities | Entertainment | Media | Showbiz

The shameful Amy Winehouse haters

by The What's On blog, with Chris Price Monday, July 25 2011

Not often does a life as short as Amy Winehouse's erupt such a spilling of emotion.

Like many I was not surprised but still shocked when the news broke that the 27-year-old singer had been found dead at her Camden home on Saturday afternoon.

Her later life was plagued by that very cruel "disease of addiction" described by comedian and actor Russell Brand, himself a former drug addict.

Yet I was saddened to find myself also not surprised but still shocked by the wave of comments that have been posted on the KentOnline story about the Rehab singer's demise.

"Vastly over-rated and her demise is entirely self-inflicted" read a comment from Hardly News.

"Beats me how someone with half as much talent as an everyday female pub singer got so famous" were the views of Maureen.

Someone leaving their name as Lord Sir Barry, the Pride of Kent - no doubt believing himself to be hugely funny - wrote: "The most pertinent question is thus: what has the death of a talentless, thick, smelly junkie singer, from London (albeit fake American) got to do with Kent?

"I couldn't care less about this waster popping her clogs. KoL should stick to stories about car crashes, lost cats and non-league football!"

How a fragile woman who has only just passed away in what strongly looks like hopelessly tragic circumstances can be subjected to this kind of comment is brutal.

To clear one point up, her Kent connection is admittedly not hugely strong - her London cabbie father Mitch lives in Greenhithe. Yet many people in Kent will know him and this is a story that has connected with thousands of people who live in the county, proved by the high number of comments on the story.

Yes everyone accepts that she fell into the trap of drink and drugs. It is not clever to point out that she was a recovering drug addict. It is heartless to imply that she somehow deserved death.

On the talent front, inevitably her second album Back to Black is going to become one of 'those' albums now. She had the ability to perform in the classic style of soul, R&B and even jazz but not lose that "what you looking at?" swagger of her Southgate upbringing.

The woman won five Grammys. Not the actions of "an everyday female pub singer" or someone who was "vastly over-rated."

Clearly these self-righteous, downright uncalled-for twitterings are not limited to KentOnline. Most people's views on their place in society is also widespread. Many of the comments left were respectful, which should be acknowleged.

That Amy has joined the fateful 27 Club - which includes the likes of Kurt Cobain, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin - will no doubt automatically propel her into the category of legend.

But it is nothing less than deserved. She was a huge talent who never fully reached her potential and that - regardless of how she lived her life and what contributed to her death - is a tragedy in itself.

Categories: blogs and bloggers | Celebrities | Entertainment | Media | Showbiz | Tweeters

I drink, therefore I am

by The What's On blog, with Chris Price Monday, March 7 2011

They say if you can remember the 1960s then you weren't there.

Perhaps the O2's new nightclub Proud2 is pushing for a similar slogan, judging by the incredible party they threw for their press launch on Thursday.

Yes Thursday. Four days ago and I still can barely remember anything past 11.30pm from that night. The occassional free bar is a wonderful perk of the journalistic world but they never lose their devastating potential.

And on Thursday, it felt like they caused Armageddon for my liver.

Ok, so I fell fowl of having a few too many glasses of champagne and can barely report on The Bees, Nero and The Mystery Jets, pictured left, who performed on the night to the, shall we say, enthusiastic crowd.

That doesn't make me a criminal but it did make me ponder my attitude towards drinking.

Did I go out with a couple of my mates on Thursday with the intention of getting mind-bogglingly bladdered at the free event? No I didn't. Did we decide we were going to take advantage of the free booze on offer? You bet!

There lies the problem. Although we claim to know our limit, all notion of moderation went out of the window once what was on offer became free.

Was my shaky camera work at the opulently laid out and impressive club a sign of unprofessionalism? Or did I just have a few too many on a night where I was letting my hair down?

Perhaps we deserved the raging hangovers (mine suffered at work) the following day. But should we feel bad about it?

I was still at work at 8am and able to report on what was going on. Work hard, play hard is a philosophy that has served many before me well and will serve many well in the future.

Should I have felt naughty for arriving at my desk bleary-eyed the next day, even though I got on with the task in hand? Answers on a postcard please.


In Strictly news, Tom Chambers appears to be the main star set to grace the stage at the New Marlowe Theatre when their first programme of events gets underway in October.

He will don his dancing shoes once again for Top Hat, the first ever stage version of the 1935 film starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

Tom was never my favourite Strictly Come Dancing champion. Lisa Snowden or Rachel Stevens should have won that year but no one could deny he was a charmer.

Also Tom made no secret of claiming Fred and Ginger were his dancing idols during his run to the glitterball in 2008.

Which surely means his toe-tapping antics will be a coup for the new Marlowe, who will stage the show before it goes on a West End run.

Categories: Celebrities | Dancing | Entertainment | Health | Leisure | Media | Showbiz | Work

Kent's film industry takes the next s-Depp

by The What's On blog, with Chris Price Friday, December 31 2010

Kent has some great theatres and music venues which pull in big name acts but not enough is said about the success of its film industry.

As 2010 comes to a close, the Kent Film Office at Kent County Council can look back on a year which has seen Sean Bean and Danny Dyer filming for movie Age of Heroes in Gravesend and Pluckley, comedian Alan Davies film his programme Teenage Revolution in Canterbury and Gary Lineker make a Walkers crisps advert in Sandwich.

This is without mentioning perhaps the biggest news of all - a friend of mine spotted Johnny Depp (pictured - Disney Enterprises) in Sevenoaks' Knole Park a couple of months ago, working on the new Pirates of the Caribbean film, set for release in May 2011.

Pretty spectacular stuff really. Some of it is down to the new Highways Bill, which KCC brought in this year to give them legal powers to close roads for filming. Kent is the only place outside London where this can be done.

It is also down to the success of previous projects. Michael Gambon, who lives in Gravesend, starred in BBC drama Emma, filmed in Chilham and Michael Caine starred in the movie Is Anybody There, shot largely around Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch steam railway. Don't forget Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson filming The Other Boleyn Girl at Knole House in Sevenoaks, Dover Castle and Penshurst Place near Tunbridge Wells too a couple of years back.

It brings out a feeling of wonder to think such names are gracing our county because of its stunning scenery and friendly local authorities. I remember the look on some pal's faces at my local when they told me that the day before they had seen Sean Bean and Danny Dyer pop in for a beer in full Second World War outfits as they put together the true story of the formation of Ian Fleming's 30 Commando unit inside the underground nuclear defense tunnels in the town's Woodlands Park.

What a feeling it will be then, when blockbusters like Pirates of the Caribbean hit cinema screens and you can gleefully point during the Kent scenes and say "I've been there."


As the Queen publishes her New Year's honours List today, I'd like to acknowledge Mrs Caroline Margaret Elliott, who has been awarded an MBE for voluntary service to the Trinity Theatre in Tunbridge Wells. This is a great little theatre which shows great films and pulls in big name acts (author and comedian Arthur Smith and jazz singer Stacey Kent are just two coming up this year). Yet it would not run without the great team of volunteers who keep it open for its appreciative public.

Categories: Celebrities | Entertainment | KCC | Media | Showbiz

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