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I am a firm advocate for electric toothbrushes, however this toothbrush has left me more than a little bit disappointed! I used to use the Oral-B Power Pro 4000 CrossAction electric toothbrush, however after coming home from a weekend camping trip, I realised that I had accidentally left my toothbrush in the shower block, and someone had stolen it (much to my distress)! I went to the shops and I didn't have that much cash on me so I just bought another, much cheaper electric toothbrush, the Oral-B Vitality Precision Clean.
The Vitality only set me back £16.99 and I thought this was such a bargain, as I had paid upwards of £70 for my last toothbrush, but as soon as I got home and started using it, I knew immediately why is was only £16.99!
The design is awkward and clunky - it just isn't as sleek or stylish as the more expensive ones. It feels a bit flimsy, and the on/off button is much harder to press, as its surrounded by a soft and squishy rubber covering. It does however have the same fittings as all the other Oral-B brushes, so any Oral-B toothbrush head will fit this model, and the charger is just the same. A problem I found with charging however, is that the toothbrush has no light on it to indicate whether it is low battery, charging, or fully charged, unlike some of the more expensive models. I was brushing my teeth one morning, and suddenly it just cut out with no warning. I liked the flashing light feature on my old brush which warned me when it was running out of charge. In terms of actual charging time, it seems to last just as long as other brushes I've had (around 5 days to a week), and seems to take the same amount of time for a full charge (overnight).
In terms of power, this brush is undoubtedly better than a manual brush, but it is very weak! Despite the claim of 'vitality' in its name, it lacks both energy and power. I just don't get the same dentist-clean feeling I used to and it constantly feels like it is on its last legs and about to pack it in! I think it feels like this for me because I'm so used to such a powerful toothbrush, but to anyone who was progressing from a manual to an electric, the power is probably just fine. It still does give a good, deep clean for your teeth.
This brush has the standard feature of a two-minute timer, with the brush vibrating when the two minutes are up. However, most more expensive models have small vibrations at 30 second intervals, which indicate that you should have finished brushing one section of your mouth. I used to find this feature really useful, and you could make sure that everywhere was brushed evenly, and it's a shame that the Vitality lacks this feature. It would also be better if the red light indicator was included, which on other brushes indicates when you are putting too much pressure on your toothbrush for it to work most effectively.
Overall, I would say you get what you pay for. This is a fairly basic electric toothbrush, and the quality is reflected in the price. If you want just a standard, electric toothbrush then this would probably be more than suitable, but for me it just lacks those little features which make a difference. For a real dentist-clean feelings you need to be prepared to spend a little more money. On the whole though, it's not bad, just basic.
I have used GHD straighteners for years, but one year my mum bought me the Cloud Nine irons instead. I was a bit sceptical seen as though when it comes to straighteners, GHDs seem to be the ones everyone owns and loves. Although these are made by the original founder of GHD, Cloud Nines give a totally different experience. I can however say with total confidence that I have been well and truly won over by these dreamy irons! They retail brand new at £125.99.
In terms of appearance, they are very sleek and stylish. I have the black irons, which also have black ceramic plates and a long black cord. The straighteners themselves have a matt finish, which can be a bit annoying because hair products tend to show up easily on them, but after a quick wipe with a tissue they're back to looking brand new. They have a kind of round appearance with a curved top, making it very easy to hold them. The on/off switch is black too, and has a little ridge which makes it easy to slide back and forth. The lights that indicate whether the straighteners are on or off flash green, which contrasts well with the overall black finish. They feel very luxurious, I have to admit! The long cord is useful too, and it has a 360 degree rotation which means you never get yourself tangled up in the wires.
The on/off switch is situated in-between the plates, but it is far enough away from the plates themselves to avoid getting burnt! Opposite the switch is a little control pad which lets you vary the temperature of the straighteners. It has a long button which you use to choose higher or lower, and there are lights which let you know when the desired temperature has been reached. In addition to the light indicators, the straighteners also give a little bleep to let you know they're ready, which saves you having to sit and watch the lights build up to the right temperature. It gives one bleep to say it's been switched on, and two bleeps to say it's at the right temperature. There are seven different settings to choose from, ranging from 75 degrees, to 225 degrees. As I have really thick, really curly hair, my default temperature always seems to be the highest one, however if I straighten my hair on a night, the next morning I tend to just do a once-over on a lower setting to catch any fly-aways. It also means that if you have thinner hair, you don't have to put it through the really hot temperatures of normal straighteners.
In my experience, when straighteners get about a year old, they don't flow through the hair as easily as when they are new, but with my Cloud Nine's they work just as well now as they did the first time. They move so smoothly through my hair, and they don't snag at all. They straighten quickly and efficiently. It used to take me about an hour to straighten my hair with GHDs, but now it takes me around 20 minutes! The curved shape of the straighteners means that they curl as well as they straighten, meaning they are versatile! They also very usefully have an automatic switch off function. There have been several times when I've left the house and suddenly thought "Oh God!" because I've left my straighteners on, but with these, there's no risk of a burnt floor! If you leave the straighteners on (and it does give you quite a while, so there's no worry of them switching off mid-style), they switch themselves off, and a solid amber light comes on which lets you know that the automatic switch-off has kicked in.
All in all these straighteners are brilliant. The designers really seem to have thought of everything! Although they do come in three width sizes, I prefer the middle size because they are more versatile. I'd recommend these to anyone, they stay in amazing condition for ages, they are sleek and stylish, and they do the job perfectly! They are quite expensive, but they are good quality and long-lasting, so well worth paying that little bit extra. I love mine, and I take them almost everywhere with me. Definitely a must buy for regular straightener users!
***** I will try and avoid spoilers, but I can't promise anything! *****
Blue Jasmine tells the story of Jasmine French, a New York party girl and socialite married to a very wealthy businessman, who finds herself suddenly impoverished and homeless, with no one to turn to but her very ordinary sister, Ginger. Jasmine finds herself on a downward spiral of denial, delirium and disaster.
Blue Jasmine is written and directed by Woody Allen, the weird and sometimes wonderful director, writer and actor. He is famous for a plethora of films, but my favourites are Midnight in Paris and The Purple Rose of Cairo. Woody Allen often appears in his own films, however he doesn’t seem to make an appearance in this one (at least I didn’t notice if he did!).
It stars the fantastic Australian actress Cate Blanchett, who plays the leading role of Jasmine. Blanchett won the Best Actress Oscar for her performance in this role. Alec Baldwin plays Jasmine’s husband Hal. Peter Sarsgaard (son of Stellan Sarsgaard!) plays Jasmine’s would-be lover Dwight. The role of Ginger is played by Sally Hawkins, who was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
It is a Sony Pictures production and was released on August 23, 2013. The running time is 98 minutes. The film received 7.4/10 on IMDB, 91% on Rotten Tomatoes and 78% on Metacritic. It is described as a black comedy drama.
The film begins with Jasmine on her way to her sister Ginger’s house, having already lost her expensive lifestyle. While we see Ginger try to help Jasmine get her life back on track, we also learn through flashbacks how Jasmine ended up in this situation. Jasmine becomes obsessed with the idea of wanting to be an interior designer, and so decides to go on a computer course at night school, in order to gain internet skills so she can take an online interior design course. In order to pay for the computer class, Ginger sets Jasmine up with a receptionist job in the local dental practice, but Jasmine struggles to adapt to a life in which she must work, and soon begins to slip back to her expensive habits. As the film progresses, Jasmine becomes more and more delusional and starts drinking heavily and develops the trait of compulsive lying, and her lies and deceits soon begin to effect the people around her. Jasmine’s instability results in her futile attempts at rebuilding her life impossible.
While I found the plot very clever and carefully put together, it was hard going at times and very intense, and the film actually ends unexpectedly and left me feeling like the story hadn’t quite been finished, which I found disappointing. Critics do seem to love the plot though, and have suggested that it is a tribute to Tennessee Williams’s play “A Street Car Named Desire”.
Performances and Characters
Cate Blanchett gives an outstanding performance, and she truly deserves her Oscar. The plot is good and it does keep you interested, but it is Blanchett’s performance that is the true brilliance. Every now and then an actor comes out and gives an unforgettable performance, and this without doubt one of those moments where you sit back and just think “wow”. This is Blanchett’s best performance yet and definitely the role of her career. Critics raved about Blanchett’s role, and rightly so. She is original, relatable and genuine, and portrays a character who you love, hate and sympathise with all at the same time. I often think that mental instability can be hard to act, and it is a difficult thing to make it believable, but Blanchett manages to be realistic and doesn’t go over the top, which can often happen. It is a powerful and emotive performance, and not one to be missed. Her character is also very interesting and extremely complex, and the intensity of Blanchett really enhances the character of Jasmine. I would recommend going to see this film for Blanchett, alone. I was more impressed with her performance than with anything else about the film.
Alec Baldwin surprisingly also isn’t too bad either! I’ve never forgiven him for his role in friends, and I usually try avoid movies or TV shows with him in because I think he’s a bit cheesy. This isn’t exactly an Oscar-winning piece but he still gives a believable performance as Jasmine’s devious and deceiving husband. Sally Hawkins also gives a memorable performance as Ginger, the sister trying to cope with her unstable sibling. Hawkins’s character has her own subplot, which Hawkins portrays well, but Blanchett still steals the show.
Woody Allen often casts himself in the films he directs, but I tend to find the ones he doesn’t star in turn out to be the better films, and this is certainly better for not having Woody Allen in it. Blue Jasmine, while one of the more realistic Woody Allen films, still has his quirky style written all over it. The film flows easily and the flashbacks to Jasmine’s married life never make the film feel disjointed, and they add to the overall effect of the film, as you find out more and more about what makes Jasmine tick as the film develops.
My Final Thoughts
The more I think about this film, the more I like it. When it first ended, I felt like I was left feeling a bit unsatisfied, but as I reflect on it, the more I realise just how subtly brilliant it is. Like American Hustle, this film is less about the plot and more about the characters, but I think Cate Blanchett’s portrayal of Jasmine might even surpass the performances in American Hustle. I will definitely be watching this film again, as I think I need to watch it and just appreciate Blanchett’s performance without concentrating on the plot to heavily. I would definitely recommend this film, but it is not exactly and easy going Sunday afternoon film. It’s not a fun-loving comedy either, it is somewhat darker and deeper than that. You need to dedicate yourself to this film, otherwise you’ll find yourself hating it. Prepare yourself for an outstanding performance, but don’t prepare yourself for a mind-boggling plot.
When it comes to my skin, I have to be so careful as I have really sensitive skin, and I've suffered from quite bad eczema since childhood. My pores are huge too, which can make finding make-up to suit my skin very difficult. I came across this product around 2 months ago and it is excellent in every single way (although a little on the expensive side). Anyway, here it is!:
My local beautician used to treat my skin quite often, and she suggested using a primer before applying make-up in order to stop the foundation sinking through into my pores and clogging them up. The brand at her shop was smashbox, so naturally she sold me the "photo finish" primer however that cost upwards of £37, which is extortionate considering it is a tiny little bottle. I did however find that using a primer improved my skin, and resulted in my make up going on smoother and lasting longer. I shopped around a bit and when I came across this little gem of a product I was smitten!
For a start, it's cheaper than smashbox, so that's a massive thumbs up, although it is still a little pricey. It does perform brilliantly though, and it lasts ages, so it is worth every single penny. The packaging is super sleek and very elegant; it comes in a tall glass bottle with a black pump action dispenser and a clear lid. The glass has a semi-frosted effect which adds to the overall pleasant appearance.
The primer itself is quite thick, almost like a serum, but it is silky smooth and has a very light fragrance. One pump dispenses around a pea size amount, which I have found is more than enough for my face. I usually use an exfoliator before applying the primer, just so that all the dead skin is removed. La Base Pro is easy to apply, it just glides onto the skin and leaves your face feeling silky smooth and soft. It makes applying foundation ten times easier, and I've found that my foundation gives a more even coverage when I use this primer, and it doesn't stick to my pores either. I have found in the past that foundation tends to stick to some places on my face better than others, such as my forehead, whereas on my nose and chin it doesn't seem to last long at all. With La Base Pro this doesn't happen, my make-up lasts longer all round and I've also found that on an evening my make-up is easier to remove and doesn't leave any residue.
Since using this primer I've noticed an improvement in the condition of my skin, and I really think it is because this product prevents my pores being blocked on a daily basis by foundation. I am so impressed with this primer, and I really do think it's a product I will continue to use for a long long time, and because it has been so good, I've started to use a Lancome foundation as well.
I would recommend this product to anyone who also suffers with large pores, and to anyone who just wants a smoother make-up application and longer-lasting coverage. I'm sure there are cheaper products, but you could also end up paying a lot more for a similar product, and I think this one finds the perfect balance between a quality product and a reasonable price.
Definitely a must have for anyone's make-up bag!
My family absolutely loves scrabble, and this afternoon my mum sent me out to get the latest version, "Scrabble Deluxe". She had seen it advertised as having a turntable, which would make it easier for each player to see. Our board was getting a bit tatty too, so I set off and bought the new one. It retails between £40 and £50 at the moment, however I'm sure you could pick up a cheaper one on the internet. I bought ours at WHSmith for £47.99. Considering you can buy the classic model of scrabble for around £25, this is quite a bit more expensive than normal, and so you would expect it to be a quality product. Even the name "deluxe" suggests that it is luxury. The version I bought is still named "Scrabble Deluxe" however I think it is a newer version of the one pictured above.
The rules of the game haven't changed at all, and all the premium squares still exist in this version. There are no extra-special squares like in "Scrabble Trickster", just the normal double and triple word score, and double and triple letter score. The design of the board however has changed quite a bit. The colours have changed from the classic green, blue and pink, to more browns and beiges. The board design definitely looks more classy and elegant than before, and it even has a wood effect around the edges. There are also separators between the squares which help keep the tiles in place (and if any of you are regular scrabblers, you will know that tiles sliding around the board is one of the most annoying things about the game!). The tiles and tiles racks have also changed from the creamy colour to a sleek new black, but they are still plastic. It is also worth noting that the board doesn't have the normal letter counts down the side, instead they are now on separate pieces of paper, about the size of a business card. The game comes with four of these cards.
One of the disadvantages of the new design is that the board no longer folds in the middle, which means that everything is a bit more bulky, since the box has to be twice the size. It also means that clearing away the tiles is no longer as easy as folding the board and sliding them into the bag! Another thing is that the board is advertised as having a 'turntable', which I expected to be a fixed platform which the board then rotated on, however the board just has small wheels on the bottom, so turning it is actually more difficult than I expected, and quite faffy. For the price, I would say that the game severely lacks in quality. Everything feels plasticy and flimsy and cheap. For nearly £50, I would expect actual wood rather than just plastic with a wood effect.
I think if you're happy to play scrabble and put up with moving tiles, then just stick with the cheaper classic version. The only real improvements are the square dividers, but even then its not exactly a necessary improvement. It really isn't worth forking out the extra cash. I do love scrabble though, and so any version is good for me, however I'd still be happy with the plain and normal one. It might be a nice gift for someone who's a scrabble lover and their board is getting a bit tatty, but I wouldn't recommend buying this version if you have a perfectly good classic version at home, as I don't feel like it adds anything to the experience of the game. All in all, scrabble is a good game already, it doesn't need these 'deluxe' features.
When it comes to my eyelashes, I like big and bold mascara, but my usual mascara by Maybelline is nearly £8, and I wanted to try something cheaper for a change, because its just ridiculous to fork out nearly a tenner for mascara! Natural Collection by Boots is quite a reliable brand on the whole, and usually cheap! I thought I''''d give the mascara a try, and for only £1.99 it''''s not expensive, so I thought it doesn''''t really matter if I don''''t like it (it''''s usually on offer too, at the moment it''''s 3 for £5). I actually bought the brown mascara by mistake, so I will be reviewing that.
The packaging is plain white, with the natural collection symbol in the middle. It is a reasonably tall tube, about the size of a normal ball-point pen, but it still fits in my make-up bag easily. The wand itself is quite thin, and the brush is made from the fairly standard bristles. I usually prefer rubber brushes rather than ones with bristles, however I''''ve found that this one gives even coverage and doesn''''t clump. Although the coverage is good, it''''s quite thin and so it isn''''t high impact. It probably doesn''''t help that I bought the brown one, as I imagine the black version would be a bit more noticeable. Being blonde, the brown mascara does look more natural, which I actually quite like if I''''m going for an ''''eau naturelle'''' look. It has also lasted longer than I expected, although it has started to become a bit duller, but that happens to ever mascara so it is expected. In terms of lash length, I wouldn''''t really say I noticed a difference. There are definitely better brands on the market which boost the length of your lashes, but you need to pay a bit extra.
I tend only to use this mascara during the day as it is more subtle. For on a night, I still prefer bolder mascara, as I think strong eyelashes look better when you have eye-shadow on. If you''''re looking for a mascara that says "wow" I wouldn''''t really recommend this brand, however for an understated, every day look, this mascara is perfect. And since it is only £1.99, it means that your every day mascara is cheap to replace regularly, and you can save the more expensive mascaras for special occasions!
*Warning, may be spoilers, although I will try to avoid them!*
American Hustle is directed by David O Russell (who brought us the fabulous Silver Linings Playbook and the Fighter), and was released on December 12th 2013. At two hours and eighteen minutes, it''''s a long one, but it is worth every second! It received 7.8/10 on IMDB and 90% on Metacritic, not to mention a whole bunch of thoroughly deserved awards and nominations.
When I saw a billboard advertising this film I knew straight away that I wanted to see it - the cast is just impeccable. The story follows a small time conman and (fake) art dealer Irving Rosenfeld (played by Chritsian Bale, who gained an incredible 40lbs for the role), and his "British" mistress/con-partner, Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams). While executing one of their many cons, Sydney is caught by FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) and the pair face an ultimatum: help the FBI bring down corrupt politicians in one final con, or go to jail. Rosenfeld and Prosser are dragged into the dangerous and violent world of the Mafia, with Robert de Niro playing a short but surprising little role of a Mafia don. Rosenfeld becomes increasingly attached to one of their con victims, Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner), a mayor intent on doing what''''s best for his people, but who as a result becomes involved in corrupt and illegal dealings. This is the biggest and most important con of Rosenfeld and Prosser''''s entire career, but Rosenfeld''''s unstable and totally unpredictable wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) threatens to jeopardise the entire operation. Being set in the 1970s, the film has a very retro feel and the styling is just great, you can’t help but feel absorbed by the whole thing.
CHARACTER AND PERFORMANCES
American Hustle is the best film I''''ve seen in ages. Although the plot is spread fairly thin for such a long film, it is not that story that makes it so good - it''''s the characters and the performances. Christian Bale plays the part of a man caught between his lover and his wife brilliantly and you end up sympathising with him even though you can see that he is a criminal and cheating on his wife. He constantly battles with his conscience and no matter how hard he tries, he always seems to be upsetting someone. Bale’s performance is flawless, however the true stars of the show are Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence. Adams, despite her terrible English accent, actually portrays her character well and gives a serious and memorable performance which contrasts to her usual rom-com roles. Plus, she spends the entire film wearing no bra and tops with neck lines that plunge to her waist, so the men will no doubt remember her very well. But Lawrence''''s part is the true genius. She is witty, sexy, completely eccentric, and always leaves Rosenfeld completely bewildered, but she totally believable throughout. Lawrence adds a bit of humour and never once slips up. In my opinion, she is the best character in the entire film, gives the best performance and should win the oscar for best supporting role (but I may or may not have a slight crush on her). The only weak link in the whole film is Bradley Cooper. For those of you who have seen Silver Linings Playbook, it is apparent that Cooper is playing the same character. He is the same neurotic, violent and obsessive personality we see in Silver Linings, the only difference is that he is an FBI agent instead of a teacher. Despite his somewhat disappointing performance, the rest of the cast is exceptional.
This film really is a must see, but I think you need to be in the right frame of mind. It is not full of action or twists and turns - the story it fairly simple. It is a film about character development more than anything and Adams, Bale and Lawrence are all at the top of their game. If you’re into films such as Iron Man or Now You See Me, this might not be the film for you as it has no special effects, just plenty of clever little tricks and deals and because of the lack of action it’s not necessarily the best film to see at the cinema, as it would be just as good on the sofa without the massive screen and the surround sound. However, I will be recommending this film to absolutely everyone I know because I thought it was just superb, everything about it was exceptional (except Bradley Cooper but I am willing to look over this as it was only a minor blip and if you haven’t seen Silver Linings then it’s not noticeable at all). Make sure you see this because it is not one to be missed! 10/10!
I like Richard Curtis films so when I heard that his new film About Time was coming into cinemas I couldn't wait. Predictably, it follows his usual formula and you can see the similarities with his other films but I enjoyed it nevertheless.
About Time is written and directed by Richard Curtis (director of Love Actually, Four Weddings and Funeral and Notting Hill for those of you who are screaming who is this man). It is a Universal Pictures and Working Title film, which was released on September 4th 2013. It is 123 minutes long. The film received 7.5/10 on IMDB, 65% on Rotten Tomatoes and 57% on Metacritic.
About Time is a curious little story about a man named Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) who lives in Cornwall with his father (Bill Nighy), mother (Lindsay Duncan) and quirky sister Kit Kat (Lydia Williams). On his 21st birthday Tim is told by his father that he, and all the men in the family, can travel backwards in time. In the beginning, Tim uses this power to try 'get the girls', travelling back in time to a recent New Years Eve party and kissing the girl he was too shy to kiss the first time around. After a few occasions of attempting to use his power in order to appear cool and win the girls, he realises that actually, females are a lot more complicated than he thought and time travel won't solve it.
Tim, wishing to pursue a career as a lawyer, moves from his large family home in Cornwall to London, where he lives with an old friend of his father's, Harry (Tom Hollander), a struggling playwright. Here, he and a friend go on to a blind dating restaurant, which is completely dark. He talks to a girl called Mary (Rachel McAdams) who he likes, and when they meet outside he falls in love. He gets her number and returns home, where he discovers that the opening show of Harry's play was a ruined by and actor (Richard Griffiths) who forgot his lines. Determined to help him, Tim travels back and reminds the actor of his lines before he goes on stage. The night is saved, but when Tim checks his phone, Mary's number has disappeared.
We then see Tim travelling backwards in time again and again, meeting Mary and ensuring she goes out on a date with him. The rest of the film follows Tim and Mary through their life together, with ups and downs and a few complications in the rules of time travelling.
It is impossible to ignore the similarities with Curtis's other films. The character of Tim Lake is undeniably similar to the roles usually played by Hugh Grant, and if Grant was still young enough to get away with playing a 21 year old, I think Curtis would have cast him in this too. Gleeson's performance is fine, it just seems he was in a role which was written for someone else. The kooky and crazy character of Kit Kat is also reminiscent of the Emma Chambers's character Honey Thacker in Notting Hill.
While watching the film I could help but be reminded of Rachel McAdams's role in the Time Traveller's Wife, since she plays the wife of a time traveller in About Time too. Although she is a good actress and plays the role well, I think Curtis should have cast some one different because it is hard to watch the film without comparing her two characters. I could also see similarities in the film between Groundhog Day and Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris. All in all, the film seems like it is a little less original than it could be, but I still enjoyed it.
The film is enjoyable, with surprising faces appearing in small and unassuming roles, namely Richard Griffiths. Curtis has managed to make a turn an unrealistic subject such as time travelling and made it seem rather ordinary and believable, which I personally think is quite the achievement, despite the material in the film being somewhat unoriginal. It is directed well and has a few tear jerking moments which are always good in a rom-com. I'd recommend the film, but I would probably wait until it comes out on DVD because it is just the generic rom-com that everyone loves, but it isn't worth the extortionate cinema ticket prices.
The other day I went to see We're the Millers at the cinema. I hadn't heard anything about it other than that Jennifer Anniston played a stripper, and some guy showed a bit more than expected. I needed a bit of persuading, but I went anyway.
We're the Millers is directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber (also the director of the questionable Dodgeball). It is written by Bob Fisher, Steve Faber, Bob Anders and John Morris. It is a Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema film released August 7th 2013 and is 110 minutes long. It is rated a 15. On IMDB it is 7.2/10 and scored 47% on Rotten Tomatoes.
The movie starts with a small-time drug dealer (Jason Sudeikis), who has his stash stolen and has to face the wrath of his boss (Ed Helms, from the Hangover). Instead of being killed as he expects, he is told that he will be paid to smuggle a 'smidge' of drugs from Mexico into the USA. With no choice, he agrees.
While driving, he sees a family in a big RV motorhome and decides that families are less likely to draw attention, and so in a bid to be less suspicious creates 'the Millers'. He asks his neighbour, Rose (Jennifer Aniston), who is also a stripper, to pretend to be his wife. Kenny (Will Poulter) the boy that lives in his apartment block pretends to be his son and the runaway girl from the block, Casey (Emma Roberts), is his daughter. And so together they set off to smuggle drugs. Along the way there is a tarantula, a strip scene from Jennifer Aniston, a baby made of cannabis, a few awkward moments and plenty of laughs.
Jennifer Aniston is just brilliant. I was afraid that she'd fall into the generic Rachel character, which has carried through most of her roles. However she gave a surprising performance. She was feisty, sexy and sweet. And lucky Will Poulter got to share a kiss with her (surely every teenage boy's dream)! Emma Roberts also gave a good performance but I felt she wasn't quite edgy enough for the role, but generally the cast was good and so it was reflected in the characters.
The plot is good, but not brilliant. It follows the general idea of 'heroes' and 'villans', with a bit of a bad boy charcter who turns out good in the end and the film ends very happy and smiley. There are a few brilliant little scenes though, with Jennifer Aniston sneaking into tents and shouting obscene things around the camp-fire. It is a bit predictable but it follows the tired and tested formula and just about survives, it's not all bad.
The film was very funny, with Hangover-style humour but cleaned up enough to make it an enjoyable family movie (but definitely a 15!). At times it was a bit cringe-worthy, but on the whole it was clever and quick witted. I think it perhaps went on just a little bit too long, and it was very predictable. It should have been shorter by 15 minutes or so as it was getting a bit tedious. Make sure you do stay until the end thought because you don't want to miss the bloopers! In one, a joke at her expense leaves Jennifer Aniston looking rather shocked at first.
I would recommend this film as it is a good old funny comedy, slightly predictable but still worth a watch. I tend to prefer seeing films like Transformers at the cinemas, where you need the surround sound and atmosphere to really get the full experience of the film, so if you're like me I'd give this one a miss at the cinema and wait until it is released on DVD. Definitely a watchable film though and one to put on your list!
I first watched Up when it was released in cinemas a few years ago and I thought it was just beautiful. I recently watched it again on DVD and was reminded just how good it actually is.
Up is directed by Pete Docter (also the director of Monsters Inc.), written by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson and Thomas McCarthy. It is a Walt Disney and Pixar animation movie, which was released on May 29th 2009 and is 96 minutes long.
At the start of the film, we are introduced to one of the main characters, Carl Fredricksen, as a young boy. He is shy and quiet but adores Charles Muntz, the explorer who went to South America and was never seen again. Carl comes across a very loud and outgoing girl called Ellie, who shares Carl's love of adventure and exploring. This is a great little intro to the film as Carl's character is developed quite early, and so we already know a lot about him before the story really kicks in.
The first ten minutes or so show Carl and Ellie's life together, growing up, getting married, and buying a house. They both share the life long dream of travelling to South America and finding their idol, Muntz. They save, but something always comes up and they have to use there money for something else. The two grow old, never having fulfilled their shared dream, and when Ellie dies, Carl is heart broken. The first ten minutes of this film are very emotional (but don't worry, it gets more upbeat!)
Carl is left alone in the house he and Ellie lived in, but now it is in the middle of an urban development, and he refuses to move. Carl accidentally injures one of the developers and has to go to court, where the court rules he must move to a retirement home. Meanwhile, Russell, the second protagonist, is a Wilderness Explorer (a scout) and is desperate to earn his very last badge: assisting the elderly. He pesters Mr. Fredricksen but he is too busy and sends him away. It is clear from this point that these two characters are key.
Carl, determined not to lose his home, ties thousands of balloons to the house and flies it away. This scene is quite magical and wonderful, as the house floats away, and Carl looks very smug as the developers are left open mouthed below. Still enjoying his prank, Mr. Fredricksen suddenly, in mid air, gets a knock on the door, and a very shocked and very frightened Russell is there. Totally unphased by Carl, Russell invites himself in and the story really begins.
The two characters share a journey to remember for a lifetime. They find a legendary waterfall, help a flightless bird find her chicks, and adopt a talking dog. There are many turns to the plot and flashes of pure brilliance when it comes to humour, in my opinion. The characters are original and loveable, and find friends in each other. Carl is explored in the beginning, but as the film goes on we learn more and more about Russell and his past. The story is new and fresh, not just another film that's reworked the same story, with the same characters that we've seen a million times.
The graphics are fantastic too, there is one scene in the beginning, where Carl's house floats past a little girl's bedroom window, and it is so crisp and clear, it looks fab. The characters are voiced well too, full of emotion and laughter. Before creating and animating the film, Docter and eleven other Pixar artists spent time in Venezuela, gathering drawings and inspirations for when they began creating the movie. Seeing the different artists interpreting the landscapes in their own ways was great because it really put life into the animation. The ideas the team found in Venezuela can really be seen in the film and the effort put in really shows.
Up is lighthearted and a great family film. It is uplifting and fun, but the bond the characters create with each other is so realistic and true it really hits you in the heart. Everybody knows it is going to be a happy ending but that doesn't matter, because it is a completely original film. It is impossible to not love this film and I would reccommend this film to everyone! It is a fantastic addition to anyone's DVD collection.
My friends asked my boyfriend and I to go to the cinema not long ago and said I could pick the film, and I chose Pacific Rim. When we went again, they chose the film and it was Now You See Me, and I had seen the trailer and was a bit sceptical but went along with it anyway (especially after my last choice had been so terrible!). I can honestly say that this is the best film I have seen in ages!
Now You See Me is directed by Louis Leterrier, the French director of films such a Transporter and Transporter 2. It's distributor is Summit Entertainment. The film was released on May 31st 2013 and has a running time of 115 minutes.
The film is about a set of four magicians recruited by a mysterious figure using tarot cards and together they become the 'Four Horsemen' and they are funded by the big business man that everybody hates, Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine). Each member of the group has their own specialty; Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg) is an illusionist; Merritt Mckinney (Woody Harrelson) is a mentalist; Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) is an escapist; and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) uses sleight of hand.
They set up a number of shows throughout the film, each with more daring stunts and tricks than the last. In their first Las Vegas show, the group invite a member of the audience to take part in their trick, which is to rob a bank. They manage to transport the man into a bank in Paris, where he then opens a vent. At the exact moment he opens the vent, money starts to fall from the ceiling onto the audience back in Las Vegas.
More shows follow, and as more money is stolen the Four Horsemen become wanted more and more. Throughout the film, the Four Horsemen are constantly under the threat of being exposed by the sceptic Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman). FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) is set to try and charge them for the thefts, but he is constantly one step behind.
An intricate plot follows with twists and turns and a few shocks. By the end you're wondering how you never saw the ending coming, there were clues dropped through the entire film! I enjoyed this film a lot, it has a good cast and kept my attention the entire way through. It is exciting and thrilling and brilliantly cast. It has elements of humour, but not so much that it turns into a comedy. It keeps you guessing and wondering what will happen next. Don't be fooled - when you think the Four Horsemen are just socialising, or having a bit of fun, they're not! It's all part of their master plan!
Critique of the film has suggested it has huge loopholes and that it is unconvincing, however I disagree completely. If there were loopholes they were so small it was unnoticeable (and what film is perfect anyway? Everything is played up for cinema!), and I thought the magicians' performances came across well on the cinema screen. The cast is very good and so it goes without saying that the acting is good too. Mark Rufallo gave my favourite performance and by the end of the film he was my favourite character.
A few of the characters' backgrounds were explored, however throughout the film there were connotations which suggested the characters of Isla Fisher and Jesse Eisenberg had some relationship history, but it is never fully developed. I would have liked to have had a brief insight into the charcters (what got them into magic and such like) but this might make the film a bit too long, and since it is a perfect length to begin with, not knowning much about the charcters doesn't really detract from the overall success of the film.
Rotten Tomatoes rated this film as an overall 'splat' (49%) but it received a 7.3/10 from IMDB. In my opinion, the film is great and I can't wait for the sequel (which has been confirmed) is released. Pacific Rim scored higher than this film on both these sites, and having seen them both I know that this film is far far better than Pacific Rim, so ignore the ratings and go watch it!
Elemis SOS Emercency Cream is part of the Elemis skin solutions collection. I purchased this product for £51, but I have seen it on amazon for £41.30. I suffer from breakouts of spots I just can't seem to shift and my skin also tends to be very dry in places. This cream seemed to offer solutions to these problems and so I tried it.
The product comes in a shiny silver tube with red writing and a pump to dispense the cream. On the side it has a clear panel which allows you to see the cream inside and acts as an indicator to let you know when you are running out. I have had this product around 5 months and it is only just at half way. On the bottle it suggests to use he product morning and night, however I have seen results using it just in the mornings under my make-up. Occasionally, when I feel my skin needs more attention than normal, or is having a particularly bad day, I put it on before I go to bed, after I have cleansed my face and leave it overnight.
The cream itself is a beige/yellow colour and very thick. It has quite a strong smell of lavender, which might not be to everyone's taste, but I personally love it. From one pump, you get around a pea size amount, which is plenty for one application on the face. There is quite a greasy feel, however my face feels instantly moisturised once I've applied it. I would recommend waiting around ten minutes after application before you apply the cream, or until you feel it has soaked in. I have found that it works well under my makeup after I have left a bit of time in between, however if I don't my make-up tends to cling to certain places on my face and won't cover evenly. Sometimes, if I've not applied it for a few days, the first bit of cream that ones out of the pump is slightly sticky and I tend to avoid using this bit and just clean the nozzle with a bit of warm water.
I have definitely seen a difference in my skin since I've been using this cream. Not only has it kept my skin hydrated, but it has also reduced the redness of my face and hoped to reduce the number and the severity of breakouts on my face. My skin is not completely spot-free, however spots at smaller and less frequent. My skin feels healthier and I really feel the benefits of this cream.
It definitely boosts your confidence knowing your skin looks clearer and healthier. I get self conscious about how dry my skin is and have been limited with which foundations I can use because of it. Overall I think this cream is brilliant and although fairly pricey, I think it's worth it if you have problem skin. If you want wuality products you have to pay hebprice, and this one is quality that works. Personally I think it is lightly too thick however this is only a minor issue for me and there are no major downsides to this cream. I would definitely recommend.
I purchased this 30L rucksack for a 3 week expedition to the Argentinian Andes in the summer of 2012. It was a great purchase, lasting the entirety of the trip without damage and has been used multiple times since! This bag cost me just short of £90, but it is available now online for around £75. It looks great with a compact yet spacious design. Deuter is a great brand and very reliable and so there was no hesitation when buying this rucksack.
It is very comfortable to wear, with well padded shoulder straps. The bag also has a well padded and quite wide waist belt, which effectively distributes the weight of the bag and takes the strain and pressure away from the shoulders. I thought the waist strap on this bag was excellent as smaller bags tend not to have this feature, but it is so much easier when carrying for long periods of time to have some of the weight taken off your shoulders and put onto the hips, as the hips are more weight-bearing naturally. The convenient strap also means that at the end of the day your shoulders don't feel sore and are not aching. And the strap also has a handy pocket on the front, useful for tissues, a handful of sweets in easy reach, or a little compact camera which is close to hand so you don't miss any of those impromptu photo opportunities! The chest strap is also useful for stopping the shoulder straps slipping or falling and can be moved up or down depending on what is individually comfortable. All straps are adjustable to make sure the bag fits properly.
Deuter also includes an Aircomfort feature in their small and medium rucksacks. This consists of a mesh piece along the back of the back which allows air to flow between the back of the rucksack and your body. I think this is great feature as I have found in the past that my back tends to get hot and sticky fairly quickly when it is in contact with the back of the rucksack, however this bag has overcome that problem and the Aircomfort allows my skin to breathe. It also provides a bit of extra support and comfort as it moulds to the shape of your body. All straps have breathable padding too, to maximise the amount of moisture that can escape. Reducing perspiration also means that you can continue exercising for longer.
This bag has plenty of pockets and zips and clasps to play with. I particularly like the little opening just to the side of the right shoulder which is labelled "H20". This handy little thing is actually a space for you to feed your platypus (a sort of bag with a pipe which allows you to drink without reaching for a water bottle) through from inside your bag. The right shoulder strap also has a little elastic strap across it so you can fed your platypus pie through and attach it next to your head for ease of use. I loved this as it meant I didn't have to faff about taking my bag off, getting a water bottle out and putting my bag back on and it encouraged me to drink more! As well as space for a patypus, the bag also has two external pockets which can hold water bottles. The pockets have straps which tighten around your bottle, to try and make sure it doesn't fall out. I have found though that the pockets are quite wide and so bottles tend to slip and end up sliding out of the pocket.
The bag has toggles that you can attach any walking poles to, with two at the top and two at the bottom. They are adjustable and grip poles well and they don't fall out. It also has a handy rain cover which has elastic around the outside so it stretches over the bag and then stays in place. It is quite a good rain cover but I would still recommend purchasing dry sacks to ensure everything is kept dry!
There are two easy to reach pockets on the side of the bag and one on the very top, which are useful for things you need close to hand and are all spacious. The pocket on the front of the bag is a bit smaller and doesn't stretch as much, and since it's not all that easy to reach I didn't really use it for anything. The bag also has a zip at the bottom which allows you to enter the main section of the bag without having to unclip all the buckles and things to get into the main section. I found this really helpful when it started to rain, as I had my waterproofs at the bottom of my bag and I could access them easily and quickly, without having to open the top of my bag and risk getting the things inside wet.
Inside the bag there is a pouch in which to put your platypus. It is quite small and would not fit a platypus above 2L in size. The main compartment is quite large and able to fit lots in. 30L is a good size to carry all the essentials for during the day, but I would say you need a larger bag if you are planning on carrying a tent and a sleeping bag. I used this bag as my day sack and it fit all my essentials in no problem, but I had another, 65L rucksack with everything else I needed for the night.
This bag has endured below zero conditions and scorching heat and direct sunlight, it has constantly been dropped and thrown around and long, long rain showers. Despite all thing, there are no scuff marks, rips or tears, it has not faded or discoloured and all the zips are still functioning smoothly. It is a very durable bag.
Overall, I would say that this is a great bag for trekking, cycling or simply for nice walks with the family. It is very comfortable and extremely sturdy, with plenty of space to fill up and put things in. I would definitely recommend this bag, it has lasted me well and I have never had any problems with back pain or anything! Definitely worth the money and it looks nice too!
When I saw the trailer for Pacific Rim, I was desperate to see it as it looked like my kind of film; set in the future and full of action-packed battles. However, I am disappointed to say that this film did not meet my expectations. In the film, Earth is invaded periodically by a monster race called the Kaijus, who rise from a rip in the ocean floor. In order to protect humanity, huge, transformer-like machines called Jaegers have been built to combat the alien invasions.
Pacific Rim is directed by Guillermo del Toro, also the director of Hellboy and Pan's Labyrinth. It is written by del Toro and Travis Beacham (writer of Clash of the Titans). It is a Legendary Picture and Warner Bros. film, released July 4th 2013. It is 132 minutes long.
I started to lose the will to live when I was watching this film. The story line was poor and repetitive; it was so predictable it was terrible. The characters' backgrounds were explored briefly, but there was nothing original or in depth about them. I guess it is normal for action movies to be purely about the action, however in this film I felt like they should have at least had a bit more depth to them after they had decided to go into the characters' history.
The acting in Pacific Rim was poor, despite a good cast. Idris Elba, from Luther, clearly gave the best performance in this film and his character was perhaps my favourite in the film. I think it is hard to look good in a bad film, so he deserves credit and I think he was a far better choice than Tom Cruise, who was originally cast in his place. Charlie Hunnam on the other hand was shocking. I had heard good things about him as an actor from his performance in Sons of Anarchy, however in Pacific Rim he was wooden and often over exaggerated which made his acting skills appear amateurish. Similarly, Charlie Day's character portrayal was disappointing. His usual performances are in comedy film such as Horrible Bosses, and while in Pacific Rim his character (a scientist) was supposed to be humorous, it just didn't fit with the film in total and I think that a more serious performance might have been a better route to take.
On a positive note however, the special effects and action scenes were impressive and definitely had my attention. I also thought the soundtrack was good. The battles between the Kaijus and the Jaegers were exciting and thrilling, often taking place in different settings, such as in the middle of the sea or in the centre of large cities. The Kaijus and Jaegers themselves were also quite varied in appearance, and detailed too. However, there were a few too many battles and I think the film could do with being around 20 minutes shorter as it was starting to get tedious.
Also, throughout the film I couldn't help thinking that they'd stolen the idea of monsters rising periodically from the centre of the earth from the Demon Cycle book written by Peter V. Brett. In his books, daemons rise from the core of the earth on a night and attack humans, and this film just seemed to use the idea, which I found rather irritating. Furthermore, the similarities in design between the Jaegers and
Iron Man are undeniable, with them even having the same glowing circle in the middle of the chest. More original and creative designs could have been invented I'm sure.
This film seems to have generally positive reviews from websites such as Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, however I really fail to see where this comes from. Yes, the action is good yet it's also repetitive and predictable and the film generally lacks substance and the acting really lets it down in my opinion. It was trying to be too many different films as once, and hasn't succeeded in being any one of them. Unless you're in it solely for the action and nothing else, I wouldn't recommend this film to anyone. A total disappointment and not worth £8 cinema ticket!
I bought these headphones a few years ago for around £170. I had seen a few people with them and they looked good, so I decided to give them a try.
The packaging is a very sleek, compact box, with a picture of the headphones on the front. Once inside, the headphones come with a soft case, two red anti-tangle cables and a cleaning cloth. The beats themselves are a nice design, with the iconic 'b' next to the ear and a smooth finish. The ear cushions are soft and comfortable and the headphones have a two hinges to allow for folding. Overall finish is excellent and you can tell they are well made.
The cables are the very distinctive red associated with Beats and like it says on the tin, they don't tangle. This is great because I am forever having to untangle my apple earphones before I use them which is a pain, so the anti-tangle feature is a massive advantage in my opinion. One of the cables it comes with is just a plain cable, but the other one has a built in microphone which is useful if you have an iPhone because you can make hands-free calls. It also means you can control the volume on the headphones without having to unlock your phone or iPod. I love this feature and its so useful. Even though it doesn't have the hands-free, the other cable is also good, because it means you always have a spare. The two hinge folding mechanism is also really useful because it means the headphones fold to a small size which makes them easy to carry and put in a bag. The case in its self is quite bulky compared to the headphones on their own but it is still small enough to transport easily.
The ear cushions cover the ear and block outside sound very effectively. This is great in terms of listening to music, since all background noise is removed, however if people are trying to get your attention or talk to you, they have no chance. I end up shouting replies because I can't tell how loud I'm talking! Plus, they are comfortable and you can wear them for long periods of time without your head or ears hurting. The head strap is also padded.
Personally, I think the sound quality is excellent, although I'm not too knowledgeable on the technicalities of sound. For someone like me they sound great, clearly better than your average apple earphones. The music is clear and because you can't hear external sounds, it's a totally different listening experience to the average earphones. In my experience they are at their best when songs with good basslines are playing, the headphones really complement and improve the sound. The earphones are a little expensive, but if you're into music then it's worth it.
The only thing which annoys me slightly (and this is a personal thing), is that I can't use them when I'm watching a movie or something on my iPad because they're too bulky to be able to lay on my side, so I would always recommend keeping a pair of trusty in-ear earphones for such occasions. Other than that, I would definitely recommend these headphones to anyone willing to spend that kind of money; they are sleek and classy, recognisable to a fellow-music lover and have great sound quality, in my opinion.