Category Archives: Countdown

Movember: The Story of Growing Your Moustache Through Film

The business of growing a moustache is an international affair during the month November. Why? Because people around the world are raising awareness to battle prostate and testicular cancer in men. That’s right, we’re campaigning the Tom Selleck way and loving every hairy second of it! The Movember Foundation (which you can visit here) is also putting up a stand against the high numbers of suicide among our XY-partners, stating a  frightening rate one man per minute worldwide.

As a lady, I can only grow so much of a moustache, but that does not mean participation is a no-go! Instead, I choose to honour this great month in the only other way I know how to – through tireless film talk. So, let’s trace the adventures of one moustache in a land of many other moustaches, from incubation to graduation, kick-starting the party with a classic motion picture, one that has stood the test of time – “Spaceballs”.

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Mel Brooks is showcasing the initial stages of a stash through this newbie-friendly arrangement. It’s the barely there look, which is perfect for anyone starting a fresh batch of face fuzz. There may not be much of it at all, but whatever’s managed to manifest is proudly there. It may seem daunting to glance for progress every two hours, but remember – no Gimli has started with a Selleck.

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I know it may seem like quite the leap here, but transitioning from President Skroob to “Napoleon Dynamite”‘s Kip is more about building coverage and filling up the empty spaces, rather than generating actual thickness. This takes patience, we’re still constructing a Taylor Swift, so we shouldn’t be rushing into a Nicki Minaj. Be happy, you’re making a serious commitment to the mission now and we’re all rooting for success.

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Give it another week or two and your bristle companion will be looking meaner, stronger, fuller, more Jack Black-ier than ever before! We’re ready for expansion, we’re no longer trying to break through the moustache game, we’re slowly gaining speed, zooming past its levels like a wrestler body slamming his opponents on a rink of hairy fire. The empty patches that Kip sported are nothing but history.

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See how those ends are flicking down, trying to make a daring escape into the chin area? This is the point where you can freely purchase a gun in the state of Texas, no questions asked. Also, I think I’m joking, but I’m not entirely sure, so please don’t quote me to US authorities. Josh Brolin is nailing the classic lip jewellery in “No Country for Old Men”, keeping perfect foundation, curve and body.

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Notice how the violence in film posters increases in direct proportion to the facial hair volume? Danny Trejo’s mouth handle in “Machete” has surpassed Llewelyn Moss’s notable number, creeping further into the uncharted territory of southern regions. According to scientific research, this particular design is classified as “Vigilante Mop” under the “Crime Avenger” category.

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There’s no return when you’ve committed to Colin Farrell’s distance, which spans vertically and more than halfway into sworn beard realms. Now, beards are forbidden according to The Movember Foundation’s web page, so this is borderline rebellious behaviour. Did that stop Luke? Did it stop Obi-Wan? No, of course not. Be proud of your progress, you’ve got all the elements for a proud cocaine lord stew and they’re brewing together.

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This is the end result of your downward venture, beautifully demonstrated in detail by assassin Jules Winnfield in cult classic “Pulp Fiction”. Warning: not all face shapes can handle the handle, so handle yourself right when handling this issue. One may think they’ve reached a moustache’s full potential at this point, but don’t let a lack of imagination stunt the progression.

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Emperor Ming lives on a rogue planet called Mongo, where advanced face caterpillars are only reserved for tyrannical overlords with Nike logos for eyebrows. Ad well as body, we have now conquered the length variable of our moustache equation, elevating the entire creation to space villain heights. Where could we possible go from here? Surely the sides don’t just continue into a long spaghetti-style braid, right?

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CORRECT! According to laws of nature that I made up half an hour ago, the moustache takes a defying move and springs up into a fine curl once it reaches certain breaking points. As Dustin Hoffman proves in “Hook”, this design can be both classy, comedic, merciless and for best effect – pulled into a tandem with a matching seventeen century wig.

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Moving forward – literally – we’re now concerned with structuring a good 3D impact to your lip crown. The bristle length is clearly increased and a professional twist is required to reach Daniel Day Lewis’s memorable appearance in “Gangs of New York”. You look in the mirror and remember the days when Nacho Libre was your proudest achievement, as you comb down those luscious waterfalls.

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It’s practically impossible to create a suggested evolution of the human moustache without including Tom Selleck with an honourable spot. After all, the man is famous for his enviable mouth locks,  situated neatly between two gorgeous dimples and on top of a voice box ready to narrate action movie trailers. Remember when I said Nicki Minaj was a long way to do? We’ve just reached her.

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The only person who can beat Tom Selleck without resorting to any trickery of the curl, squiggle, vertical drop or parting variety, is Ned Flanders himself. A firmly religious man, who loves a good, trimmed stash as much as he does Jesus Christ. This majestic wall of hair doubles up as a face coat in winter and soup storage for fall.

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We’re almost at the final stages of the growing your lip jewellery. We’ve slowly built the foundation in “Napoleon Dynamite” and “No Country for Old Men”, we’ve poured in the concrete in “Gangs of New York”, and now, crowning one cult classic’s nod-wrothy accomplishment – we have “The Big Lebowski”. Sam Elliott has a specimen of worthy proportion, which will leave any observer in jealous awe.

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Your finished product (obviously we’re expecting this result by the end of Movember) should look something like a Dr. Seuss character, especially a woodland spirit, who wishes to preserve a magical wilderness. The Lorax combines length, body, hang and even stylish layers, while being appropriately voiced by Danny DeVito – a man of admirable moustache skills.

But of course everybody’s genetic pool has slightly different fishes swimming around the hair growth centre, so keep that in mind while comparing your progress with other stash buddies. Movember might equate to Kip at best for some lucky fellows, while others could reach a full Llewelyn Moss without a breaking a sweat doing it. You’re all beautiful, and you’re all raising awareness for a great cause, which is the most important part of all.

So, go out there, gentlemen and show the world just how beautiful your face bling can be, and to all my lovely ladies – take up another challenge from the Movember Foundation web page and fundraise for the future of our other gender.

Much love and a happy November to all!

 

 

Halloween Fest: 7 Binge-Worthy Netflix Series

The wait is almost over. Mere hours separate us from a night of witches, ghosts, obscure film references and generally sexual black cats.

One of my all-time classic traditions on Halloween day is to spend an afternoon in the warm embrace of seasonal whiskey and sweet treats. Being a much needed mental preparation for the inevitable army of sugar-starving children, it must always, under all circumstances be carried out correctly! So, in order to honour the spirit (I’m sure there’s a pun in there somewhere) of this custom, today’s article will revolve around some spooky series you can binge watch right now on our loyal Netflix companion. Here we go:

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I mean, do we need further explanation than the title itself? Five of the six existing seasons are currently available for immediate streaming including “Asylum”, “Freak Show” and “Hotel”, as well as personal favourites “Covent” and “Murder House”. Pick the theme of your party or fright fest session from this plethora of conveniently diverse scenarios and you’ve got yourself a killer party… Get it? Because killer… I’ll get my things now…

Pro: It’s a promise of long-lasting creeps and an addiction.

Con: There will always be one horror hater on the scene.

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That’s correct, ladies and gentlemen – “Goosebumps”, our favourite nineties television series, has returned full force. A lot of middle-parted hair and bulky technology make for great laughs and a tonne of reminiscing. Remember the days when Ryan Gosling was just a suburban teen whose future got predicted by a magical Polaroid? I’ll omit the episode name. Google it over a shot of Jim Beam Apple Spice whiskey and sit back for a bumpy ride of fright and giggles.

Pro: Short episodes, perfect for spicing up a party between other games.

Con: So nineties, it actually hurts.

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If you have managed to miss the “Stranger Things” buzz – now is the ideal time to catch up and share our mass obsession! Science, mystery, friendship, love and loss all come together in the amazing mix that is the childhood of a group of suburban children. Refresh your memory on Dungeons and Dragons, sit through a hefty dose of inhumane mutant experiments and jump to the Upside-Down monsters, all in the embrace of chocolate spiders and jelly snakes… And waffles.

Pro: Engaging, relevant and well-written.

Con: Cliffhangers be cliffhangers.

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The rollercoaster of throwbacks continues, I wouldn’t dare to disappoint, and “Charmed” won’t either. The show premiered back in 1998 and ran up until 2006, so parts of it are still quite relatable, albeit an abundance of awkwardly cropped shirts and tank tops. We’ve gone through ghosts and science gigs, so let’s shove some witches back into the mix (and their super cool attic, too).

Pro: Five seasons of witch drama.

Con: Zero street cred in 2016.

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There’s a wagon approaching and just as your tickets says – we’re heading to zombie central. This witty, modern take on a low-key undead outbreak is so entertaining in its long-term plot line that it is sure to keep you connected for hours on end, but also remains to keep a snappy originality to every episode. Personally, I would recommend a nice drinking game as company, lots of red velvet cake and even more strawberry syrup for effect.

Pro: It’s often comedic as well as dramatic.

Con: Falling in love with the cast to a point of mild obsession.

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The latest successor of Hitchcock’s “Psycho” empire is this psychological (duh), steady-paced drama starring Vera Farmiga (aka lady from “The Conjuring”, you’re welcome) and Freddie Highmore (aka dude from… “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”?). Anyway! This a more relaxed Halloween type of treat, burning the fires of horror nice and slow, with lesser focus on jumpy shock factors.

Pro: Steady and intriguing.

Con: If you’re looking for jump scares – look away.

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I just couldn’t do a Halloween list and forget to include the spin-off series of cult classic slasher “Scream”, could I? No way! Also, look at that alliteration game – so strong! Is it a good series? No way. Will it do the job? … Kind of? Yeah? It has great cliffhangers and little twists towards Ghostface’s identity, which make for a great topic of argument at parties. However, don’t expect a groundbreaking addiction.

Pro: Fun who-done-it element for groups of friends.

Con: Film remains unbeaten. Period.

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Well, here we are at the bottom of my list! I hope you enjoyed this little article of recommendations. For argument’s sake, I would just like to point out that the UK availability of Netflix shows has been taken under consideration. Does your country have different series to binge? Do you think I’ve missed a pretty big title? Share them with me and we can all have a spooky discussion!

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10 Tips for Holiday Preparation

It’s finally the heat of summer! Good, old June has rolled up on our calendars once more, making way for tank tops and sun lotions. Well, if you live anywhere outside of London, that is, because all we get here are less clouds and more rain! But anyway, the perk of June is that most of us begin planning holidays and beach retreats. Dreams slowly surface of careless, sunny days next to the water, where a good book and a cold drink are the only worries you’d possibly have. So, inspired by this, today’s article is designed to allow for your ideal trip to happen smoothly. Being a forgetful bunny is something I, myself, suffer from, so the importance of good prep is always priority numero uno.

Here are ten of my tips for a better holiday preparation!

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1. Checklist everything!

In fact, make a checklist of the checklists you need to make! Okay, maybe that’s a bit excessive, but a few simple reminder notes are always welcome. I normally make a clothing list, an equipment list and a necessities list, because those make a nice foundation for eliminating any mishaps and forgotten chargers! But go nuts, twist your lists around the specific holiday requirements you have and start filling those out.

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Bonus tip: Start your checklists early! I begin mine a whole month before departure, just to make sure I have enough heads up if purchases need to be made, or if specialised equipment has to be acquired. Giving yourself space is the best addition to a complete checklist.

2. Weigh your suitcase. 

Most airlines allow for 20 kilograms of luggage, and that sounds like a great, big variety of stuff. Absolute mountains to pack, right? But consider this – a suitcase could weigh up to 7kg, which pretty much takes up a fourth of your overall allowance. Now, most of you could easily skip this step if all you’re packing are bathing suits and kaftan dresses, cause those are like negative weight. But should you plan on carrying diving accessories, wetsuits, shortboards or any potential objects that could end up shifting the scale – I’d recommend knowing your numbers.

Bonus tip: Soft suitcases with aluminium handles are some of the lightest ones on the market and they are largely available in travelling stores. If your present luggage bag ends up being a hefty bite, save it for smaller trips and invest in a skinnier one. They are also better for bulky packing in the winter ski season!

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 3. Check the health boards.

Sometimes there could be a flu that you need to be aware of, or a specific virus making its way around your holiday spot. So to avoid catching it, make sure to read up on any news or information concerning outbreaks in the area. That way, if you need a quick boost to your immune system, there’s plenty of time to supplement with vitamin C. Alternatively, depending on how exotic you’re aiming for, check if any vaccinations need to be made. Equatorial regions tend to have a slight bug and mosquito problem, which is another point to bare in mind. Nothing ruins a good trip more than itchy spots all over your body! Plus, they don’t tan well. Do a bit of research and save yourself a basket of unwanted trouble. Seriously.

Bonus tip: A good place to do research is the Travel Health Organisation website, which has live outbreak alerts and country-specific data. Check it regularly before the trip and all should be swell.

4. Get yourself a countdown.

Countdowns are great should you need a gentle reminder of time. If you’re going on a physically challenging trip, such as a hiking trail or a long sail, a great idea would be to bulk a little and prep your body for the strain. Keeping an eye on your regime is made much easier by paying attention to the weeks or days that you have left to train. Trying to chisel the perfect beach booty? Great! Set regular goals in your countdown and experience first hand just how motivating they can get.

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Bonus tip: The best place to keep said countdown is an in-your-face spot, which means either cell phone or desktop computer. For my mobile (Android), I normally use Countdown Days by SMSROBOT LTD. It has very nifty widgets and looks pretty!

5. Leave a key behind.

This tip is more concerned with the safety of your home while you are away than anything else. Call up your best bud and ask if they could harbour a key to your house or flat, just in case any documents have to be acquired during your holiday or if you are waiting for an expensive package. It also allows them to water your plants, DVR your favourite shows and make sure everything stays nice, clean and safe!

Bonus tip: When I say leave them a key, I do not mean hide it under the mat or over the door frame, okay? That is the absolute opposite of safe and beware of the claws! Hang it on a pretty keychain, maybe the one you got from Italy when you were on that family retreat, and hand it over in person. There, emergencies avoided!

6. Spring clean.

Talking about house and garden, why not have a little clean-up in the week before you leave? That saves a tonne of trouble when you get back, because the last thing you’d want after a long flight and heaps of heavy luggage dragging… Is to come home and worry about the laundry and dishes. Do future you a favour and keep things presentable. The next time you shout home, sweet home, it’s gonna be for a happy reason, not a daunting one.

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Bonus tip: If you’re willing to take the extra step, get all washing machine and home clothes on stand-by. That minimises the efforts even further!

7. Get your tech in check.

If you’re like me and one camera is never enough, or maybe there’s an entire bag dedicated to electrics and accessories, then make sure to double up. Stock up on extra batteries, film roll, brush up on your lenses and screens, make sure everything has caps and appropriate cables. Any power banks that you like to carry around should be fully charged and ready, tripods should have their plates and screws, water housings should be sparkling clean. Those are the basics, don’t be afraid to spread your wings and be the tech geek, I know you can be. Just make sure no necessity is left behind.

Bonus tip: I use a USB cable with multiple extensions such as this (put here for demonstration purposes, I actually own a different one) with my power bank. It saves you trying to untangle all of your larger, separate cables on the go and they are usually very light and compact!

8. Budget planning.

You’re already splashing out on a great vacation and an exotic location. There’s no need to splurge beyond the point of no return, because that would only cause you stress along the way. So, in order to prepare for the trip, do a little finance maintenance. Calculate the maximum you’re able to spend on the entire duration of your holiday, and then split it around your days accordingly. Some days might need more, others could need less, it’s up to you to decide. But, for anyone wanting to be mindful of their savings – this tip is a must.

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 17.34.40Bonus tip: Portion your money in envelopes labeled with the days they correspond to. Don’t unseal a new envelope unless its day has come. Doing this creates an amplified sense of boundary, which is helpful when keeping on a lower budget. Obviously, shall emergency cash be needed, rip those things up, but in other scenarios – stack them tidy in your luggage.

9. Familiarise yourself with customs.

Knowing the local community can make your holiday much more rewarding and joyful. A habit perfectly acceptable in England could be offensive in Thailand or Greece, even if it happens to be a minor one such as pointing a finger. Do you slurp your food or do you eat quietly? Should you be barefoot or are shoes a sign of respect? Different cultures might have different answers to those questions, so sit down one morning, sip a cup of coffee and spare a few minutes for some healthy research.

Bonus tip: Basic interactions are also a good area to explore. What I mean are things like how much to tip your waiter and how to compliment your butler. When you make other people happy, simply with professing knowledge of their culture, you will make yourself happy, too.

10. Weather check!

I left this tip for last, because it seems very obvious to me. I’m going to Cuba in September, so it should be hot, right? Or I’m heading for some ski adventures in December, the Alps always have snow. Here’s where you could very easily slip into disaster. For example, summer means hurricane season for a lot of tropicScreen Shot 2016-06-14 at 17.41.00al and equatorial areas, so it would be a grand idea to have a look at those rain prognoses! Heading for a snowboarding feat could be hard if it has ceased to snow or there are raging storms. Connect this tiny research exercise with my previous tip and you’ll be good and ready for a great holiday.

Bonus tip: Sometimes, weather forecasts could be very vague if you’re having to check them months in advance. What I do in these cases is pay a tiny visit to TripAdvisor and read up on other people’s experiences in that time of the year. Maybe they could prep me even better for what’s to come.


Well, here we are at the end of my tips. Hopefully these inspired you even a little bit to go book a gorgeous holiday right this instant! Everyone deserves a time to enjoy themselves and relax away from the world. You should do the same!

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Top Picks: Topshop’s Karlie Kloss Inspo

Imagine you had a day off. Maybe it’s the weekend, maybe you called in sick so you wouldn’t have to face Susan from accounting, the possibilities are endless. It’s pouring rain outside, thus creating the conditions for a cosy afternoon in bed. You make an obligatory, slash complimentary, mug of coffee and sit on your computer. From then on, the browsing of clothing and make-up begins. Am I right? Totally.

So, having found myself in precisely that situation this morning, I went on Topshop. My intentions were to check what they have in the new collections. Turns out, to my excitement, that they are doing a Karlie Kloss collaboration! Without further ado, here are my top inspiration picks!

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Here we are. If only clothes from online retailers could magically appear inside of my closet, this world would be a slightly better place. By slightly I mean a lot.

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My Favourite 2015 Music Albums

It’s the time of year for bloggers to do two things – help spread Christmas cheer and reflect on the past twelve months of living. I have graced my page with a series of festive film reviews, but have sorely neglected New Year’s charms. We begin again, embracing a fresh start to the next chapter. But before I go, I wanted to share a little part of my musical world with you. In light of this, I’m sat on my desk with a necessary Yorkshire tea this noon, conjuring a list of favourite albums. The criteria for these picks is that I must have listened to them continuously throughout 2015 without feeling annoyed if they pop up on Shuffle. I tend to know if a certain artist or their work will stick with me for longer periods, so today I’ll do just that… Throw them at you like a soggy noodle, hoping they’d stick.


Let’s start this jamboree off with a chilled, electronic vibe, shall we? My first choice is Purity Ring’s “Another Eternity”, which was released back in February. Upon closer inspection of their Wikipedia page, it has become evident to me the Canadian duo is classified as “witch house”. Admittedly, I was blissfully unaware of that genre until ten minutes ago, so here we are, living and learning. In all honesty, the word combination seems fitting enough, so I’ll roll with it instead of attempting a better stylistic explanation! Megan James’s high, smooth vocals are complimented through Corin Roddick’s rhythmic, industrial mixing. If a singer/songwriter clashed with a mellow, new age club, their baby would result in this band.

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Twenty One Pilots is perhaps my favourite rapping duo of all time and space. Much like Purity Ring, there’s one vocalist – Tyler Joseph, and a trusty drummer – Josh Dun. What’s so amazing about their album “Blurryface”, which received a summer release in May, are the tracks’ lyrics. Blunt honesty and fast tempos snap at you like a harsh, winter blizzard. The piece is a mixture between hip-hop, rock and house music, which ticks all the right boxes for me as an avid sound experimenter. Easily my best rap album of 2015. Sorry, Drake! You used to call me on my cell phone… But you stopped, so…

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We’ve had a speedy, techno trip and now it’s time to tone everything down. My third pick in this list is Of Monsters & Men’s June baby – “Beneath the Skin”. It marks the perfect first step of a summer adventure, but is also versatile enough to be a winter party backdrop. They’re charmingly indie folk, with some streaks of pop influence buried here and there. Hauling all the way from Iceland is Nanna‘s rustic and throaty voice, which enchants you seemingly without effort. Ragnar is her co-singer, whose soft tones merge together in a perfect medley. This can be best heard in their single “Human”, one of my top tracks on the album.

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Chances are you’ve either heard this next one personally or endured a friend’s constant rumble about it. I’m tossing Florence + The Machine’s “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful” into the bowl. Their highly anticipated second album dropped in late May to an instantly overwhelming reception from critics. The best words to describe the album for me are sensual indie rock. Florence Welch‘s voice is famously spiritual, especially during live performances. “The Rolling Stone” magazine even went so far as to name the band one of the best live acts of all time. They manage to fulfil the perfect mixture of commercialism and uniqueness, creating timeless records in the process.

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This band has been on my all of my playlists since the dawn of 2011, when close to nobody knew their name. Nowadays, they’re a pillar in the underground community and recently-released album “Wiped Out!” proves that. The Neighbourhood choose black and white, they wear Chanel on top of extensive tattoos and define the word extravagance in the most classic sense. If Hollywood’s Golden Age got drunk on whiskey and clashed with the twenty-first century, this is what their bang would sound like. Slow instrumentals, grinding together with Jesse Rutherford’s stylishly reluctant voice, that’s what you get from “Wiped Out!”.Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 12.32.07.png


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“Badlands” – American singer Halsey’s debut album came out on my birthday, which made for a perfect party soundtrack. I’ve been stuck on it ever since. It’s dark, sensual, provocative and pop, more than enough of the right ingredients I’d want in a playlist. It struck success with the sequel of “The Hunstman”, which features the track “Castle” – one of my absolute favourites. Halsey is that grunge throwback, the quirky artist, who’s young enough to stupidly experiment, but do it successfully.

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The last pick I have of you from the 2015 season is Mumford & Sons’s “Wilder Mind”. Strings fill the air, a gentle drum bring us into a steady beat,  traces of keyboard echo and all of this is topped by Marcus Mumford’s firm and raspy voice. What more could you ask for in an alternative indie jam session? The power of their lyrics seeps through the notes, making each song matter in its own right.

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Well, here we go! That felt so nice and nostalgic, I remember the very first times I heard all of these albums. I’m more than certain they’ll remain by my side in the years to come, but 2015 will always mark a start. Hopefully you’ll like them and give some a listen. I promise it’ll be worth it.

Hope you had an amazing twelve-months. Let’s get ready for the next set!

Stay awesome!

Megs X

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Christmas Film Reviews: “It’s A Wonderful Life”

Here we are, folks, at the very end of my December countdown. It’s Christmas morning, I have my trusty coffee and a slice of Alaskan bombe. Although the streets outside are devout of snow, today feels festive enough solely in spirit. True, I wouldn’t have minded a nice pile or two to dive in, but London persistently refuses to make a habit of that. Anyway, I’ll jump straight into my film recommendation for the big night.

“It’s A Wonderful Life” is perhaps the most well-known Christmas production of all time. Undoubtedly, a classic which has withstood the tests of time and the tidal wave of quality competition thrown its way. Released back in the cold winter of 1946, this film acted as a much needed reminder of life’s beauty. Ugly pictures of war and death had been showering newspapers and television programmes for too long. Hollywood’s first step towards reflecting this recovery came in motion pictures. “A Beautiful Life” was the only movie ever completed under director Frank Capra’s independent studio – Liberty Films. His desire to break free of the Golden Age’s repressive, Capitalist exploits, gave the project five Academy Award nominations and with a reason.

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Enter George Bailey – Bedford Falls’s most altruistic and kind-hearted resident. His only dream is to see the world, explore everything life has to offer outside the boundaries of New York. Every time a door seems to open and give him a glimpse of those desires, someone runs by slam it shut. Instead of leaving for South America before college, George stays behind to run the family business after his father’s sudden death. The boy manages to save up for tuition fees once more, but ends up giving the money away so that younger brother Harry could receive an education instead. He protects and helps Bedford Falls’s people agains the overhanging tyranny of loan shark – Henry Potter, whose cruel intentions benefit no one, but his egocentric self. However, things are looking up when George marries the love of his life – Mary, a girl he’s known since childhood. They create a family and nestle down in an old house. Years go by and children start spurting, four to be exact, their affordable housing business seems to be thriving better than ever, life is looking up. In the peak of his happiness, a disaster comes to tear the joy apart. George is painfully used to being ripped off in one way or another, he rolls with the punches and tries to keep walking. However, that night is particularly daunting, leaving him in a desperate and suicidal track. George decides to jump off a near-by bridge and end the hurt for ever. Little does he know, Clarence the angel is watching over him that night. An angel who will make a single wish come true – let George see the world as it would have been if the man had never been born. A picture of decay and misery unfolds, playing out every worst scenario the town could have imagined. George learns just how important his kindness was to everyone around and releases the tunnel vision of success for the bigger picture of humanity. Upon realising life is an amazing gift, which should never be wasted on cruelty and disregard, he begins being Clarence for a chance to go back. Once more hug from his children, one more kiss from his wife, a chance to apologise and re-estimate his values, that’s George’s biggest Christmas desire. Moreover, surprises come stacking when the man returns home, and the puzzle pieces finally fit together, because life is truly an amazing treasure.

Take this as a promise from me – this film will melt your heart. The phrase “they don’t make them like they used to” is in full effect here, proving that old pictures have a quality about them that a blockbuster just cannot replace. Its script, written by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett is romantic, funny, happy, exhilarating and painfully honest about pain and struggles. The dialogue flows like a river, turbulent with snappy George’s humour and rhetoric, yet calm with its authenticity. It manages to touch big themes will small sentences. “What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey, that’s a pretty good idea. I’ll give you the moon, Mary,” George said on his first date with future wife Mary. Infinitely beautiful their lines are to listen and see, about that there is not a single doubt inside my mind.

James Stewart is a name that should be a part of your film repository. An actor, father, war hero and generally kind human being, Stewart could not have been a better fit for the role of George Bailey had he consciously tried to be. He is absolutely extraordinary, quiet, but understood, funny, yet truthful and serious. Nothing more could I have asked from his character or portrayal, because Stewart masters both to perfection. His blue eyes stare at you through the black and white picture, digging holes inside your soul only to bury a seed of subtle positivity and joy.

Henry Travers is in the role of Clarence, who we only get to see for half the movie. In that time, however, he manages to become irreplaceable as a plot point and influence, creating an unshakable staple of the timeless tale. The angel who wants to get his wings and gives a small-town man a second chance at life, is the sidekick every person needs. Another supporting role goes to Donna Reed, who encapsulated George’s intelligent, funny and supporting wife Mary. The two’s connection shakes the ground with forceful tremors, leaving its audience wishing they had a romance of such proportions. From that first date, to their embrace over the phone and calm marriage that followed, a picture of an ideal is painted. Although critics gave Capra a hard time about his characters’ unrealistic idealism, they later re-visited that opinion, which was inevitable. It’s a chemistry and a love story, which surpass superficial expectations.

The theme of suicide is explored in one of the film’s culminations, which leaves spectators on the edge of their seat. George is someone we have created a relationship with and having to see him pushed to the limits of disappointment hits us just as hard. Capra does not simply gloss past the issue, dwelling into it through Clarence and George’s conversations. That’s partially what makes the recovery so powerful. We’ve seen the lows, we’ve hit rock bottom, so having a kick start back into happiness in its purest form feels exhilarating.

If you hadn’t figure it out by now, “It’s A Wonderful Life” could very well be one of my favourite films, period. It holds quality, which we rarely get to see in mass cinema nowadays, its cast is more than perfect for the complex set of characters we explore, and the rollercoaster of emotions leaves us gasping with overwhelming joy. There is nothing more that I could wish for in a perfect Christmas film. This is everything and more.

Now, have yourselves a very merry Christmas!

Thank you for following my blog this past year and hopefully I can continue to entertain you throughout the next one!

Stay amazing!

Megs X

Christmas Film Reviews: “Dr. Seuss’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas”

Long and furry fingers grace two horrid, bony arms,

in their middle is a tummy full of smelly, trash bin charms, 

when night fall comes, he watches all that sleep,

for evil plots are conjured in this green and spoiled creep.


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Jim Carrey is in the role of Grinch, Dr. Seuss’s beloved Christmas villain. Excuse my astonishingly bad rhymes there, but I thought the best way to start off a children’s character is by couplet-ing my way in. The film was directed by industry titan Ron Howard, who holds movies such as “A Beautiful Mind” (2001) & “The Da Vinci Code” (2006) under his belt. Now that we know both cast and mastermind are skilfully chosen, let’s venture into the plot itself.

Whoville lays tucked in the snowy mountains of a snowflake. Its people are polite and helpful, living together in their small town community. Towering above them, in the depths of a hill, is the Grinch’s dusty abode. He watches them throughout his days, as Christmas approaches, and makes evil plans to steal away the joy. That is until a little Cindy Lou Who, one kind and thoughtful child, remembers the lonely creature and decides to present him with a gift of friendship. She nominates the Grinch for a prestigious award, making him socialise with past family and friends in Whoville, rather than hide. We become acquainted with a past, which triggers sympathy and sadness, but can ego-centric mayor Augustus and his girlfriend Martha May turn their attitudes around? Can they right the wrongs of a childhood long-concealed? The Grinch isn’t willing to wait for an answer even a second longer, setting a plan to sweep Whoville’s houses of their precious offerings at once. It’s Cindy Lou’s last chance to change his mind and heart. It’s the final plea to make him see a light within the darkness.

Well, here comes our show-stealer – Grinch himself, who absolutely nails the eponymous archetype with flying colours. Although Cindy Lou (Taylor Momsen) sticks close behind, it’s Jim Carrey’s slapstick movements and brilliant grump portrayal that take the prize home. Mannerisms are an important attribute to any good comedy and Carry is famous for his physical capabilities, so being able to transfer them onto the Grinch gives the Dr. Seuss creation an entirely new dimension. Don’t get me wrong, the storyline had been explored in a television series many a-year before that. However, live action gave both kids and adults a fresh look at things.

Taylor Momsen was fluid and clever – carrying the phantasmagoric Whovian costume as naturally as her own outfit. No teeth, ears or braids felt out of place, props to the six-year-old girl, who carried them like a champion. Although Taylor has changed direction with a singing career in rock music, the role will remain a part of her professional affiliations for ever. She was the sweet child who saved a hopeless Grinch and turned hatred into love.

As far as production design is concerned, it’s refreshing to see a physical set up, opposed to a green-screened computer animation. We see the convenience of manufactured graphics entirely too much nowadays, so a large part of “The Grinch”‘s charm comes from its adorable set. To kids, this wouldn’t make much of a difference, but trust me, grown-ups of the world, that fuzzy Christmas feeling will flow a lot easier after watching a throw back like this. Ron Howard’s vision of the production definitely surpassed any expectations Dr. Seuss fans could have conjured. The live action rendition of “The Cat in the Hat” (2004) proved to be another challenge, which, however, failed to please audiences and was generally received badly by both viewerships and critics.

In summary, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is an amazing, heart-warming tale of grand imagination and comedic threads. Ron Howard’s spin of the all-time book classic has now become a classic in its own right. Jim Carrey’s green creature is an image I grew up with and never want to part, Taylor Momsen’s Cindy Lou gives children an image of kindness to strive to. All of these ingredients combine perfectly in a Christmas dessert worthy of a film night home.

Stay awesome!

Megs X

 

Christmas Film Reviews: “Elf”

You didn’t think I’d get through the entire countdown and forget about Will Ferrell‘s syrupy spaghetti, did you? I mean, holy nutcrackers, what kind of blogger do you take me for? This A-lister went on the Jimmy Fallon show last week to excitedly announce his position as upgraded St. Nicholas, which surely tickles us all. From this point forward, Yule is expected to be equal parts exciting, hilarious and mildly inappropriate, so tuck in! It’s forming to be quite a ride.

“Elf” was released back in 2003, starring said comedy titan, plus the likes of James Caan, Peter Dinklage and Zooey Deschanel. At the helm of this ship stands Jon Favreau, who might ring jingly bells from the “Iron Man” franchise. However, during its relatively short life, the flick has managed to reach and surpass competitive heights in the Christmas film category.

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We start at the beginning of things. Buddy is a newborn baby, who accidentally hitches a one-way ride from the nursery to the North Pole in Santa’s slay. Facing no alternative option, Papa Elf (Bob Newhart), the head helper, raises him as one of their own with care and love, no matter how awkwardly tall Buddy keeps on growing. One day, the truth manages to escape. Buddy’s biological parent is a publishing magnate called Walter – a humbug, and a human one at that! A trip to New York City ensues, aimed to spread festive spirit through the force of family values. Buddy makes friends with younger brother Michael (Daniel Tay), kind of scores a job at Gimbles and falls head over heels for Jovie, a co-worker with a lovely voice. Although Walter is greedy, selfish and work-obsessed, perhaps Buddy will manage to get past his chilly exterior. Who said even the hardest of hearts couldn’t be melted with some Christmas joy? After all, the best way to spread cheer is sing it aloud for all to hear.

Not much of an introduction can be given to Will Ferrell. He has been in the television and film industry for over two decades, spanning between SNL glory and silver screen success. Audiences tend to recognise a comedic talent when they see one, which explains how he was spotted as early as 1997. Buddy is portrayed with such childlike naïvety and tireless positivity that no stone remains unturned on the feel trip of his family reunion. Ferrell has mastered an iconic blank expression, which is open to conveying every emotion a kid surrounded by infinite wonder would have. His performance, as usual, is tummy-turningly done, case and point being the gum chewing scene upon his NYC arrival. Pure gold.

Zooey Deschanel contributed to the visual ensemble, yet also landed a helping hand to the audio devision of this production. Her voice is the first sound that draws Buddy to a friendship. She’s the anchor, which keeps him from losing grip with optimism. The two quickly find chemistry together, even if it is not a sexual one, which throws a sprinkle of romance in “Elf”. Deschanel’s natural ability to impart sardonicism and do it with a charming smile really takes to the dark humour spectators, myself included.

I’ll keep this review a comparatively short one. After all, there’s only one more day until Christmas! You’d rather be re-pinning photographs of cakes and turkeys rather than reading analytical film articles, and you know what, I don’t blame you one bit. Christmas is a time to sit back and take a look at life’s bigger picture. Sit back and relax with a good movie!

Stay awesome!

Megs x

 

Christmas Film Reviews: “Miracle on 34th Street”

With the realisation I might just get shot for this, I’d like to say I haven’t much favour for “Miracle on 34th Street”. It’s not normally a Christmas tick on my list, but since that opinion remains unpopular, I am reviewing it today, forcing an attempt to stay objective. Despite that, I cannot promise against a healthy dose of bias, which is hopefully not too harsh towards the picture. It stars legendary actor Richard Attenborough as Kris Kringle, a.k.a. secret Santa; Mara Wilson, Elizabeth Perkins and Dylan McDermott. So far, every ingredient for a successful blizzard are present.

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Susan Walker does not believe in Santa Clause! She is a clever, well-spoken girl and the daughter of special events director Dorey Walker, who insists on teaching truthfulness over fiction. They live in a spacious flat by the city’s centre, neighbouring handsome lawyer Bryan, who is also Dorey’s boyfriend. When Kris Kringle, an old man with a fluffy, white beard comes into their lives with a promise of fantastical proportions, nobody truly believes him. However, Dorey is in need of help and simply can’t resist the opportunity to hire him. Soon enough everyone finds themselves in the midst of a dilemma. Kris Kringle lets the rivalry between him and an ex-mall Santa get a little too aggressive, Dorey is confused about her feelings for Bryan, who seems to want more than she can offer. Little Susie is left in between the merging sides of fact and legend and she doesn’t know who to believe anymore. Hopefully a Christmas miracle can swing by, magically making everything fit into place, but can 34th street make it through?

Now, here is my issue – “Miracle on 34th Street” feels more like a court film, which happens to feature Santa Clause, than it does the other way around. It’s a film about divorce, cynicism, hopelessness and… the judicial system of the United States? The plot’s supposed culmination, which is structured around Bryan’s defence for Kringle, is riddled with holes and, to my sensibilities, utter ridiculousness. If children believe the old man is truly Santa, then by God, it must be so! The dollar trick played during Judge Harper’s final sentencing tugs so hard on the obscurity of its logic, that it barely holds the resolution together. All of this is brought on, because Santa went to jail, and trust me – not in a cute, slapstick way.

Although the picture’s last five minutes tie loose ends and make everyone get an idilic, happy ever after, that does not make up for almost two hours of downfall. To my belief, it barely holds onto the brink of a spectator’s attention only by half a hair’s width.

Besides these points, I have to say the dialogue flowed smoothly and the craftsmanship of George Seaton shun through in that aspect. This rendition is a remake of 1947’s film of the same name. So, if we have to get analytical here, perhaps the storyline Seaton envisioned would have worked better for its original release time. The era was different, entertainment was meant for grown-ups rather than children. Therefore, giving it a second life in the nineties, when television and cinema had evolved to be any man’s game, should have endured larger changes.

Performances were delivered skilfully by the main cast. Mara Wilson is somewhat of a Macaulay Culkin case, having made her name a household item back in the day. Right now, she’s off into oblivion, although making theatrical appearances here and there. Dylan McDermott has become a regular on the small screen, with a very admirable lead role in the famous “American Horror Story”.

Although I’m all for changing it up every day of the countdown, I’m not sure how much this film can move its audience. Unlike the cheerfulness of “Arthur Christmas” or the desperation in “It’s A Wonderful Life”, “Miracle on 34th Street” manages to miss all the marks for me. It holds close to no impact, despite being dotted with touching moments. Something went wrong, but you could still enjoy it. Give the film a shot and commend bellow what you think on the subject!

Stay awesome! Only one more week until Christmas!

Megs x