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Shaadi No 1 is a multi-starrer Bollywood (Hindi language) comedy film released in 2005. ~*~PLOT~*~ Three friends are all so bored with their marriages that they unsuccessfully try to commit suicide. Raj's wife Bhavana has become a bit too religious so denies him sex, Veer's wife Diya is so busy concentrating on her acting career that she neglects her husband and Aryan's wife Sonia is so busy being a career lawyer that she also neglects her husband. The guys meet 3 sexy women on the beach and decide to have a bit of extra-marital fun even though they really love their respective wives. Lucky Bhai comes into their lives and threatens to ruin their marriages, how do they get out of this one? ~*~ANALYSIS~*~ Despite starring some good actors, I was not impressed with this film. I generally like Sanjay Dutt, he's done some great films over the years but I'm not sure why he agreed to this role in Shaadi No. 1. I'm not overly keen on Bollywood comedies and will admit that most David Dhawan films have not really impressed me to date either, so I guess it was my fault for watching a film directed by him, although in my defence I thought Sanjay Dutt starring in the film would mean it was fairly watchable. Dhawan seems to like making films with No 1 in the title - maybe thinking this will make them super hits? He directed Coolie No 1 in 1995 (coolie meaning porter), Hero No 1 in 1998, Biwi No 1 in 1999 (biwi meaning wife), Jodi No 1 in 2001 (jodi meaning partners). I understand these films were successful enough with Indian audiences but personally they're not to my taste. The idea of 3 married men wanting to commit suicide and whining about their wives not paying them enough attention made me want to laugh. Women have been putting up with non-attentive husbands forever and we don't see Bollywood making films about women having affairs because that wouldn't be acceptable. It's okay to have men having flings or chasing after women (whether or not they're successful is another matter) and people accepting this but God forbid that women should do the same thing. Are women supposed to take their wedding vows more seriously than men? Seriously Bollywood, stop all these double standards and the world might view India as a more progressive country rather than the backward place it's still seen as by many. The main problem aside from the sexist side of things was how similar the three friends were and how it was so convenient that all three of them were having the same doubts about their marriage (although the writers had just about enough sense to make the wives neglect their husbands for differing reasons) and three tempting women all arrive on the scene at around the same time. That's more than one coincidence too many. Both the Khans (Fardeen and Zayed) were not convincing in delivering their funny lines and Zayed got more irritating than Fardeen as the film went on with his squeaking lines out. I wanted to slap him hard so knock the silly voice out of him. At least Sharman Joshi can pull off comedy better than his male co-stars who are both much more suited to serious roles. Ayesha Takia, Esha Deol and Soha Ali Khan as the three wives all looked suitably gorgeous but none of them suit comedy particularly well and the other three actresses Riya Sen, Aarti Chhabria and Sophiya Chaudhary were no better. All in all the comic scenes came across as fake or hammy. I don't think I chuckled once, even if Sanjay Dutt did deliver some faintly amusing scenes. This is a film that will appeal to men more than women. It's definitely not a film to be taken in the least bit seriously and the attempts at being serious in some scenes just didn't work - either be a comedy or don't. Trying to deliver serious lines in a film sold as a comedy just won't work and will alienate your audience. Overall no one shone in this film and maybe that's the problem with having a multi-starrer like this. Too many leads makes it confusing as to who the audience should be rooting for. I felt vaguely sorry for the wives but no one in particular made me sit up and take particular notice and wish for them in particular to work things out with their husband. The music was average throughout the film. The choreography was pretty good and some of the songs were toe-tapping tunes and fairly catchy. It's a colourful film packed full of good looking cast and nice scenery throughout but that's not enough to make this even be classed as an average film for me personally. ~*~RATING~*~ A below average 2 out 5 from me - this is not a film that I'd recommend and I definitely won't be watching it again. It's way too juvenile especially about something as "grown up" as marriage and the humour just isn't humorous! ~*~CAST/CREW/OTHER INFO~*~ Starring: Fardeen Khan, Zayed Khan, Sharman Joshi, Ayesha Takia, Esha Deol, Soha Ali Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Co-starring: Riya Sen, Aarti Chhabria, Sophiya Chaudhary, Rajpal Yadav, Satish Shah Director: David Dhawan Producer: Vashu Bhagnani Cinematography: Johnny Lal Music: Anu Malik Playback singers: Shaan, Sanjeev, Sunidhi Chauhan, Abhijeet, Krishna Beura, Aqueel, Sonu Nigan, Anuradha Paudwal, Rahul Vaidya, Prajakta Shukre Release date: 2005 Duration: 145 minutes Certification: 15 DVD extras: film, scene selection, song selection, English subtitles, various trailers for other films
I can't quite remember how I came across the Social Discount Network website but it was during 2013 some time. Social Discount Network is a very basic retail website which claims to be the future of online shopping for those that wish to buy ultra cool products. They claim to save you 60-90% off high street prices and that their deals are guaranteed to be cheaper than any other daily deal site. They suggest that you invite your friends to the site to get rewarded but I'm not sure what those rewards entail as it's not made clear anywhere on the site aside from saying they give free gifts and goodies. They claim that if they're not cheaper than other daily deals sites that they won't run the deal. The site is very easy to navigate with tabs for: * Today's Deals * Current Deals * Ending Deals * Supersale Deals There are also tabs for FAQs and to contact the site. Along side each "deal" there is a timer which handily tells you how many days/hours/minutes/seconds are left on each deal so you can place your order in good time. The site claims to have great discounts on brands such as Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Diesel, FCUK, Vivenne Westwood, Oakley, Levi's, Mabelline, Revlon, etc. The sorts of deals available on the site include things like Michael Kors Inspired Bag for £19.99 instead of RRP of £79.99 (would you pay £79.99 for a fake designer bag?), or Glow in the Dark Garden Pebbles for £4.99 instead of RRP of £14.99, Wireless Bluetood Handset for £29.99 instead of RRP of £99.99 (I didn't know you could get Bluetooths which weren't wireless), Burtons Denim Long Sleeve Shirt for £6.99 instead of RRP of £38 I saw a pair of jeans that I thought looked very comfortable and at a bargain price so placed an order through the website and made a Paypal payment including £4 for delivery. For the sake of writing a thorough review of what went wrong I'll discuss the actual dates and the amounts involved. I placed an order on 2nd September and was emailed confirmation that the item would be despatched by 4th September. When there was still no sign of my jeans on 16th September, I emailed them to ask where the jeans were. They replied saying they had been posted on the 8th (which I don't for one minute believe). The jeans arrived on the 18th and I found that they had sent the wrong size and length. I am 5ft7 so usually order longer length jeans or trousers. There was no question of me having ordered the wrong size or length as I had the order confirmation with the correct details in but it was very annoying that they took so long to respond to my queries. They claimed that they would send me the correct item but I would have to bear the postage costs. I decided not to bother ordering the item again as it just wasn't worth it and to lose out on my return postage was even more annoying considering it was clearly their mistake. I received a refund on my Paypal account but no response to my request for them to refund my return postage. I asked them to stop sending me their spam emails as I would not be ordering from them again. 6 months later and they are still emailing me. This also makes a mockery of their FAQs where one of the questions is about spam where they state "We won't send you or any of your friends spam! You will get from us notifications of our daily deals and status updates of your orders. At any time you can unsubscribe by clicking the link at the bottom of each email." How many times do you have to click unsubscribe for them to actually take any notice? Even though the FAQs tell you that delivery times will vary from deal to deal the only time I placed an order with site proves that they don't really stick to their promises where it comes to delivery times. They advised me the estimated despatch date would be between 2nd to 4th September yet it wasn't received until after I chased it on 16th September. The website states that items are sent by "Royal Mail 1st Class, Royal Mail First Class Recorded, Royal Mail Special Delivery or City Link Courier." Should you really expect to pay £4 for delivery and then have to wait 16 days for delivery? Also if an order says a certain size or length of an item, you kind of expect this to be honoured as well. I am surprised they actually got the colour right when I placed my order but that may just be that there was only one colour available so they couldn't really get that part of the order wrong. I am very reluctant to give Social Discount Network more than 1 out of 5 stars as the service level was very poor and the order I placed was not properly fulfilled. If they had made a real effort to investigate what went wrong with my order and apologise as well as refunding my return postage I might have considered re-ordering the item, using the site again and giving them a better rating but as it stands they won't be getting any further money out of me.
Hastey Hastey is a Bollywood (Hindi language) comedy film released in 2008 starring Jimmy Sherfill and Rajpal Yadav with actresses Nisha Rawal and Monishka in their debut roles. Hastey Hastey quite literally means "Laughing Laughing". ~*~PLOT~*~ Neel Singh graduates from a US university and somehow manages to get funded to open a call centre back in India. He's in love with his girlfriend Maya but her father isn't keen on Neel. When he's in India, colleague Tanvi attempts to seduce him but does he cheat on Maya? Why does he end up in trouble with the law when he's back in the USA? ~*~ANALYSIS~*~ Despite the title of the film being Hastey Hastey which implies it's a comedy and fun film, I didn't find this film funny. I've never been keen on Rajpal Yadav so parts of this film were torture for me; I'll come back to him in a bit. Jimmy Shergill is a nice looking guy but sadly his acting skills are no great shakes. I'm not surprised he's not offering more leading roles when you see him in something like this. He didn't put a lot of effort into being convincing as a guy in love or a guy being offered a golden opportunity to build a business in his home country. Shergill's a pretty boy but he doesn't bring too much more than that to this role. Both Nisha Rawal and Monishka appear in the film in their debut roles - one as the girlfriend and one as the wannabe girlfriend. Whilst they book looked gorgeous on screen, it was evident that this was their first shot at acting as neither impressed with their acting skills. Back to Rajpal Yadav, a comedian, who unluckily for me played 3 parts in the film, the part of Neel's best friend, Sunny, as well as playing Sunny's dad and uncle. So when you dislike a particular "comedian" in a Bollywood film and to get lumbered with the aforementioned playing 3 separate parts it was pretty much torture for me and I was hard pushed to watch the film to the end. To top it all off Yadav's main character, Sunny, is a compulsive flirt who seems obsessed with white women and it's amazing that the filmmakers expected us to buy that he has ANY degree of success with women as he's not good-looking and his character was just very annoying. It is very irritating to see in some Bollywood films when they make out white women to be bimbos in general who will put up with any old nonsense from Indian men. The overall story was nothing out of the ordinary, part of the film is supposed to be a love story, then you have supposed comedy (none of which I personally found amusing) and then some twists and turns which were yawn-inducing. The music was average and the cinematography was slightly above average. Filming was carried out in India and USA. I wasn't surprised at all by the ending even if the filmmakers were trying to go for something different. I'm surprised through that I managed to stay tuned to the end of the film. Thankfully it wasn't nearly 3 hours long like many Bollywood offerings, just over 2 hours was long enough for me to sit through this offering which unsurprisingly didn't do too well at the box office. ~*~RATING~*~ I imagine you'll guess that Hastey Hastey is not getting a high rating from me. I'll be kind and give it 2 out of 5 stars purely because the leads were pleasant enough to see on screen and the music and cinematography together were just above average. ~*~CAST/CREW/OTHER INFO~*~ Starring: Jimmy Shergill, Rajpal Yadav, Nisha Rawal and Monishka, Shakti Kapoor Directors: Tony Maudsley, Ramanjit Juneja Producers: Ashutosh Bajpay, Shivaram Kumar Writers: Gabinder Agarwal, Bolu Khan Cinematography: Damodar Naidu Music: Anu Malik Release date: 2008 Certification: PG Duration: 122 minutes DVD extras: film, scene selection, song selection, English subtitles
Revlon New Complexion One-Step Compact Makeup is a foundation in a compact which is classed as a cream-to-powder foundation. It gives you SPF15 protection and includes titanium dioxide as the active sunscreen. I've been using Revlon New Complexion One-Step for 8 or 9 years now. I think I first spotted it not long after it was newly released prior to which I had been using Revlon Colorstay Make-Up for several years. I had found the Colorstay to be a pretty good match for my skin colour but the foundation itself was quite matte and didn't really give my skin space to breathe whilst wearing it. When I first purchased New Complexion One-Step I went for the same shade I had been using for the Colorstay as I wanted something that gave as good coverage but that was somewhat lighter on the skin. It was an experiment of sorts and I didn't know at that time that I would get hooked on this foundation and pretty much not want to use anything else since! The foundation is presented in an easy to use dark brown compact with a mirror. The makeup is in the top section and if you lift this section the sponge is located below with holes in the bottom of the compact so the sponge can breathe whilst not in use. The best way to apply this foundation is over a moisturiser with the applicator sponge provided in the casing. You can apply very little for light coverage or a bit more for full coverage if you want to hide blemishes. I tend to go for medium coverage and find that it sets very well. I use shade 10 which is called Natural Tan and this is the perfect shade for my skin colour. The foundation feels silky whilst applying and sets to a natural looking powdery finish, although you can apply powder over it too if you wish (I personally rarely bother with powder applying this). It lasts the whole day when I wear it to work - a good 8-10 hours easily and then some. The only downside to using this is if you touch your face and then touch anything white afterwards (e.g. paper) as it will leave clear tell-tale marks. The foundation is easy to remove with makeup remover wipes or cleanser or just regular soap and water. Revlon New Complexion One-Step Compact Makeup is not very easy to source in stores these days. I used to buy it from Boots stores for around £10 but I was advised about 3 years ago by staff in several different branches of Boots that it had been discontinued. This was rather worrying as it was freely available on the Boots website and so I continued to buy it at full price from Boots for well over a year until one VERY worrying day when I was advised it was out of stock. I went hunting around on the internet and couldn't believe it when I found it at fragrancedirect.co.uk for £4. I ordered half a dozen a few months ago and on checking a few months later it was still available at that price so I bought another dozen or so to stock up. Some time later this particular site stopped stocking it and I found it back in stock on the Boots website. More recently I've found it to be harder to source and costing around £15-20 each but I still have half a dozen or so left to use. ~*~OTHER INFO~*~ Each compact contains just 9.9g or 0.35oz of product in it. The available shades are For light skin shades: * Ivory Beige * Tender Peach * Sand Beige * Natural Beige Medium skin shades: * Medium Beige * Cool Beige * Honey Beige * Warm Beige Deep skin shades: * Sun Beige * Natural Tan The range doesn't go darker than Natural Tan or lighter than Ivory Beige so may not be suitable for very fair skin or very dark skin. ~*~MY RATING~*~ My rating of Revlon New Complexion One-Step Compact Makeup is a strong 5 out of 5. I hope to continue using this for a long time and just hope it doesn't get completely discontinued. ~*~INGREDIENTS~*~ Dimethicone, Isopropyl Isostearate, Nylon 12, Boron Nitride, Talc, Silica, Neopentyl Glycol Diethlyhexanoate, Tribehenin, Sorbitan Trioleate, Pentahyrdosqualene, Lauryl PEG/PPG-18/18 Methicone, Isostearyl Behenate, Lauroyl Lysine, Lecithin, Tridecyl Trimellitate, Saccharomyces Magnesium Ferment, Myristyl Myristate, Candelilla Cera (Euphorbia Cerifera Wax), Polyglyceryl 4 Isostearate, Soy Amino Acids, Cera Carnauba (Copernicia Cerifera Wax), Saccharomyces Zinc Ferment, Saccharomyces Copper Ferment, Saccharomyces Iron Ferment, Saccharomyces Silicon Ferment, Saccharomyces Potassium Ferment, Alumina, Cyclomethicone, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Polyethylene, Ethylene/Methacrylate Copolymer, Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate, Barium Sulfate, Dehydroacetic Acid, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, BHT, Iron Oxides, Mica, Titanium Dioxide
Badhaai Ho Badhaai is a Bollywood (Hindi language) film released in 2002 starring and produced by Anil Kapoor. Badhaai Ho Badhaai means "Congratulations/Let's Celebrate". ~*~PLOT~*~ Anjali Chadda and Steven D'Souza eloped 27 years ago as their families didn't agree to their marriage and the families have not been in touch with them since then. Prior to the elopement, the D'Souza and Chadda families were firm friends celebrating both Christian and Hindu religious festivals together. One day Raja turns up, he's the son of Anjali and Steven but he doesn't get the warm reception he was hoping for. Raja doesn't give up, he is determined to bring the families back together but his uncles on both sides are adamant that the families will remain mortal enemies. Banto Betty enters the story claiming to be Raja's wife but he claims he's never seen her before. Who is she and how will this affect Raja's attempts at reuniting the families? ~*~ANALYSIS~*~ The film starts off rather confusingly as you have no idea what these two neighbouring families are angry with each other about. The patriarchs of both families seem to be have been relegated to "senile old man" position with their older sons acting as heads of the families. When a letter arrives from Steven and Anjali's son Raja saying he's coming to stay the respective uncles Moses and Jassi decree that Raja won't be welcome in their homes. It seems rather harsh considering it's been 27 years since their siblings eloped and no one seems to have bothered to keep in touch to even find out if they're alive. From early on you see both sets of grandparents wanting to build a relationship with Raja but they're all too scared of their sons' fury to go against them, which I found to be quite odd, especially for Indian families. It was quite sad to see Raja turning up with his best friend Lucky (not so lucky for Raja obviously) and be rejected by both families and then the rest of the village refusing to rent him any accommodation due to having been threatened by the Chaddas and D'Souzas. In quite a hilarious scene on Raja's first night in the village when he decides he and Lucky will sleep under a tree all the villagers are running around like crazy at 8pm to close their shops and get their families inside. One would assume some bandits are due to raid the village but this isn't the case. At 8pm sharp every night a local called Ghuman Singh starts singing at the top of his voice. He can't hold a tune and the rest of the village hide inside their homes trying to cover their ears and drown out this man's awful singing. He thinks he's a fabulous singer when, in actuality, he's pretty awful. He's played by Kader Khan who does a great job at playing this silly man who can't hold a tune to save his life and insists on inflicting his singing on everyone every night. Raja and Lucky dance to his music and this makes Ghuman so happy he offers a roof over their head. As Raja slowly worms his way into the affections of his grandmothers they, in turn, try to fix him up with girls to marry. He panics and tells them that he's already married and is then quite shocked when he starts receiving love letters from his supposed wife Banto Betty. He's even more stunned when a beautiful woman turns up in the village claiming to be Banto Betty. Raja is played by Anil Kapoor who I personally rate quite highly as an actor. This was actually his debut film as a producer and I feel he balanced the role of producer and lead actor very well. The character of Raja is really likeable from the minute he appears on screen and even when some facts come to light about his background he still comes across as a really decent human being. His attitude towards his "wife" is quite amusing as he genuinely doesn't seem to have a clue who she is. Banto Betty (given that name due to her being half Hindu and half Christian like Raja) is played by Shilpa Shetty. She's quite funny as she plays the role as if she's a total bimbo although in some scenes her rather loud screeching did get a bit annoying. She looks stunning throughout the film and her dancing is superb. She's not introduced till almost halfway through the film so she doesn't get as much screen time as her leading man but maybe just as well due to the amount of shouting she did. The supporting cast did a very able job in their roles although I felt the characters Moses and Jassi were a bit over the top - they were the closest things to villains that the film had and some of their acting was quite hammy. The music for the film was pleasant enough and the choreography by Ahmed Khan was quite brilliant. I'd never heard any of the songs before watching the film though so they weren't hit songs that I know of. A slight criticism is that there were probably too many songs which dragged out the film's duration overall. The cinematography was pretty good throughout the film and the locations used all looked very authentic. I felt the film had rather strange ending and it didn't seem to be in line with the rest of the film. It was left slightly open to interpretation which is not very common in this type of Bollywood film. It was a comedy drama but the ending didn't quite gel for me. This is not a criticism; rather more just a statement of fact. The film wasn't a hit at the time of its release, which is a shame as I personally felt it was a pretty good watch all round. In part of the film Kapoor is seen wearing a fat suit and this section of the story seems to have been lifted directly from The Nutty Professor. ~*~RATING~*~ A decent 4 out of 5 stars for Badhaai Ho Badhaai from me as it's a decent entertainer well worth a watch. A good all round film suitable for the whole family with lots of feel good stuff thrown in. ~*~CAST/CREW/OTHER INFO~*~ Starring: Anil Kapoor, Shilpa Shetty, Suresh Menon, Keerti Reddy, Kader Khan Co-starring: Amrish Puri, K. Vishwanath, Farida Jalal, Anang Desai, Govind Namdeo, Rohini Hattangadi, Vinay Jain Director: Satish Kaushik Producer: Anil Kapoor Writer: Kavita Choudhary Cinematographer: Rajiv Jain Music: Anu Malik Playback singers: Shaan, Alka Yagnik, Sonu Nigan, KK, Udit Narayan, Kunal Ganjawala Release date: 2002 Duration: 145 minutes Certification: PG DVD contents: film, scene selection, song selection, English subtitles
Fox is a 2009 Bollywood (Hindi language) film starring Arjun Rampal and Sunny Deol. Arjun Kapoor is a Mumbai based defence lawyer with a highly successful career behind him. One day when he's defending his friend on the charges of rape and murder, his friend admits that he's guilty. The following day, racked with guilt, he accuses his friend of being a rapist and murderer in court and is disbarred for his behaviour. He moves to Goa to re-evaluate his life and meet McNamara who's a retired lawyer who's written a very good book called "Fix the Fox". The next day when he goes to visit McNamara he is told that he's died. He decides to take the book to a publisher as a tribute to the dead man but somehow it gets published with his name. What happens from here on is the basis for the thriller that is Fox. I understand that Fox is based on an American film which I won't name as if you've seen that you'll guess the plot of this film, although from what I understand there are some major differences in the story. Arjun Rampal plays Arjun Kapoor, the cynical defence lawyer, at the centre of the story who gets disbarred when he gets an attack of guilt and accuses his buddy of being guilty of rape and murder when he's supposed to be giving his closing defence arguments. As he tells his girlfriend over the phone that he's had enough of defending people who are guilty of crimes; a shadowy figure holding a gun retreats into the background. As viewers, we're left wondering who the gunman was who seemed about to shoot the lawyer but changes their mind when they hear him on the phone. The story jumps ahead 10 months or so to when Arjun (now living a laid back life in Goa spending most of his days lazing around on his boat) meets a retired lawyer who asks Arjun to take him fishing. Arjun gets along very well with the older man so it doesn't seem unusual when the man asks him to have a read of his book which he wants to get published. The book is a crime novel about the murder of 5 lawyers. It's a well written book and Arjun stays up all night reading it. Things really get a bit complicated when the older man dies and Arjun tries to get the book published as a tribute to McNamara but the pushy publisher who happens to be the very sexy Sophia seems to have designs on Arjun and publishes the book with Arjun's name as the author. It also gets a bit more complicated when we find that Sophia is seeing Arjun's ex-friend on the side, the same friend he was supposed to be defending when he had his attack of guilt over defending guilty people. This part of the story was a bit strange, if Sophia is chasing Arjun, how is it that she's already dating his ex-friend? What would you do in the same situation? Would you take credit for a book that you never wrote and that no one can disprove that you wrote it as the original author had no family and you hold the original manuscript? It's a moral dilemma which is slightly looked into within the film but all is not as it seems but possibly not as much as it could have been explored, after all, this is not a preachy film but a thriller. The viewer thinks something is going on which isn't and doesn't suspect anything about something which isn't at all indicated until later on; which in my mind makes this film a pretty decent thriller. Did I confuse you? Good, because some parts of this film will confuse but not in an annoying way. Sunny Deol is first billed in the film although he doesn't appear until about halfway through the film as a Police Inspector which made me wonder if he insisted on being first billed as he's supposedly more famous than Arjun Rampal. It made me smile thinking that was the case as Rampal himself is a pretty decent actor (plus he's really gorgeous). Deol's acting was probably average for his standards and I felt Rampal did really well in his role. Sagarika Ghatge plays Rampal's girlfriend in the film and she might as well have not been in the film for the impact she made on me, her role was almost non-existent and the screen time she had was just boring. Udita Goswami plays the vixen of a book publisher who looked and dressed more like a hooker than a serious professional businesswoman. Her acting was only a smidge better than Ghatge's but she wasn't going to be winning any awards, unless it was the award for "Shortest dress you can get away with wearing into the office". Thankfully not too many songs were included in the film and the few that were included were pleasant enough. For a 2 hour film there was enough plot to try and squeeze in without adding too many unnecessary songs. Nigam Bomzan's cinematography was nothing particularly special but some of the scenes in Goa were well filmed, especially as it's such a beautiful place. I can't tell if this is a better offering from Deepak Tijori compared to his other work as I haven't seen anything else that he's directed, produced or written. I have seen him as an actor though but he didn't get any big parts really so the logical thing for him to do I guess was to go into film-making instead. RATING My rating for the film is a decent 4 out of 5. I enjoyed it even if it didn't do too well at the box office or with the critics. And no, it's not just because of the gorgeous Arjun Rampal being in the film! CREDITS Producer/director/story/screenplay: Deepak Tijori Cast: Arjun Rampal, Sunny Deol, Sagarika Ghatge, Udita Goswami, Vipul Gupta Cinematography: Nigam Bomzan Music: Monty Sharma Playback singers: Kunal Ganjawala, Shreya Ghoshal, KK, Akriti Kakkar, Sunidhi Chauhan Release date: 2009 Certification: unknown (possibly a 12) Duration: 120 minutes
Saawariya is a Bollywood (Hindi language) film which was released in 2007. The film is based on the Russian short story White Nights by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Gulabji is a prostitute who meets Raj one night at a bar where she drinks after a night's work. Raj is a singer and Gulabji is quite taken with him due to his sweet nature and lovely singing voice. Raj treats her with the utmost respect and when she offers to let him spend the night with her for free as he's homeless, he kindly rejects her saying he doesn't see her that way. She is very touched by this and suggests he tries to get lodgings with an elderly lady Lilian nearby. Lilian is quite outspoken and initially refuses Raj lodgings but he wins around with his adorable nature and he also reminds her of his son who left home 37 years ago and never returned. Raj calls her Lillypop which is what her son used to call her. Raj, by chance, meets a tearful young woman called Sakina on the bridge one night and falls madly in love with her. He escorts her home and she seems to be receptive to his friendship. He decides to declare his love for her the next day but finds she was waiting on the bridge for her love, Imaan, who left some time ago. Will Imaan ever return? Can Raj make Sakina fall for him and forget about Imaan? I found Saawariya to be a delightful film and was surprised to find it was a flop on its release. This was likely due to it being released at the same time as Om Shanti Om which became a super hit film, pretty much leaving Saawariya in its shadows. The story of Saawariya is told by Gulabji, played by the beautiful Rani Mukerji, an affectionate but sassy "tart with a heart". She calls Raj "Saawariya" meaning "my love", but it's not a romantic love, she loves him and looks out for him as a friend as she narrates the story of Raj's love for Sakina and what he goes through to try to win her over. The story is told over a period of 4 days with flashbacks in a few scenes to a year previously. Most of the film is set at night which gave it an eerie effect and most of the scenes are set outdoors. The locales used in the film don't look like anywhere I've ever seen in India at all and this was because the film is set in an imaginary city, a fantasy city if you will. The neighbourhood where Raj resides is full of prostitutes at night yet it did not look at all like a run-down area. There's a beautiful bridge and a lake and gondolas floating romantically under the low bridges. The streets are spotless - this is not any part of India I know. It really looks more like a fantasy world than reality and is almost like an animation rather than a film. The scenery throughout the film is spectacular and often it seems like you're watching a stage play rather than a film. This was Ranbir Kapoor's debut film and he was just fabulous. He's nice looking but not stunning, he comes across as a stand up guy with a heart of gold who just has lots of love for everyone. In an early scene in the film, he plays catch with the neighbourhood prostitutes and they all take him to their heart as well as Gulabji. Sonam Kapoor also debuted in the film as Sakina. I can't say she made me a fan of hers with her acting prowess and to be honest, I couldn't quite figure out why Raj falls so hard for a girl after such a brief encounter. She did well enough in the role but I do really think the film belonged to Ranbir Kapoor's character. Salman Khan has a special appearance in the film as Imaan and here's another character where it didn't make any sense that a girl would fall so madly in love with him. He's not very friendly, he's very secretive and he disappears for a whole year sayng he'll be back in a year's time with no kind of explanation as to where he's going but says that it would be dangerous to take Sakina with him. I would have thought he was some sort of terrorist with that sort of behaviour. All in all, it's a beautiful piece of cinema to watch. There are a LOT of songs in the film and this is partly why it reminded me of a stage musical as there seemed to be more scenes with music in than without. But Monty Sharma's music was pleasant throughout. I wouldn't say any of the songs blew me away but they were all easy to listen to and to make it better, they all flowed well with the story. The film was produced and directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali who is a renowned producer/director in Bollywood with hits such as Khamoshi: The Musical, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Devdas and Black behind him. He also has a string of film awards under his belt for the aforementioned films. Sadly Saawariya wasn't a hit which is a surprise as I found it to be a genuinely lovely cinematic experience although at 140 minutes it was a tad too long. The PG certification is suitable for the film although I feel quite younger view would be rather bored by the film as it's a romance through and through. Ravi K Chandran's cinematography really deserves applause although surprisingly it didn't win any awards. Ranbir Kapoor got Best Male Debut and Monty Sharma received the RD Burman Award at the Filmfare Awards. Ranbir Kapoor won 3 other awards for his role as well which were well deserved. Saawariya gets a strong 4 out of 5 stars from me. Due to having too many songs and parts of the story not quite making sense is probably good enough reason to lose the 1 star.
The Private Affairs of Bel Ami is a 1947 film based on a novel called Bel Ami (French for "beautiful male friend") by Guy de Maupassant. This should not be confused with the film Bel Ami released in 2012 also based on the same book. ~PLOT~ Georges Duroy is a scheming rogue who spends much of his time making women fall in love with him and taking monetary advantage of them in 19th century Paris. His aim is to become titled and rich beyond his dreams. He doesn't bargaining on actually failing for one of his conquests Clotilde de Marelle but will this be enough to stop his philandering caddish behaviour or will he stop at nothing to aspire to the social standing he wants? ~ANALYSIS~ George Sanders plays the title role of George Duroy also known as "Bel Ami". Whilst Sanders is a great actor, I don't think he was all that good looking to given the title of "beautiful male friend". He has a certain air of charisma about him, no doubt, but he's not exactly irresistible to women, even if his character is. It makes one wonder about that saying that all women are attracted to a bad boy! Was this really true even at the end of the 19th century? His character reminded me a lot of Addison de Witt of All About Eve for which Sanders won an Oscar, charming and with his own agenda to get what he wants, except de Witt wasn't the main character of that story and this film is set around the character of Duroy, who viewers will love to hate. Angela Lansbury looked gorgeous in her role as Clotilde, the only woman to really get under Duroy's skin. I haven't seen many Lansbury movies from this era knowing her mostly from her "Murder She Wrote" series but she was a delight to watch in the female lead. There are some very touching scenes between Lansbury and Sanders near the start of the film when they first meet and when he takes her out dancing. As she's a widow it's not the done thing in 1880 to go out dancing in public so she dresses as a maid and he takes her out dancing and they have an absolute whale of a time. It's during these scenes that we first hear the song Bel Ami which is quite delightful. Lansbury looked graceful and stunning throughout the film as did pretty much all of the female characters in the film. I imagine Sanders' character Bel Ami could be compared to characters such as Mr Ripley, Dorian Grey, etc, but Duroy was definitely in a league of his own. From the start of the film we see his desperation to get out of his basic lifestyle but most noble people would attempt to work for it, whereas Duroy almost behaves as if he's entitled to use and then throw aside the women who help him rise in social status. He does start off trying to do well as a journalist and for his first assignment we see he stay awake all night using a pair of Punch and Judy marionettes for inspiration but being unsuccessful he goes to his friend Charles for help who sends him along to seek help from his wife, the beautiful Madeleine, played effortlessly by Ann Dvorak. Dvorak's character was quite inspiring for a woman of that time. She was independent and made no secret of the fact. It was good to have a strong female character who marries "Bel Ami" even knowing what a cad he is but managing to keep her pride throughout. The music throughout the film was quite pleasant although in some scenes, the score sounded a bit comical although there was no comedy in the film really. The cinematography was actually very good and Paris looked great in black and white. The costumes were also well made and the women all looked so elegant in their beautiful full length gowns. I have to mention a really clever scene in the film where Bel Ami looks at a painting in the Walter's home, Max Ernst's Temptation of St Antony. Although the film is all in black and white, this painting is displayed in shocking colour and it's quite a moment when you se this vibrant painting and the look of shock on Sanders' face was actually a picture itself. I thought this scene was very cleverly done indeed. I understand the film's ending was quite the opposite of the book it was based on and this was to appease the censor boards. In today's film industry I doubt the filmmakers would have bowed to this but I can understand why this was done back then. ~QUOTES~ George: I'm a rich man. Got enough money to last me the rest of my life... Charles: The devil you have! George: ...providing I don't live beyond tomorrow afternoon! (hearty laughter) Charles: It always used to annoy me the way women went for you. You suppose it's that devilish look you've got? George: It may be. I've noticed that women take to men who have the appearance of wickedness! Clothilde: You call it strength? But strong men do not descend to such measures. You are not strong! You are sly, cunning, you weave plots, invent schemes. You are no better than a thief, a sneak thief. George: I'm not sure that I like you're saying that. Clothilde: Yes, a thief, you deceive everyone! George: You see Jacques, it's nothing. Just a scratch, I've been scratched... by an old cat... ~RATING~ This is a fabulous black and white cinematic experience especially if you enjoy period drama, I'd give it a strong 5 out of 5 stars. Sanders is really worth watching in this role and fans of Murder She Wrote will be pleasantly surprised to see Lansbury looking so pretty, young and demure in her role in this film. ~CAST/CREW/OTHER~ Starring: George Sanders, Angela Lansbury, Ann Dvorak, John Carradine, Katherine Emery, Susan Douglas, Marie Wilson, Hugo Haas, Warren William Director: Albert Lewin Producer: David L Loew Music: Darius Milhaud Cinematography: Russell Metty Editing: Albrecht Joseph Release date: 1947 Duration: 110 minutes Certification: PG Availability: Amazon
Speed is a Bollywood (Hindi language) film released in 2007 and is pretty much a Bollywood remake of the film Cellular. ~*~PLOT~*~ In Kuala Lumpur a man is on the run from some gunmen and runs into a room and sends a message to MI6 before being killed. In London, Sandy (short for Sandeep) Malhotra has just landed in the UK and is on his way to find his ex and try to make up with her. Meanwhile Sid Verma is at home with his wife Richa and son Bobby. Sid jests with his wife that if he knew he would have to make breakfast for his family every day he wouldn't have become a chef to which she retorts that if she knew she was going to marry a chef, she wouldn't have learnt how to cook. Sandy catches up with his ex and tries to woo her back whilst we see Sid arriving at his restaurant for work in his little sports car, walk through the restaurant to the back where he gains entrance by a hand-print recognition device. He goes straight in to see his boss who says they've received a coded message from an unknown source which means "imminent danger". Shortly afterwards Sid finds out that his wife has been kidnapped and is ordered to follow certain instructions from the kidnappers, whilst Richa has managed to put together a smashed phone where she is being held captive and call out from the phone, getting Sandy on the other end who thinks she's some crazy woman playing a prank. ~*~ANALYSIS~*~ The film opens with the credits displayed over a peppy dance number with the male leads "singing" and dancing with lot of sexy women dancing around them. The film starts off with the scene being set for later events. Sid and Richa's young son tells them over breakfast quite seriously that he wants to get married to a girl at school who's his soul mate. Richa asks how he learnt the word soul mate and he says he heard his dad saying it on the phone to someone. As Sid leaves to take Bobby to school, a visibly upset Richa ask him who this soul mate is. Sid directs her to read the note he left in the oven but after he leaves. She runs to the over only to find a beautiful matching jewellery set, proving that he meant she is his soul mate. In the next scene, Sandy arrives at a hotel, leaves his luggage with a chap in the lobby, speaking to him in Hindi, which the guy clearly doesn't understand and waltzes out to the pool area where there are people lounging around on deck chairs in swimwear. This made me laugh as this is a highly unlikely thing to happen in London. When does anyone lounge around a pool in London? When is it ever warm enough for that to happen? The first bit of sun we get, everyone heads to a beach which we certainly don't have in London hotels! Sandy's ex Sanjana demands to know how he found her to which he responds that he found out from her credit card expenditure. After a brief row, he starts singing to her "I wanna wanna take you home with me, right now, right now. I'm gonna gonna take you home with me, somehow, somehow." We see Sid popping in to see his boss, James, who's been asking for him for over an hour by the time he arrives at work (he doesn't seem to be late). His blond ponytailed boss has the weirdest English accent you can imagine hearing and he can't even pronounce Kuala Lumpur! To top it off the guy can't act to save his life. James wants MI5 to crack the code, no you don't say! We find out in the next scene that Richa is a Science teacher just before she gets kidnapped which is quite funny as she's on phone telling someone she's a Science teacher yet her husband just took their son to school on the way to work and she hasn't even left the house yet. She comes across as quite dopey when her kidnappers tell her that her husband is a secret agent and she insists that he's just a chef in a restaurant. Right? So that's how they have such a HUGE house and he drives an expensive sports car? It's not like Sid is shown to be a famous celebrity chef or anything. Zayed Khan plays the hapless Sandy who's trying to get his girlfriend back and agree to marry him when he gets a call from what he initially thinks is a crazy woman claiming she's been kidnapped and demanding that he help her. He tries to get rid of her initially as his mind is set on winning his love back. Khan is rather fun to watch in the film as he has a wide range of facial expressions, which keeps the film from getting too serious and some of the situations are quite whacky. This is counter-balanced by the character of Sid, who is played by Sanjay Suri, who is serious throughout the film, aside from the first few minutes in the opening scenes. Urmila Matondkar plays Richa, the semi-clueless Science teacher who has no clue what her husband really does for a living yet can put together a smashed up phone to make an outside call in what seems like minutes. She plays the role well, although a lot of scenes she appears in call for her to become rather hysterical as first she's kidnapped and then has to tell her only link to the outside world, a complete stranger, to try to get her son from school before the kidnappers get to him. She gets slapped around quite a bit in the film too, which also called for her to do a lot of screaming and crying, something which she's pretty convincing at, poor thing. None of the other female actresses really stood out in their roles in the film aside from Suhasini Mulay who plays the Indian Prime Minister who's visiting London. Aashish Chaudhary as Inspector Rohan Nath was pretty good in his role for the most part. He plays an officer whose leave is cancelled at the last minute which he was supposed to spend with his girlfriend for her birthday, so he can take charge of the security arrangements for the Indian PM. I don't recall having seen Aftab Shivdasani in other films but he plays the leader of the kidnappers sinisterly enough. In one scene he was quite intimidating when he tells the crying Bobby to shut up or he'll behead him and hang his head from the front of the car. Oooh menacing words indeed and, of course, it shuts the child up instantly. The film moves at a pretty fast pace aside from the initial scenes which set up the story so Speed was probably a good title for the film which is set over the course of just one day. There weren't too many songs in the film thankfully as it would have taken away from the action but the ones that were included were catchy and well placed. The song played during the end credits was quite amusing in that the leads and supporting cast, both good and bad are all dressed up for the song video. One of the lines made me really chuckle: "Is this 98211 14112? Don't hang up please, I think I'm in love with you." I think it was pretty cool for the end credits to be played over a catchy song with the main actors in the film both good and bad singing and dancing together. It was as if to say "Hey we might have been trying to kill each other in the film, but we're all cool really!" ~*~NIGGLES~*~ In one scene Sid goes into a bank where he exchanges places with a customer who has a similar build and look as him and this takes places in the bank toilets. I don't remember even having been into a high street bank which has customer toilets. Some of the liberties they've taken with the plot are quite silly, which makes me wonder why they decided to set the film in London. Even the police can't seem to speak English properly. I don't get why they couldn't hire actually British actors as extras. The accents were just ALL ridiculous. Some of the continuity errors were a bit silly such as Sandy saying his name is Sandeep Malhotra early in the film and towards the end of the film, someone asks him "Mr Sandeep Arora?" and he says "Yes Ma'am". In one scene a character asks for a taxi to take her to Hyde Park Hotel and the subtitles read "Highpark Hotel". At a scene at a school 3 people arrive separately to snatch Bobby yet no teachers are around. It just makes it seem that anyone can walk into school grounds and snatch a child by force and no one would notice. In another scene Sid is told to take some money to Windsor Castle and he's seen near Central London moments before he's at the rendezvous point at the Castle. Oh and let's not forget how the police station reception area seems to look like an office you can just walk into with police officers everywhere. ~*~RATING~*~ Even though I've mentioned several niggles with the plot and continuity errors, I'm happy to give Speed an above average 4 out of 5 stars. It's an enjoyable enough action film with a pretty decent cast who only did what they could with the plot they were given. I wouldn't say this is one of director Vikram Bhatt's best films but I'm not panning it either, even though the critics really slated it. ~*~DVD EXTRAS~*~ The DVD consists of the film, song selection, scene selection, setup (which lets you select English subtitles and choose between Dolby Digital 5.1 or Stereo sound) and features which isn't about the film but a choice of "forthcoming attractions", "now available" and "song compilations". The DVD has a load of adverts at the start for other Bollywood films as well as an advert for Eros who released the DVD. It's really annoying that you can't skip through the adverts, only fast forward through them. ~*~TECHNICAL~*~ Starring: Zayed Khan, Urmila Matondkar, Sanjay Suri, Tanushree Dutta, Aftab Shivdasani, Aashish Chaudhary, Sophie Chaudhary, Suhasini Mulay, Raj Zutshi, Amrita Arora Director: Vikram Bhatt Producer: Harry Baweja Music: Pritam Playback singers: Cinematography: Pravin Bhatt Duration: 125 minutes Certification: 15 Release date: 2007
Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin is a Bollywood (Hindi language) film which was released in 2002 starring 4 of Bollywood's big names - Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwariya Rai, Sanjay Dutt and Ajay Devgan. The film's title means "We're no less than anyone else". The film shouldn't be confused with the 1977 film of the same name. Munna Bhai is a bit of a gangster and whilst chasing an adversary he comes across Komal who is a dance teacher. She gives him a good scolding for his goon-like behaviour and sends him on his way. Normally he wouldn't take this abuse from a woman but it seems he's fallen for this beautiful and feisty dance teacher. One of his henchmen thinks something is seriously wrong with him and makes him visit Dr Malhotra, who says it's nothing, he's just in love. Unbeknownst to Munna Bhai, the doctor is Komal's older and very protective brother. The doc also doesn't know that his sister is in love with Raja and tries to marry her off to someone else. Who will Komal end up with? Will Munna Bhai take kindly to someone else wanting to marry the woman he loves? How will he react when he finds out he has a love rival? Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin is a David Dhawan produced film, which basically makes it a comedy. Dhawan seems to specialise in directing comedies which is all good if you find these comedies funny. Personally I'm yet to come across one of his films which I have really enjoyed. I watched Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin mainly because I admire all of the leads. Sadly they didn't overly impress me in this film. Amitabh Bachchan has been a leading influence in the Bollywood film industry for decades now and he's great at serious roles. I didn't enjoy seeing him in a comedy role and I certainly didn't find him credible as the older brother of Aishwariya Rai (who now happens to be married to his son in real life). Sanjay Dutt as Munna Bhai seems to have got typecast in this type of role in recent years, he did a string of films with Munna Bhai in the title. Sadly he did not impress in Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin. He is definitely more suited to playing action or more serious roles. Ajay Devgan also does not suit comedy. None of the leads really pulled off the comic aspect of their roles in the film for me personally and I understand the film received mixed reviews from the critics. Aiswariya Rai doesn't have to do much in the film aside from look pretty and seem concerned that Munna Bhai has fallen in love with her whilst she's in love with someone else. She could have given a meatier performance, it's definitely not her best effort but I imagine she did what she could with the script. Some of the characters had rather daft names such as Pappu Pager and Munnu Mobile, where do they think these up? Yes, I know it's a comedy, but seriously! Paresh Rawal was cast as a Police Commissioner but again he was wasted in the role. He's also more suited to serious roles. As with many other Bollywood films, the police aren't shown to be very intelligent nor to be respected very much. Overall I wouldn't recommend Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin - the big name cast didn't really think it through when they read the scripts and accepted the roles in the film. I'm pretty sure they don't look back at the roles now and feel proud of themselves, but then again, maybe they do. Maybe they had lots of fun making the film. The film was produced by Afzal Khan and written by Javed Siddiqui and Rumi Jaffery with Manmohan Singh as the cinematographer. The music was by Anu Malik and playback singers included Alka Yagnick, Sonu Nigan, Udit Narayan, Anuradha Paudwal, Vindo Rathod and Anu Malik. The soundtrack was average with the songs being fairly unmemorable. The film runs for 160 minutes and has a 12 certification. My rating for Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin is a rather lack lustre 2 out of 5 stars. NB: this is a film only review as I watched it on a VCD my parents bought from India.
Pyaar Diwana Hota Hai is a Bollywood (Hindi language) film released in 2002 starring Govinda and Rani Mukerji. Payal *PLOT* Sunder moves to the city from a village, he's uneducated and rather a simple chap. His attempts to romance women make him a laughing stock with his rather useless housemates. Along comes Payal who takes pity on him but thinks he is mute due to his babbling incoherently around her. Sunder goes along with her pity thinking she will be returning home to the USA soon but things take a serious turn when she actually falls for him. How will Sunder keep up the pretence of being dumb? Will Payal dump him if and when she finds out his secret? *ANALYSIS* I had seen this film quite a while ago and had I remembered the plot I wouldn't have sat down to watch it again recently. I've never been a fan of Govinda - to be blunt - I find him extremely irritating and don't see what made him so popular in his heyday and popular he really was with Indian cinema-goers. I do admire Rani Mukerji which is my excuse for sitting through the film again until the end even though I thought I remembering what was coming (which I didn't, as I think I must have fallen asleep the first time around way before the end). To say the film had a silly plot would be putting it mildly. I'm not sure what was so loveable about Sunder as a character. I don't know if it's because I find Govinda annoying that I found his character annoying as well or just that his stupid ploy to play dumb and act disabled rankled with me. I didn't think it was funny and the way the film ended was shocking to say the least and totally incredible (and not in a good way). To make matters even worse I'm not sure what age Govinda's character actually was in the film but I believe he was supposed to in his early to mid 20s. Govinda isn't young looking as it is but when he played this role he was 38 so he didn't suit the character he was playing in the first place. Rani Mukerji looked as gorgeous as ever in her role as an NRI (non resident Indian) visiting India from the US. Her character Payal is very sweet and innocent and really falls head over heels in love with Sunder, honestly believing that he is dumb and disabled. Mukerji looks stunning throughout the film and it did make me wonder what such a gorgeous girl was thinking falling for such a buffoon as played by Govinda. It really wasn't credible. The film is supposed to make us believe that people do the craziest things for love but I can't tell you what the craziest thing that happens in the film as it would be a major spoiler but I'd say it's the stupidest thing you could imagine someone doing and it made me feel somewhat sick as well as thinking "That would SO never happen in real life!" The music and songs were nothing of note and the editing and cinematography cannot be rated higher than average. I didn't hate it enough to give it the lowest rating as I couldn't really do that in all fairness to a film with one of my favourite Bollywood actresses in. Mukerji did a pretty good job of her role but it wasn't enough to make the film a hit for me personally. I guess Kirit Kumar, the director, was expecting this to be a hit film with Govinda starring in it as he was a big name during the 90s but honestly, being Govinda's brother doesn't make you a great director automatically Mr Kumar. By the time he acted in this film, I guess Govinda's acting career was hitting the rocks and even though he was apparently having a relationship with his leading lady in the film, I wasn't convinced of any kind of chemistry between the two. I really don't want to write anymore about my thoughts on the film because I felt I wasted enough time watching it TWICE - it obviously didn't make enough impact on me when I watched it 7 or 8 years ago or perhaps I didn't sit through till the end because I was pretty shocked at the silly ending this time as I just wasn't expecting it. *RATING* My rating for this film is a below average 2 out of 5. I wouldn't recommend it as the ending is so ridiculous it will annoy the heck out of you and leave you pretty stunned! *CAST/CREW/OTHER INFO* Starring: Govinda, Rani Mukerji, Om Puri, Farida Jalal, Smita Jaykar, Deepak Tijori, Johnny Lever Director: Kirit Kumar Producer: R B Choudary Writers: Javed Siddiqui, S M Ahale, Shashi Cinematography: Peter Pereira Music: Uttam Singh Playback singers: Vinod Rathod, Alka Yagnik, Udit Narayan, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Hariharan, Preeti Uttam, Sonu Nigam, Jaspinder Narula Release date: 2002 Duration: 160 minutes Certification: PG
The Skin I Live In is a 2011 Spanish film starring Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya and Marisa Paredes. The film is based on a novel called Mygale by Thierry Jonquet. *PLOT SUMMARY* Dr Robert Ledgard is a talented plastic surgeon who has developed artificial skin which is able to withstand insect bites and burns. His methods have been called into question and he is stopped from continuing with his research. Back home at his large and isolated estate he has a big secret. He is holding a woman called Vera hostage with the knowledge of one of his servants Marilia. Marilia's wayward son Zeca turns up one day and seeing Vera on the security cameras ties up his mother and proceeds to rape Vera which results in Robert killing him. As Robert disposes of the body Marilia tells Vera of Robert's true parentage and about his wife who died some time ago and the circumstances surrounding her death. As the story unfolds we learn about Robert's daughter and how Vera came to be in captivity. *ANALYSIS* I'd never heard of The Skin I Live In prior to watching it. Being wholly in Spanish I had to concentrate on keeping up with the subtitles which as a regular viewer of Bollywood films wasn't an issue for me. As the film progressed I found myself quite engrossed in it but in a sort of way that some would watch a car crash happening, not liking it but not wanting to look away. I wouldn't say The Skin I Live In is a horror film but the plot is quite shocking. It's not the typical film I'd choose to watch but being a fan of Banderas I was intrigued to watch this film. I found him to be as gorgeous as ever to watch and his character is not totally despicable. You see the way he treats Vera as rather strange from when first kidnapped to the present day and that he shows genuine concern and even love for her, which is hard to understand until you find out the whole story. And you get to see him with his shirt off which is always nice... The real star of the film for me was Elena Anaya as Vera. She's quite stunning to look at and really comes across as a frail frightened young woman. Her eyes are very expressive and in scenes where Robert is watching her just reading a book on his security cameras you can feel those piercing eyes saying so much without her uttering a word. You suspect she's suffering from some sort of Stockholm Syndrome initially but as the film progresses and the complicated story is told in parts in flashback mode it all starts to make some sort of sense. The ending was quite satisfactory but really this isn't a film that you can guess what's going to happen, even when you're past the halfway mark. You can understand why the kidnapping takes place but as for whether it's justified, you'd have to watch the film yourself to make your own judgement. Marisa Paredes as Marilia was more than adequate. The character of Marilia was a strange one indeed. When she tells Vera some of the back story you wonder really what her motives are for telling her as she doesn't like Vera and she really doesn't like what she sees developing between Robert and Vera. The cinematography by José Luis Alcaine is amazing throughout the film and some of the outdoor scenes are quite breath-taking. As a supposed horror film the beauty of many of the scenes makes this film seem less horrific in many ways. The music by Alberto Iglesias is quite haunting throughout the film but wasn't intrusive in the least. The film was directed by Pedro Almodovar who described it as "a horror film without screams and frights" and it won the Best Film Not in the English Language at the 2012 BAFTAs as well as a host of other awards for Banderas and Anaya including Golden Globe awards and Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards. The film runs for 2 hours and is certified as a 15. *RATING* Although this wasn't a film I would have chosen to watch had I know what it was all about, I'm glad I watched it and am happy to give it a strong 4 out of 5 stars.
I bought my Sweex Clipz 2Mb MP3 player back in 2010 after spotting it online and thinking it was a bargain price for such a dinky little MP3 player. This cool little gadget measures approximately 4cm in length by 3cm in width and less than 1cm in height and is so easy to shove in your pocket or purse or handbag when going out that you can forget it's there. It's black and lightweight although I understand it's also available in red, pink, gold or silver. I'm quite glad I chose the black version. It has a handy clip on bit so you can attach it to a belt, pocket, collar, etc, which is quite secure as it's never fallen off yet whilst in use at the gym. When I received the MP3 Player I remember being extremely frustrated at having to struggle to get into the plastic packaging and having to resort to scissors to cut into the almost impossible to break into packaging. It was if the crown jewels were being protected in there as opposed to a £15 MP3 player. Included within the packaging was the MP3 player, USB connector, instruction manual and a pair of earphones. The instruction booklet that came with my Sweez Clipz MP3 player is about 24 pages but only 1 of those pages is in English. So basically the instructions are very sparse with half a page showing a diagram of your MP3 player with arrows pointing to the various parts. The instructions are 5 bullet points telling you that * it charges via a USB connection * it has a "soft off" feature which remembers your playback position * it plays files in the order that they're saved onto the player * there is 10 step volume control * you can add files to the player from your computer as your computer will recognise it as a storage device. As the MP3 player has 2Gb storage capacity, it's more than sufficient for my needs as I use this pretty much just at the gym. I often change songs on there and to date I've never used up the full 2Gb storage as I've not needed to. At the most I use less than one quarter of the storage space with about 100 songs. So realistically you could have 400 tunes on the player quite easily. The player charges through the USB connection which is pretty handy as you can plug it in to your PC and just forget about it. It takes around 2 hours to fully charge and it's supposed to last about 5 hours on full charge. To date I've never tested if it lasts the full 5 hours as I generally charge it every other time I use it which is up to 4 hours use and it's never run out yet. The sound quality on the player is probably about average. I think I get better quality sound from listening to music on my Blackberry Smartphone. My main issue with the player is that it doesn't always live up to its claim of remembering the last position when turned off. It's a bit annoying when you've listened to a handful of songs and turn it off and expect to switch it back on and carry on from where you left off as this doesn't work every time. It seemed to work better before but recently it doesn't seem to work at all. Another issue I have and I can't really fault the player for this as I knew what I was getting into when buying. There is no display on the player so you don't know which tune is coming up next and you can't easily flick through to select different songs unless you have an amazing memory and remember exactly what order the songs are listed in. Overall I'm happy to give my Sweex Clipz MP3 player an above average 3 out of 5 stars. I don't feel able to give it a full 5 stars as it doesn't deliver on its promise of remembering your last position when turned off.
I was given a Champneys Spa Indulgence Oriental Opulence Travel Collection set as a birthday gift some months ago and have been using the products on and off since then. The Champneys Spa Indulgence Oriental Opulence Travel Collection consists of a 50ml tub of Oriental Opulence Body Cream, a 50 tub of Oriental Opulence Body Glow, a 50ml bottle of Oriental Opulence Bubble Heaven and a 50ml tube of Oriental Opulence Shower Cream. The bottle, tubs and tube all look very elegant with their deep red coloured plastic containers with gold coloured lids. These really do look like quality products. I don't have a bathtub so I didn't try out the "Bubble Heaven" until we went on holiday in October and found that you have to use a fair bit of the product to work up a decent enough bubble bath. One thing to be way of is that it's quite difficult to get the product out of the bottle as it's quite thick and you can't squeeze the plastic bottle to easily dispense the cream. You really have to tilt the bottle and wait until it's ready to be poured out. A 50ml bottle would probably last you for 3 or 4 bubble baths if you're like me and like your bubble baths really bubbly. The shower crème lasted less than a week, being used by both hubby and myself on a daily basis. I wasn't overly impressed with the scent but it did feel like luxurious product. The body glow is something that takes a bit of getting used to. It's a blend of honey, ylang ylang, sea salt, coconut oil, sandalwood and patchouli which needs to be massaged into the skin and rinsed off afterwards. This works is an exfoliating product and the packaging recommends that you use the Oriental Opulence Body Cream after using this. The body cream has a very silky feel when applied to your skin. The body cream has milk protein, sweet almond oil, honey, ylang ylang, vitamin E, sandalwood and patchouli which combined is supposed to give you silky, soft and radiant skin. I do agree that my skin feels silky, soft and radiant after using but I'm really not keen on the scent of the body cream. This is not the sort of thing I would buy for myself as it's probably a bit more pampering that I can handle on a regular basis. I think the set makes for a lovely gift for someone who would otherwise not buy something like this (like myself). I do think that the mix of ingredients make for a scent which is difficult to enjoy and it really lasts a long time (which is a good thing if you like the scent, but I don't). Champneys Spa Indulgence Oriental Opulence Travel Collection is currently available at Boots for £12.00. ~~~ My rating for this set is an above average 3 out of 5. As I don't really like the scent of it, I wouldn't want to receive this again as a gift personally.
Passenger to Frankfurt is an Agatha Christie novel first published in 1970. This novel is known as a spy novel and was her last novel of this genre. I've been an avid fan of Agatha Christie's work since childhood. I have a huge selection of her books and many DVDs of films made with both Poirot and Miss Marple and Passenger to Frankfurt is a book that I started reading in early 2013 whilst on holiday. ~*~ Sir Stafford Nye is on his way back home from Malaysia waiting at the airport for a connecting flight when he is approached by a mysterious woman who claims her life is in danger and she needs his passport, boarding pass and cape to get a flight home or she will be killed. Nye goes along with this premise and allows himself to be drugged whilst the woman makes off with his passport. On his return home, events take a sinister turn when it seems someone is trying to kill him, so when he's approached by the mysterious woman again he is intrigued to find out what she's involved in. ~*~ This is one of strangest Christie novels I can say I've read to date and I've read (and own) several dozen. I found it quite hard to fully get into the book and had to read it over several weeks which is unusual for me as I can finish a Christie novel in a day or so or in just a couple of sittings. This was definitely not the case here. I struggled to keep reading until the end and found that I couldn't read more than a handful of pages at a time. There was a lot of political discourse throughout the novel which may have contributed to the boredom factor for me here and lots of references to Nazi domination which didn't appeal to me either. I found it hard to believe this stuff was still going on in the 1970s and that British people were involved in this nonsense, let alone British youth being brain-washed into getting involved - I say nonsense as that is how it came across to me, the way Christie wrote it was just not credible. One of the things that particularly rankled from quite early on in the book was the continual reference to Sir Stafford Nye with his full name, i.e. Sir Stafford Nye. He's quite clearly the central character in the book yet we keep having to see his name written in full, "Sir Stafford Nye". Why Christie did not just shorten him to Nye or Stafford, I'll never know. Just so you know too, none of Christie's other detectives such as Miss Marple, Poirot, Tummy and Tuppence, etc, appear in the book. Some of the situations in the book were not really credible, first and foremost, how many sensible people, especially a diplomat, would hand their passport over to a complete stranger claiming their life was in danger? The said woman taking a man's passport at an airport and being able to get through security passing off as the man, even wearing a cape, I mean you'd be expected to remove your cape to get through security. Even in the 70s I imagine security and check in staff had some ounce of sense around them and could tell the difference between a man and a woman. Passports do actually state whether the bearer is male or female. Fiction often makes security staff and police officers to be completely dim but in this case, I found it even harder to swallow. Another scenario which was hard to find credible was a car appearing out of nowhere to try to run someone over at exactly the right moment that they step out into the road. I love most of Christie's work so imagine my surprise to find myself actively disliking this book the further I got reading the book. I actually had to force myself to read it to the end without throwing it in the bin as so much of it seemed so nonsensical and I found myself wondering if someone else had written the book and tried to pass it off as Christie's work. The ending of the book didn't make a lot of sense to me, in fact, I struggled to make sense of any of it and was left feeling very unsatisfied as well as regretting sticking with the book to the end. ~*~ My rating for Passenger to Frankfurt is a dismal 1 out of 5. If I could rate it less than 1 I would definitely do so. I'm not throwing it away as I aim to collect all of her books but this is certainly not a Christie book that I would recommend to anyone who is a fan of her work. ~*~ OTHER INFO Author: Dame Agatha Christie Release date: 1970 Pages: 256 Genre: Spy thriller