Monday, March 18, 2013

Those high heels are not your friend.

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I'm still going through each of the things I bought in that sales haul on the Barratts website. Today, it's my £8 nude heels with the stud detail that I wore on a night out:

I found the heels extremely comfortable to walk/dance in, given the thinness of the heel, as well as that it was my first time in them. They fit my feet perfectly and I had no issues with them feeling too tight, or slipping off on the dancefloor. Given the £8 price in the sale and the way nude complements most outfits, I simply must give these bad boys a resounding thumbs up.

Grade: A

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Side Effects (Steven Soderbergh, 2013)

Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara) has been waiting for her husband Martin to be freed from prison for four years (he, played by Channing Tatum, was sent down for insider trading). After the day occurs and he is finally let out, however, she is taken over by spells of depression which culminates in her driving her car into a brick wall. This seeming cry of help is noticed by trendy clinical psychiatrist  Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law). Dr. Banks allows her release from hospital on the proviso that she checks in with him a few times a week. 

After trying various standard medications to try and elevate her mood to no avail, he puts her on the newest mood drug, Ablixa, which rejuvenates her, giving her energy, happiness and a sex drive, much to her husband’s delight. However, it comes with the considerable side effect of almost fantastically lucid sleep-walking that culminates in a terrible occurrence that leads to Emily getting jailed and Dr Banks questioning his practices.

Soderbergh talked about Side Effects being his last film. It would be a massive shame for the cinematic world to miss out on his talents, which brought us an eclectic range of pictures from fun ensemble heist movie Ocean’s Eleven, to Channing Tatum as a male stripper in Magic Mike, to inspirational feminist biopic Erin Brockovich, to the engrossing patchwork of drug tales in Traffic, to name but a few.

For all his faltering – I was left wanting by Contagion and Ocean’s Twelve was nothing short of a mess, Soderbergh is a talented, versatile director, and he is at the top of his game in this twisty, convoluted medical thriller. Under pseudonym Peter Andrews, he also takes charge of the film’s cinematography, as well as editing (curiously, under the alias of Mary Ann Bernard); rendering this a proper Soderbergh picture, from top to bottom.

Finally, the film is aided considerably by Scott Z. Burns’ cerebral script, which captures the workings of the legal, pharmaceutical and psychological industries, as well as all the flaws of Jude Law’s protagonist.

For his part, Jude Law puts in one of his finer performances. His last collaboration with Soderbergh in Contagion – another medical drama – featured him sporting a bizarre Aussie accent and completely failing to impress, or convince. Here, he lays true to his roots in playing a British psychologist. As his character explains, he came to New York to practice psychology because, if you say you’re going to see a shrink in Britain, people assume you’re sick. If you say you’re seeing a shrink in America, that implies you’re getting better.

His character is driven by lucre at the beginning of the film, and, in a story where one of the character was sent away for letting the investment banking culture go to his head, the perils of greed are starkly highlighted throughout. In that case, it initially becomes hard to warm to Law, with his cushy job, swanky downtown Manhattan flat and his knack of only taking a true concern with Mara’s character when things takes a bitter turn. However, as the film progresses, we do come to empathise and pity him, especially when the rug is pulled from under him and he stands to lose everything he’s worked so hard for.

Rooney Mara is, as ever, perfect. In Side Effects, her character displayed this knack of chewing her lip whenever she wasn’t speaking, which I can’t say I noticed in her previous acting performances. I couldn’t tell if it was an affectation or something the character was supposed to be doing.

When the film finished, thinking about, I realised which one it was, and it renders her performance a very clever one indeed. Her large, glassy blue eyes make for magnetic watching, and although the film is relatively low on “thrills” by Hollywood’s Saw-standards, one scene, in which she looks in the mirror and sees a transfigured  reflection staring back at her, is disturbing despite its simplicity.

Catherine Zeta-Jones and Channing Tatum are sadly, less convincing in their more thinly-sketched roles, although thankfully, it doesn’t detract from the genius of Side Effects, which made for very effective entertainment on a Wednesday night, and a welcome change from the mindless gunk Hollywood is serving up as cinema these days. If this truly is Soderbergh’s last film, then he has well and truly gone out with a bang.

Mark: 8/10

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Emma's girlcrushes, 2013.

I like to do a yearly update of this list, so I can trawl tumblr for beautiful ladies. Here was last year's list, in case you were wondering.

10. Miranda Kerr
A new entrant on the list, I've always been a fan of her angelic, baby-faced beauty, but she really turned my head when she wore a dress to the Golden Globes that had both a) a slit up the thigh and b) plunging cleavage. Fashion rules dictate that you should only really have one or the other, but Miranda Kerr is stunning enough to work it. She has a wonderful physique - they don't let out-of-shape girls be Victoria's Secret models, and has to adhere to a very strict diet to maintain it, rendering her the very epitome of "yummy mummy".

09. Rooney Mara
I'm watching Side Effects tonight, and Miss Mara is one of the main draws; I loved her arresting turn in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and really thought she deserved the Oscar above Streep. The first film I saw Rooney Mara in, The Social Network, she was pretty, but nothing traffic-stopping, but it was David Fincher's movie that made her notice her as an actress, and her gorgeous red carpet appearances promoting the film that made me realise she was also a rather tasty bit of eye candy, too.

08. Rihanna

So-called "feminist" Caitlin Moran likes to frequently feign concern for Rihanna, telling the Barbados singer that she needs to "wear a cardi" more. Frankly, I couldn't care less what Rihanna does or doesn't wear, and find Moran's stream of thinking it's in her control to tell either women what they should be wearing extremely patronizing. Anyway, I feel Rihanna is always unfairly overlooked as a singer and an artist - listen to the raw emotion on her voice as she belts out Love the Way You Lie; she's no autotone troll. The fact that she's sung many of my nightclub favourites and the effortless swagger she had in the What's My Name video as she strutted down the video means that she's pretty much my cool-ness icon.

07. Kristen Stewart
Poor Kristen got the worst time after she got caught last year, when the Twittersphere practically imploded on itself, with Twihards rushing to dub her a "trampire." It is extremely misogynistic to slut-shame a girl for having an affair, when men do it - and get praised for it - all the time. As far as I'm concerned, the only thing Kristen has to be sorry for is appearing in Snow White and the Huntsman, one of the dullest films I've seen in recent years. But then, a few months later, I watched her in On the Road and realised she was actually a rather accomplished actress, given the right roles. The fact that she proved to be a bit of a minx on the side, as far as I'm concerned, just adds to her allure, now.

06. Selena Gomez
Baby-faced Selena Gomez is the object of my wardrobe envy - everything she's sported at film premieres and public appearances, I've wanted. At 20, she still has the cheeks that served her so well as a Disney chick, but as she enters her twenties, she wants us to know that she's more than that, and hence her appearance on the risque-looking Spring Break, which, judging  from the trailers, she spends the entire movie in just a bikini. Hey, I'm certainly not complaining.

05. Mila Kunis
Mila Kunis had a very distinctive eye colour. It started out with one eye being brown and the other green, but with time the two colours converged to produce something that is the best of both worlds. She also has incredibly large eyes, a soft button nose and incredible legs and bum. Yeah, I just really like staring at her.

04. Frankie Sandford
A regular of the Top Three (where she has been comfortably for the last two years), I'm afraid I've had to bump Frankie down one place, simply because I just don't understand why she's still with that weed Wayne Bridge. As for the rest, she's stunning; possessing the most stunning abs ever, which she knows how to show off with a pretty belly bar, and the most infectious smile in The Saturdays. Gorgeous, gorgeous girl.

03. Kaya Scodelario
Kaya simply gets sexier with age. And, bearing in mind that she already had the vamp factor pretty much up to a maximum as Effy in Skins, is really saying something. So attractive that she's frequently cast as the femme fatale in music videos (She Said, Stay Too Long, Candy), she's learn to work the ice queen schtick so well that it feels like a second skin. Soft, round grey eyes that I could stare at all day, the figure of a model and a range of hairstyles that bring out her best features, she is quite the stunner.

02. Dianna Agron
Glee is a mess these days. Honestly, I have no idea why I continue  watching, each episode just leaves me banging my head against the desk. But on the rare occasions when Quinn pops up, I do feel that my perseverance is rewarded. Dianna Agron is responsible for what remains, to this day, my favourite Glee cover (the "I Feel Pretty/Unpretty" mashup), and her dulcet tunes suit my ears like a bee to honey. A twist on the classic blonde beauty look, Miss Agron has amber eyes instead of blue eyes, but this unusual blend just adds to her aesthetic appeal.

01. Lana del Rey
Lana was at Anfield on Sunday, and given my thoughts on Liverpool Football Club, you'd think that would put me off her. No such thing. Despite the paltriness of her surroundings, the sight of Lana smiling her irresistible smile at the football ground had me grinning too. She's my favourite artist - my boyfriend and I cuddle to her songs all the time, and her keenness to use Lolita imagery throughout her songwriting simply adds to her vixenesque appeal. Luscious lips, hair that's full of volume and eyes as round and delicious as cherry pies, Lana remains the definitive girlcrush, Anfield or not.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Friday, March 08, 2013

Review of the songs on Girls (and Boys) on Film episode of Glee (S4E15)

There’s a fair bit of drama covered in this episode, from the fallout of Will being jilted at the altar, to Rachel grappling with her bun in the oven and Santana barking up the wrong tree that Brody is a drug dealer (he’s actually a gigolo), so it's apt that the episode is dedicated to music of the movies. There were some catchy mash-ups in this episode, but, despite Naya Rivera not performing any of the songs, she remains this show's MVP in her flawless brand of sass.

You’re All the World to Me
Didn’t do it for me, liked Emma in a suit though. The shots of Mr Schue looked dewy-eyed after the sequence didn’t create any empathy in me towards him. No1curr about Will/Emma. C

An upbeat song with nothing hugely wrong with the performance, although I’m generally affronted whenever Brittany songs, as she has the weakest voice of the lot. Plus, as Artie pointed out, this wasn't a mashup. B

Come What May
A bit flat. Nothing on the Moulin Rouge! version. Kurt and Blaine’s voices do complement each other, especially when they harmonize, but I prefer it on tracks such as their cover of Pink’s "Perfect". Santana’s bluntness after the performance is more fun than the song. B-

Old Time Rock & Roll / Danger Zone
Costumes, remixed beat, instrumentals, choreography, all wonderful. I preferred the pilot outfits to the white-shirt-and-white-socks-with-aviators combination sported by Sam, Ryder and Jake, but kudos to them for wearing such potentially embarrassing outfits with such a straight face. Exuberant, unassuming, unadulterated fun, truly worthy of the show’s title. A

Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend / Material Girl
As with the boys, great fun, full of standout moments, from Marley's orgasmic delivery of "everything's going so well!" to Unique's intro "the French are glaaaad to dieee for luuuurve". I prefer the original source material of both songs and therefore find them catchier but in terms of mash-up, you’d have to edge it to the boys – the Material Girl song barely featured in this mashup, whereas in the boys’ one, both songs carried equal weighting. 

However, the girls’ mashup gets bonus points for Unique’s Christina Aguilera-esque warbling at the end. Curiously, when their hair was curled in that style, was the first time I've found Kitty prettier than Marley -- that hairstyle just happens to suit her more.

Bonus points for Kitty’s Machiavellian advice to Marley just before the song started: "Boys are like lumps of coal; they're dirty and cheap and get hot when they're rubbed but some turn into diamonds, so collect as many as you can". A

In Your Eyes
Didn’t work for me. Maybe because I find Matthew Morrison an awkward performer compared to his youthful counterparts who have much more natural star quality, or maybe because the Will/Emma romance has been protracted out so long now that we’re tired of them. The homage to John Cusack in Say Anything was the cherry on top of cringe. D

Unchained Melody
I re-watched Ghost this Christmas when introducing the film to my brother, and moved to tears when Unchained Melody played during it. The Gareth Gates version is also very sweet. This one, however, left me cold, and much of that could be because I don’t ship Marley/Jake (Marley/Ryder FTW!), and the shots of Marley nuzzling Jake whilst smiling awkwardly were beyond mawkish. 

Jake has a good voice, and the nice little dramatic spin where Marley imagined someone other than Jake holding her hands was telling, but the imitation of the pottery scene was, as much of this show is, an exercise in second hand embarrassment. C


Terrific fun, with good dancing too, after it was announced that EVERYONE WON DA COMPETITION. #classicGlee Suspect timing to put such an upbeat tune straight after Finn admits to Mr. Schue that he’d kissed Emma, but clunky timing is one of the many flaws that you just come to accept as part and parcel Glee. A particularly nice touch of this performance was all the cast goofing about on the stage thingy. A-

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Continuing Barratt's sales haul.

Part II of the sales haul which I showed yesterday, today, focusing on the yellow flats.

For £4, you were never going to get anything extremely high quality, and the sturdiness of these flats don't compare to the other four here. It's a cute colour and design, but such is the brightness of the yellow, that I have to be careful about what I match the shoes with, as otherwise there is a huge potential for clash. So, not a bad addition to my shoe collection, but nothing earth-shattering.

Grade: B-

Friday, March 01, 2013

First day of the Month Nostalgia.

Me, on my 13th birthday party. Look how innocent I looked~~

Assessing post-Christmas sale buys.

The Barratt's shoe website had 20% off all their sale items, which seemed too good to resist! So I bought these things:

... and thought I'd report back on how my sale shopping went, as I usually prefer trying clothes/shoes on in the shop rather than buying them off the screen, where there is always the risk that my purchase doesn't fit.

Patent Clutch Bag

As you can see from my (not very high quality) photos, the bag looks identical to that put up on the website. It closes with just one magnetic buckle, but such is the design of the bag that everything fits in neatly. My biggest area of improvement is if it were just a smidgen larger - my camera fits into the clutch, but I'd prefer if I could put my camera in when it is in the holder as well, which presently the streamlined shape can't hold. Apart from that, it's got a wonderfully glossy exterior that brightens up any outfit, and the silver chain attached means you can either hold the clutch, or wear it on your shoulder. For £6.40, I really don't think I could have found many prettier, and it's very adaptable - I've taken this clutch with me to one pub trip and one restaurant date as well. Recommended!

Grade: A-