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cazkins

cazkins
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Member since: 09.09.2008

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    • The Quiet (DVD) / DVD / 8 Readings / 8 Ratings
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      09.07.2014 13:25
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      Advantages

      • Intriguing
      • "Easy to watch"
      • "Some decent acting"

      Disadvantages

      • "A tad slow"
      • "Nothing spectacular "

      The Quiet is quite understated but worth a watch on a quiet evening

      The Quiet is a thriller, blended with drama. We''re introduced to Dot, a young woman who has recently been made an orphan following her father''s death. She is deaf and mute, and is sent to live with her Godparents, who already have a daughter of their own of the same age, Nina Deer. Dot has obviously been through a traumatic experience and the upheaval of moving isn''t going to be easy. Nina, however, seems to only make things more difficult for her. As a popular cheerleader in highschool and used to the attention of her father, she doesn''t take too well to this change in the household. Her mother seems often to be out of it, drunk or passed out somewhere, but she spends most of her time at school, where she''s popular. Dot, however, seems quite withdrawn and reserved, but her inability to hear or talk makes her a good sounding board. Nina starts to confide in Dot, with the notion that she can share secrets that will not be heard nor passed on. However, she starts to wonder whether Dot may have secrets of her own. As the film continues, we see some of these secrets from both girls start to emerge. It looks as if not all is quite as it seems in the Deer household. The blurb I''ve seen somewhere actually describes it as an ?erotic and suspenseful tale of sex, lies and betrayal'', though I''d say this is overegging the pudding a bit. It has its sexier moments, but they don''t overtake the film nor do they make it too cheap. The sexiness is to add to the darker undertones and create atmosphere, which is achieved quite well. However, it did seem to lack a bit of oomph at times. I thought the anticipation and suspense of what was to happen next could have been made edgier. As for the premise, I thought it was intriguing but nothing overly spectacular; I''d guessed a few things that turned out to be true before we were half way through. The pace was quite balanced throughout, though I could see that some may find it a tad slow at times. It could have been jazzed up with a bit more action and it almost had a bit of a TV movie feel to it, so it''s nothing extra special in terms of scenery or effects The cast included Camilla Belle, Elisha Cuthbert and Martin Donovan amongst others. The girls do a fairly good job at keeping our attention and being believable in their respective roles, keeping the film quite down to earth. Other characters add a bit of interest as we learn more about them and they are, for the most part, quite watchable.

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      • Tami Hoag in general / Fiction Book / 5 Readings / 5 Ratings
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        01.07.2014 16:22
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        Advantages

        • "Depth of characters"
        • "Fantastic writing style"

        Disadvantages

        • "None for me"

        Hoag provides the right dose of crime thrills that keeps you coming back for more.

        Having read (and reviewed) several Tami Hoag novels now, I can say with some confidence that I''m a fan of her work. Being a bit of a crime thriller addict, the genre of most if not all of her books falls within the genres I really enjoy to read. The latest book I''ve read was actually by Hoag, entitled ''The 9th Victim''. I''ll be giving that a glowing, 5 star review. Hoag is an American author. In fact, she''s the Number 1 New York Times Bestselling Author! She seemed to start her career with romance novels, then branched out more to the crime / thriller arena by initially blending her style towards romantic suspense. The last few books by Hoag I''ve read have been crime thrillers, where romance is only a minor role. What I love about her books is the way in which she writes. Her writing flows and is easy to read; I can imagine the scenes and characters well through what is said and done. She paints a picture of each character and builds them up until they''re three dimensional. I find that I can more easily identify and empathise with her characters because of her style of writing and the background information and small flourishes she provides. I also like the wit and sarcasm she brings out in some characters, adding some light relief. Hoag is able to create a web of characters and link them well, sculpting the relationships between them. I never find myself confused by an array of characters in her novels because she clearly defines and creates them and how they link with other characters. In a similar fashion, the author moulds each scene and setting well so that it''s easier to visualise. You can imagine what is happening and where it is happening like it''s playing out in a movie (well, almost!). Hoag builds the atmosphere well, creeping in some tension and suspense along the way. What I also find really positive about Hoag''s novels is her use of knowledge. She adds credibility to what she writes because she knows her stuff, interweaving fact and criminology and forensics with the fiction. But she doesn''t baffle or overload the reader either, which is important. She keeps things down to earth with the characters and adds the edge of crime thrills through description and terminology. Most of her crime fiction balances gore with detective work, and the premise involved is usually clever and intelligent, so you''re kept guessing throughout. All in all, fans of Hoag shouldn''t be disappointed by her more recent crime thrillers because she seems to be consistent and reliable in her style. Those new to Hoag who enjoy these genres should check her out because her work is addictive!

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        • Blindness (DVD) / DVD / 8 Readings / 7 Ratings
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          30.06.2014 10:22
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          1 Comment

          Advantages

          • "Simple yet intriguing"
          • "Interesting psychological undertones"

          Disadvantages

          • "End lost some impact"

          Blind Leading The Blind

          We''re thrown in to a city, which seems to go unnamed, where a man seems to go blind at the wheel of his car. It''s ?white blindness?, where all that can be seen is blazing white. The doctor isn''t sure but tells him what the specialists need to be looking for. The Doctor, who remains unnamed also throughout the film, goes home to his wife, also unnamed. See the pattern here? It seems this ?white sickness? is spreading and becoming an epidemic. The Doctor develops it too, possibly due to being near his patient and perhaps catching this presumably contagious mystery disease. In a flood of panic within the city, the authorities decide to heard up those affected and put them in to quarantine. They''re taken to an abandoned mental hospital and form their own ?society of the blind?, where authorities stand guard with guns and literally throw them food parcels, always at a distance from fear of catching their blindness. When you throw a bunch of people together in isolation from society as we know it, a group mentality evolved. The common order is quickly upset, with criminals and the physically domineering taking advantage. Although it''s blind leading the blind, there is a divide in status between leaders and subordinates. Unbeknown to anyone else besides her husband, one woman walks the afflicted in the quarantine with her sign unaffected. . It was an interesting premise and quite simplistic in essence. Yet it was this simplicity that drew out some engaging moral dilemmas and the underlying hints of group psychology kept me gripped. It was in part a tale of human kindness, empathy, hope, understanding and resilience. Those affected were stripped of vision, suddenly, with no explanation as to why or whether it would be forever. They''re secluded, kept away from the rest of the world and left with uncertainty. Then you have those keeping them locked in there, obviously using their authority to allay their own fears of ?catching'' this blindness. It''s the interesting dynamics of what happens within the group of blind people that makes this film. It reminds me a touch of the Zimbardo prison experiment, so perhaps I got a bit more enjoyment because of my interest in human psychology. Mark Ruffalo (the doctor) and Julianne Moore (the doctor''s wife) as the two protagonists, plus other characters, mostly seemed quite believable. I enjoyed watching them and this worked well with the film as a whole as it was able to gradually build a sense of atmosphere and mystery. The not-so-good aspects? I''d say for me it was just wanting more from the film. I did think the ending wasn''t as well constructed as it could have been. It was designed to give a message but it got a bit washed out and I don''t think it came across, or was perhaps obvious enough, for the viewer. It therefore seemed to loose a bit of impact at the end.

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          • More +
            27.06.2014 09:00
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            Advantages

            • "Fantastic writing style"
            • Engaging

            Disadvantages

            • "None per se for me"

            A curious kidnapping... A super read.

            This falls within the crime thriller genre and on the cover we''re told this is a ?Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller''. We''re introduced to Justin and Libby Denbe, a couple with a seemingly perfect life, living with their 15 year old daughter Ashlyn in a Boston town house and enough money to buy whatever they wish without worry. Justin owns Denbe Construction, a multi-million dollar construction company passed on to him by his father. Whilst ambitious and hardworking, Justin was seen as an admirable boss by his close and loyal workers, and to the outside world a loving husband and generous father. However, all is not as it seems. Wonderful husband has been cheating. Libby wants to make their marriage work so they plan a date night, but after that night they''re never seen again. The Denby family, daughter included, are kidnapped that evening. Enter Private Investigator Tessa Leoni, who has been hired to look in to the events on behalf of Denbe Construction. The local law enforcement also enter the party, as do the FBI. However, as hours tick by without a ransom, they worry that perhaps it''s not your ?usual'' kidnapping case. The rest of the novel follows the work of the different agencies as they investigate. We learn more about each character, relationships are developed and we delve deeper in to the workings of the family and construction crew. We also familiarise ourselves with the abductors. What I loved was the depth and diversity. We go from an upper class area of riches, to deep in the White Mountain National Forest, where the expanse is so huge and so desolate that the hopes of finding the family are like a needle in a haystack. The richness is complimented by the depth of the characters themselves; Gardner has a way of bringing the characters to life and making them vivid, and the same is said for how she paints each scene. The detective aspects in this novel are good, though there''s a little less on the criminology side of things. There''s less blood and gore or use of sophisticated tech to analyse evidence, and more old fashioned detective work. The premise is quite straightforward on the surface, with the web of characters intensifying the mystery and keep it interesting. I probably did guess the ending but it wasn''t a completely predictable done-deal. Gardner''s writing style is what really makes this novel readable. She built the atmosphere well and raised the tension and pace at different points throughout. Any down sides? I guess you can''t like every aspect of a book, nor all of the characters, but there was little that put me off or irritated me, aside from a few elements of a couple of characters. However, those are the characters she made and she still brought them to life well. I do think she has a superb writing style and manages to create a detective mystery in the lush landscape she paints in the reader''s mind.

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            • The Change-Up (DVD) / DVD / 9 Readings / 9 Ratings
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              24.06.2014 08:39
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              (Rating)

              Advantages

              • "Some amusing moments"
              • "Easy to watch"

              Disadvantages

              • "Nothing new"
              • "Quite silly in parts"

              Lesson Learned: Do Not Pee In Public Fountains

              The Change-Up falls in to the comedy genre. We''re introduced to Dave Lockwood, a hard-working & successful lawyer, juggling a busy schedule with his wife Jamie, their two young children plus one baby. His childhood friend Mitch, however, is quite the opposite; single, not always in good employment but always up for taking the easy options and shirking responsibility. But that''s all about to change. Whilst drunkenly weeing in a water fountain the two wish they had each other''s lives just as lightning strikes. Well, as the saying goes, you should be careful what you wish for when publically urinating in a fountain! The next day they wake up in each other''s bodies. After the initial freak-out, they decide they need to go back to the fountain to reverse the wish. However, it''s been moved. Dun dun duuuuuuuun! Whilst they try to track down where it''s gone, they realise that they need act ?normally'', because no one would believe them otherwise. This gets rather confusing, trying to mentally switch the characters in your head. The rest of the film follows these two guys in their friend''s life. It''s literally a case of one walking in the other''s shoes and they get a bit of a surprise. It''s a bit of a drama in one sense because it has moral undertones and makes you reflect a bit on your own life. However, it''s predominantly a comedic romp with the two characters fluffing up, making mistakes, making fools of themselves and generally getting in to mischief. The premise is nothing new and is really just a slight slant on older movies where two people change bodies. Ring any bells? Yep, sure does. I hated the whole peeing in the fountain then lightning striking jazz. It was cheesy and irritating, but it was somewhat in keeping with the tone of the film. The fountain mysteriously being moved, however, was the point where I sighed and thought I really need to pick better movies to watch. It was fairly amusing at times to watch each guy trying hard not to completely ruin the other''s life. The comedy was a mix between silliness, which I''m not a big fan of, and almost sarcastic quips, which I prefer. I did think it could have been sharper and more witty to have made it more appealing. That said, the two guys, Bateman in particular, helped to bring the funny elements out well simply because of how they come across. The cast includes Ryan Reynolds, Jason Bateman, Alan Arkin, Olivia Wilde and Leslie Mann, amongst others. Reynolds'' performance is unlikely to win awards and he was a little irritating at times, but he wasn''t overly bad. Bateman helped in this respect because I do find him quite watchable. Together they made a good team, and this was supported well by Leslie, who provided was more down-to-earth. This won''t win awards and it''s not really anything original, but for a light-hearted bit of entertainment you could do worse.

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            • More +
              14.05.2014 13:34
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              Advantages

              • "Cute design"

              Disadvantages

              • "Not very secure"

              Drinking With Kitty

              I love Hello Kitty so when I came across this I was tempted to get one for myself. Begrudgingly, I bought it for my friend's 6 year old daughter instead.

              Hello Kitty products can be found everywhere these days but I came across this in a discounter store (B&M) for around 3 quid. I think it's a reasonable price for a branded item and kids things these days with characters on can be quite pricey anyway. It's designed with a white flexy straw with a cap on the end and claims to be for children 3 yrs and upwards.

              I love the design of this as it's cute and colourful, and looks reasonably good in terms of it lasting. I know it's been washed numerous times now and has suffered a lot of knocking about, but it's still looking pretty good without any fading. It is a little on the tacky side, but then again it is made of plastic!

              The girl in question seemed to really like the cup and had no problems using the straw. The lid goes on ok and clips down, but I wouldn't say it's overly reliable. I don't think, for instance, a 3 year old having their little mitts on this would be a great idea as it could quite easily come off in their hands or if dropped on the floor.

              It's probably not going to last for years and it's not intended to, but it will definitely bring a smile to a Hello Kitty lover's face.

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              14.05.2014 13:28
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              Advantages

              • "Reliable use"
              • "Reasonable price"

              Disadvantages

              Not Bic But Not Bad

              I''m a Bic Biro girl at heart but we often have these pens in the office, and I''ve been persuaded that there are other good, cheaper, alternatives out there.

              5 Star do a range of office products that are usually more competitively priced than their branded alternatives. You can get a pack of 50 at a sale price of just under a fiver on Amazon at the moment, which is a bargain.

              These are standard ballpoint pens and I tend to use the black ones. The ink comes out well and they write smoothly, without feeling scratchy or too faint. I''ve also found them to be quite reliable and long-lasting, making them good value for money. Despite being very simple in design, they''re easy to use and hold; they have a cap lid and no fancy grip, but I find with my (right-handed) use they''re comfortable enough for short term use.

              The downside for me is that the feel a little tacky and not as firm in terms of the plastic as I''d like. I still prefer my Bic Biro for quality of the pen itself, but if you want to save on pennies then these are a good alternative.

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              14.05.2014 13:22
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              Advantages

              • "Some good offers"
              • "Tasty food"
              • "Chilled atmosphere"

              Disadvantages

              • "A little worn"

              An Oldie But A Goodie

              I have a few favourite watering holes in Cheltenham and the Old Restoration has been one of them. It''s in the centre of town on the High Street, but at the end of the road, so a little out of the foray of people when the town gets busy.

              This is an old pub and one that''s quite well known. It has a friendly vibe and the staff are usually quite warm and helpful, making it the type of place you can enjoy going for the staff and generally knowing what to expect there. The building is quite attractive and there''s plenty of seating with different areas, so you can usually find somewhere to go whether you want a relaxing sit down meal, lively drinks at the bar, or a comfy sit in one of the booths. They also have free WiFi, which is something I always like to see as a bonus.

              They have a good menu that''s quite simple but reasonably priced and the food I''ve had here has been really tasty. They have a good range of drinks that are probably reasonably priced, though I do find some a tad on the pricey side, bottles especially.

              There''s darts and a new addition of a pool table in case you''re interested. They also do evening events, so you can enjoy board games one night or a quiz the next, there''s usually something going on. It varies as to whether it''s busy or not in the Old Restoration; I''ve been on afternoons when it''s quite quiet and have enjoyed chilling out with a drink, and equally at 11pm when they''ve put on some cheesy music and there are a few more people around. When there''s sports on they usually have the big TVs on and that can get a little loud, however it has a good atmosphere for the most part.

              The only downside is that it does feel a little worn. You can tell in places where there''s been some water damage, or carpets are frayed, or the toilets aren''t very nice. It''s a shame that I think it could do with a bit of updating, but other than that it''s one I''d recommend checking out and I''ll continue to be a customer for the relaxed, down to earth feel to the pub.

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              14.05.2014 13:11
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              Advantages

              • "Good price"
              • "Supple material"

              Disadvantages

              • "Have to keep hitching up"

              Soft skinnies for a non-skinny jean lover

              I''m not one for skinny jeans normally but I wanted something to tuck down my boots over winter and when it''s raining. I''m also quite short, so tend to find skinny jeans far too long and they end up looking ridiculous.

              The Primark soft skinny is designed to have the skinny fit (tight on the legs, narrow at the ankle) but with a far softer material. I got these for a tenner, so the price was right and far cheaper than similar alternatives in the likes of Top Shop or New Look.

              I bought mine in dark denim and find the colour to be quite flattering and they go with anything. The colour can run ever so slightly so bear this in mind when you buy them; I''d wash them quite quickly and on their own when you first get them.

              These fit quite well in one sense; I''m a size 8 and find them to be true to size and hug my legs and bum. I''ve noticed a lot of jeans can sag, which these don''t. Not initially anyway. The downside is that after several wears and a few washes, the material does start to give a bit. Around the waist now I''m finding the need to hitch them up as they drop down, making them more uncomfortable. The fit around the legs still seems to be good, however.

              The material is soft and supple, which I really like, meaning I can actually walk, bend my legs and sit down! It''s just a case of bearing in mind the stretch of material over time. They may not be a staple in your wardrobe for years to come, but at this price they''re a reasonably good buy because they''re comfy and look good.

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            • The House Bunny (DVD) / DVD / 0 Readings / 0 Ratings
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              14.05.2014 11:05

              Advantages

              • "Light & comical"
              • "Easy to watch"

              Disadvantages

              An easy but silly, fluffy watch

              House Bunny falls within the comedy genre. We''re introduced to Shelley Darlingson, a stereotypical skinny blonde with curves in the right places who has spent the last few years living the dream in the Playboy Mansion. She grew up in an Orphanage and so this lifestyle has become her life and her family. That is, until she turned 27 and was told she''d be evicted. Turns out that at 27 you''re no longer beautiful and attractive enough to be a centrefold or a House Bunny. Go figure. She has no idea where to turn as she literally seems to be out on her own with nowhere to go; in desperation, she tries her luck at becoming a house mother for a sorority. The only sorority house she can get in to is one full of ?misfits'' and they''re about to lose their house. Unless they get 30 pledges in the next few months, the rival sorority girls will take over the house.

              So, the rest of the film then sees Shelley pretty much taking over and trying to transform the Zetas, the girls'' Sorority name, and bring the boys their way and away from the competition. She attempts to jazz up their looks, dumb down their intelligence and make the house the place everyone wants to party at. The question is, will she succeed and get those 30 pledges?

              The premise is very straightforward and nothing new, it''s just packaged in a different way. It''s a tale of moral undertones revolving around issues of identity, sexuality, friendship and simply knowing who you are. There''s a bit of romance thrown in for good luck through a side story relationship between Shelley and Oliver.

              The flick radiates chick flick vibes. It''s colourful and girly and quite cheesy at the best of times. It''s really not my kind of thing, yet it was easy to watch and quite entertaining at points. I do, however, think this was more to do with the cast than anything else. It''s a bit sarcastic and really quite obvious in its attempts at both humour and injecting moral contemplations.

              The cast includes Anna Faris (Shelley Darlingson), Emma Stone, Kat Dennings, Colin Hanks and the infamous Hugh Hefner himself. It was interesting to see Hefner, if for no other reason than his awful acting. Dennings was quite obvious in her ?misfit'' role which was unfortunate. The same goes for Faris, though she actually each aspect of her character well. I still find the whole dumbed down blonde gig quite overdone and too cheesy for my liking. Having said that, that''s what the film is all about. Over the top, silly, pink and fluffy.

              It''s too cheesy and obvious for me to like it much, but it was still quite easy to watch and comical at times, providing reasonable entertainment when there''s nothing else on and your brain cells are fried at the end of a long week.

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            • The Wolf of Wall Street (DVD) / DVD / 14 Readings / 12 Ratings
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              13.05.2014 13:03
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              (Rating)

              Advantages

              • "Great performances"
              • Energetic

              Disadvantages

              • "Rather long "

              Capitalist Wolves Of New York

              Wolf Of Wall Street is part comedy, part drama, part crime and even part biography. It''s based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, and as the title suggests, is centred around Wall Street stock-brokers. Don''t let the notion of Wall Street put you off, however, because this is a far from bland portrayal of the financial career path. Scorsese directing this has obviously had a large part to play in the feel of the film, and his expertise is palpable in the overall good quality feel of the film.

              We''re introduced to Belfort, a guy who goes from married man making ends meet and struggling in the world of employment, to a wealthy stock-broker, living the Wall Street dream in New York in the 80s. But throughout his career he takes a lot of different directions; he sets up his own company and does a lot of rather under-hand dealings, getting him involved in crime and corruption that leads a scent for the federal government to pick up on. The question is, just how far can Belfort push his career ambitions before he gets taken out of the game?

              I was quite surprised, mainly because I hadn''t read much about the film first, to see quite so much nudity. There''s a lot of sex and even more drugs. Swearing is almost every other word at times. But it all made up an image of Wall Street, an image and atmosphere of what these people lived and worked. We get hookers, coke in abundance, yachts, bling, mansions and fast cars. It was interesting to see the rise and development of Belfort as a character, and we see the same development for a few other key players too.

              The cover artwork gives us a quote: ?Incredibly funny? Completely of the chain? and a 5 star rating. The opening scene made me chuckle and the laughs kept coming throughout, even if it wasn''t always laugh-out-loud funny, it had sarcasm and comedy intertwined throughout the drama to keep it light-hearted.

              The cast includes Leonardo DiCaprio (Jordan Belfort), Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey, Jon Favreau and Joanna Lumley amongst others. There are some recognisable names and faces in this that give the flick more credibility and a bit of a Hollywood sheen, which is intended. I thought DiCaprio was fantastic in his portrayal of Jordan at every stage, from the family guy to the rich and successful business man, to the drugged up Belfort struggling to get out of his car. He was entertaining yet realistic to watch. I also really enjoyed Jonah, who, albeit typecast, was amusing as intended.

              This was a tale of wanting everything and finding that everything was not enough. It had sparkle, energy and conscience, and so it''s one I''d recommend because it kept me entertained and engaged throughout.

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            • Argo (DVD) / DVD / 12 Readings / 12 Ratings
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              11.05.2014 00:59
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              1 Comment

              Advantages

              • "Interesting premise"
              • Engaging

              Disadvantages

              • "Lacking some character development"

              An interesting political Affleck affair

              Argo was directed by Ben Affleck, who must have been a busy man as he also stars in it. It falls within the drama / thriller genres and is actually based on real events during the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979 and 1980. We''re introduced to November 1979, where the Iranian Crisis is fully revved up and militants take on the US Embassy in Tehran. They take 52 American hostages, but unbeknown to them, 6 Americans have already escaped and find refuge a short distance away at the Canadian Ambassador''s home.

              Back in America, the CIA brainstom ways of getting the 6 hostages out. It''s almost as if the 52 others have been forgotten about, but this flick is just focussing on the little-known efforts involved for the 6 hide-outs. Enter Tony Mendez, an ?exfiltration'' specialist brought in by the CIA. Mendez has a plan, but it''s one that sounds so stupid it could surely never work. With time running out before the Iranian militants discover 6 have escaped, this bizarre plan is all they have. What are they going to do? Turn to Hollywood and make a film of course!

              The rest of the film mostly follows Mendez and those involved in the plan, namely two Hollywood-involved guys, as they prep for the ?exfiltration''. With so little time, can they pull it off? It''s a very dangerous game; trying con and bluff their way out of Tehran is no easy feat.

              The cast includes Ben Affleck (Tony Mendez), Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Tate Donovan & Clea DuVall, amongst others. I thought that for the most part each actor/actress played their respective roles quite well; each seemed fairly realistic and believable. Affleck was mostly quite dark and serious, but I found him easy enough to watch and not over the top in any way, which would have been worse. It did have a bit of a Hollywood feel to it, which probably took away from the grittiness of it all, however I think that may have been a good thing.

              The premise is quite interesting, and more so when you hear it''s based on real events. The script, music and scenes were quite well done and created the atmosphere of tension that increased as the film progressed. Whilst there was some action, the pace and interest was generally built up through drama and anticipation as we wait to find out what happens next.

              I found myself actually wanting to know what happened to each character. Yes, there were some political elements and the like, bearing in mind this was an American film about how the American CIA forces saved their own from terrorists and militants. There were also some bits I didn''t like because they seemed too mushy, such as at the end; it felt a little too cheesy or predictable. There also isn''t much in the way of character development. Nonetheless, it was an engaging flick to watch and more intriguing than I had anticipated

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              • More +
                11.05.2014 00:45

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                • "Nice design"

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                A pretty brush for your handbag

                I had one of these a while ago for around the 5 pound mark. It is designed as more of a compact brush so it''s about 2/3 of the size of a regular paddle brush. The mirror on the back is actually removable, so you can slide it out and use to see your hair whilst you style it.

                The mirror is clear and not bobbled or distorted in any way, which I was pleased to discover. It slides out easily and I''ve never had any problems with it or any other aspect of the brush, such as the bristles and the bobbles on the end.

                I love the design, which looks modern and funky yet not overdone or tacky. It has a good quality feel to it so I''d say it''s fairly durable, which is just as well if you want to use it as a travel item. The bristles are reasonably hard, so it depends on your hair and what you want it for. I find it brushes mine quite well, though my hair isn''t as thick or frizzy as it used to be.

                Overall, this is a lovely looking brush that''s perfect for popping in your bag or using on holidays. It''s okay for use as a regular brush too, though I prefer my full-size brush for every day use.

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              • More +
                11.05.2014 00:33
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                Advantages

                • "Fairly long lasting"
                • "Softens lips"

                Disadvantages

                • Pricey

                Softens lips but quite pricey

                There was quite a lot of promotion for Baby Lips when it was released. It''s a balm (in a stick format)and there actually seems to be a slight variation on the original packaging. Bought from Boots and the like, this has a clear lid. Bought from discounter stores like B&M (or others on eBay) and you get the one with the small opaque lid. Either way, the lid pulls off to reveal the balm, and you can twist from the bottom to move it up. Simples. It''s quite a neat stick that''s small enough to carry around quite easily in a pocket or bag.

                Maybelline claim that this balm has an ?exclusive formula'' that moisturises lips for 8 hours, which I think is quite a big claim to make! As a Vaseline addict I wasn''t sure how I''d get on with this; I''m so used to applying some Aloe Vera or Rosy Lips every 30 minutes to get the moisturised feel that the thought of applying a bit of stick balm every 8 hours seemed impossible. I didn''t expect the feeling of moisturisation to last for that long, but even just a couple of hours would be fantastic. The product also claims to renew lips in 1 week. It does this with an ?exclusive lip renew formula'' of course! It''s also got SPF20.

                Scents/tints within the range are easy to distinguish thanks to the colourful packaging, and most will give a slight tint and scent. For instance, Pink Punch gives the light pink tint I mentioned with a slightly fruity smell, and Cherry Me gives a slight red tint with, obviously, a cherry scent.

                To use, they suggest you start in the centre of your upper lip, then work to the edges. After this, glide across the bottom lip. Nice and quick and simple. Bear in mind that you may need to put a little thought in to where it''s going because it''s not a completely clear balm; Baby Lips comes in 6 varieties so they are coloured.

                I''ve got a pinky one and this leaves just a slight pink tint to my lips. It''s not particularly shiny or noticeable but it does make my lips look nourished and healthy. I find it glides on to lips reasonably well without dragging too much and, to my shock, actually does make them feel soft and renewed. With a lot of will-power I''ve tried to move away from the Vaseline, which I find is a different feeling of moisturisation altogether, and just use this on some days. Whilst it hasn''t been the case of one application every 8 hours, it does seem to last quite a while, even when I''m out and about, drinking, eating etc. I probably apply this every couple of hours, which I think is pretty good and I don''t use much per application either, so I''d imagine it will last me a fair while

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              • Maybelline Fit Me! Concealer / Make Up / 5 Readings / 5 Ratings
                More +
                11.05.2014 00:13
                Very helpful
                (Rating)

                Advantages

                • "Not cakey or heavy"

                Disadvantages

                • "Not the best staying power"

                A super fit for pale skin

                I''ve tried numerous concealers over the years and tend to struggle to find something of the right consistency and light enough for my pale skin. I gave Fit Me concealer a go having found it quite cheaply on eBay and was very pleasantly surprised to find it''s probably been the best one I''ve used in a while!
                The concealer comes in a transparent tube with black top; this twists and is the ?handle'' for the sponge ?wand'' at the end. I''ve had ?pen'' type concealers before and ones like crayons, but find this sponge applicator is really good for dabbing just a small amount on and getting a far better consistency than that of a crayon.
                This comes in a few different shades, all with numbers and a name of the shade. It didn''t make much sense to me, however. Don''t assume that 10 Light is actually the lightest or best for pale skin. 15 Fair has a slightly pinker, rather than sandy/yellow tone, so is probably the best for pale skin. I have super pale skin and this has been great.
                Fit Me is Maybelline''s first ?gel concealer made with no waxes or fillers''. It''s designed to cover imperfections without being light or ?cakey'' so that it gives a natural and breathable finish. It also claims to have an ?exclusive translucent base and lightweight pigments allow skin''s natural highs and lows to show through''. It is, of course, dermatologically tested and fragrance-free too, which is always reassuring to know. To use, you just dab a small amount from the sponge tip on to the area you wish to cover, and gently blend in with your finger. Quick and easy.
                The concealer has quite a creamy consistency that''s just the right thickness; it''s smooth enough to glide over skin whilst giving adequate coverage. It doesn''t ?cake'' on skin or appear flakey at all either, which I was very happy about. The result is quite a light concealer that''s smooth enough to dab on here and there and blends in very quickly and easily. I found that just a small amount covered spots easily, making them far less noticeable. A few small dabs under my eyes were enough for me to blend them in and make the dark circles under my eyes appear less vivid and actually left my eye area looking a bit lighter and more radiant ? must be those ?lightweight pigments''!

                Overall, I have been really impressed by Fit Me concealer, especially as I usually have trouble finding one that blends well without being cakey and that''s light enough for my pale skin.

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