Film Review: Rush

RUSH 2013
Rush stars Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and is a very dynamic film. It’s based on a real event , which I always like. There are several films with this title, but this is Rush (2013).

Director Ron Howard does an impressive job. I liked the vision. Following the clash between two Formula 1 racers. During the German Grand Prix in 1976 Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) has an horrific crash. He should’ve died but survives. He vows to return to win the Japan Grand Prix later that year. His rival James Hunt (Hemsworth) stands in the way!

The film really takes you into the world of Formula 1. Team tactics, pit stops and even the vintage racing cars are used! Relationships are explored, you get the thrill of the crowds. It was all used to stunning effect.

The two main characters relationship is gripping. It was like a Klingon and Romulan battling for who would win! Hunt was the warrior whilst Lauda plotted away. I think most people are going to like Hunt, he’s far more flamboyant and charismatic. But you should take a closer look at Luada. He shows that tactics are a big part of the game and it isn’t all about whose the fastest on the track.

It provides the platform for a riveting ride. The fighting, tension and adrenaline all come together for this fitting drama. I really liked it. An epic biography tale of two men who shared a rivalry but were also linked by a common goal was very moving. The starting of their friendship, right through to the horrific crash and the aftermath.

Yes, there are some faults but I found myself ignoring them – as they did not detract from the film. The old English accent going slightly awry! I felt in some parts the story was a little dragged out and then a little over dramatic in places.

But I’m giving this film 8/10. It’s past the finishing line and I’m waving the chequered flag! Rush (2013) – you’re in!

Image reproduced from wikipedia.com
Trailer reproduced from YouTube / Rush

I Want a Baby – Is It the Right Time?

London Life Coach & Relationship Expert Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about when to have a baby. Follow Sloan on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s website www.sloansw.com

Clearly from your question, you realise now isn’t the time for you to have a child. But it also sounds like you are not too far from your desired goal so well done for being so self-aware. They say that it is in a child’s best interest to be born into a safe, stable & nurturing relationship but you do not have to look too far to see that some celebs now show that single parenting is far more acceptable than 30 years ago.

I say this because I wish to stress it is not that you are single that makes me answer in the way that I am but, from what you have said so far, your desire to get pregnant may be tied to a need to recreate the mother-child bond you say you have missed. Perhaps the first step for you is to look into your current friendships and relationships and nuture these rather than looking for unconditional love in the wrong places.

My advice is to read some self-esteem/confidence books and realise that you are perfect just the way you are. Then gradually work on trusting just one or two of your closer friends with the little things until you realise that you are a capable individual that has a lot to offer in the world and likewise some of your friends are too.

When this all clicks, I am sure you will attract a partner that makes you happy and you will no doubt be a wonderful mother. Your past does not have to be your future. You would not drive your car looking only in the rear view mirror so there is no need to run your life like that.  Take the leap of faith and watch your desires come true. Anything is possible – you just have to believe.

Film Review: The Conjuring

conjuring

I don’t know about my friends “across the pond” as we say, but Americans love a good ole fashioned down home Haunting. The Conjuring surely delivers. Based on a true story, this horrifying tale follows paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) who were called upon to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in a secluded farmhouse. Forced to confront a powerful demonic entity, the Warrens find themselves caught in the most terrifying case of their lives. The tension slowly builds right after the family moves in. They begin to sense an evil presence when the children get creepy visits in the early morning hours by something or someone pulling the children out of bed. There are mysterious bruises covering the Mothers body, photographs falling off the wall all at the same time and doors slamming on their own. The family is in utter crisis when they seek the help of the Warrens to end this nightmare they find themselves in only to find that they have been confronted by a non relenting malicious spirit that has literally attached itself to the members of the family. The conjuring harkens back to the days of the classic horror film that thrills and chills instead of slice and dice. Part Amityville Horror part Exorcist. Go see The Conjuring.

Image reproduced from MSN Entertainment
Trailer reproduced from YouTube / WarnerBrosPictures

Wine of The Month – September 2013

September means back-to-school time – not quite the end of the summer weather, but neither yet fully autumnal. It is the start of a gentle slide into gradually cooler weather, shorter days and general decline.

But with an Indian Summer still a distinct possibility, we need a range of wines for all potential outcomes.

Legaris Verdejo Rueda 2012 (£7.99, Noel Young Wines)

Spain may be generally better known for oaky reds, but this is a good, fresh, crisp white from Rueda, to the north west of Madrid.

The secret to the steely crispness (and relatively low alcohol level of 12%) is the combined effects of altitude (between 600m – 800m) the influence of the river Duero and night-harvesting of the grapes to maintain freshness.

Verdejo originated in north Africa but was brought to this part of Spain hundreds of years ago and is now associated with the area – it is aromatic, like a Sauvignon Blanc, but a bit more textured.

With a steely acidity, green apple fruit, aromatic notes and persistence, it’s a good alternative to Sauvignon if you are looking for something similar-but-different.

Crisp enough for aperitif, food matches are as per Sauvignon - goat’s cheese salad, grilled vegetables or seafood.

La Boussole Pinot Noir 2011 (£9.25, Joseph Barnes Wines)

One would be forgiven for expecting a Pinot Noir with a French name to be from Burgundy; however this is actally from Montelimar in Ardeche – an area of the south of France better known for its nougat than its Pinots Noirs.

As with the Verdejo, the wine benefits from an unusually moderate microclimate that favours the grape’s preference for cooler climates.

Pinot is a good autumnal wine for various reasons – it’s one of the lighter reds, and matches well with game which is just coming into season.

This wine is light and approachable with cherry fruit – a good easy-drinker, it will match with food such as duck or leg of lamb, or can be sipped, slightly chilled, in the garden on a hotter day.

Tenuta Vitanza Volare 2009 Toscano Rosso (£8.99, Bacchanalia)

A Sangiovese more akin to Brunello’s style of soft tannins and ripe fruit than the challenging Chianti style, this shows lots of ripe fruit on first opening.

With aeration, it becomes more distinctly Italian – with dark cherry fruit, a rasp of acidity, some spice and a firmness on the finish.

Match with rich beef dishes, such as bolognese or meatballs.

Domaine Gayda Syrah 2011 (£8.99, Cambridge Wine Merchants)

A Syrah from Languedoc, this is geographically European, the Old World, but from a sunny cornerand comes with a touch of New World swagger to it.

It’s big and ripe, with lots of sweet dark fruit, but also some complex spiciness, acidity and savouriness – a classy crowd-pleaser; good concentration and poise.

Match with roasted red meat or hearty stews with a bit of spice and some root vegetables.

Links

Bacchanalia – website

Cambridge Wine Merchants – website

Joseph Barnes Wines – website

Noel Young Wines – website

Main image credit: website

Franka De Mille Q&A

Franka De Mille is a London singer, songwriter and composer. Her debut album ‘Bridge The Roads’  has already received critical acclaim and extensive airplay all over the world. Emotionally raw, original with sophisticated arrangements, Franka De Mille’s music has an elegant blend of Americana, chamber music and alternative folk. Franka’s focus on strong melodies underline the powerful emotional charge of her unique voice and deeply personal lyrics. She is the only independent artist to be selected for the British Phonographic Industry’s ‘Why Music Matters’ campaign.

Franka de Mille

Franka De Mille

Franka De Mille answered our questions ahead of her forthcoming Acoustic Routes performance in Cambridge at CB2.

Q: How would you describe your music?

A blend of Americana and Chamber music.

Q: What is your earliest memory related to music?

Being given a toy Telecaster Guitar for my 4th birthday. There is a picture on my website of me holding it, looking very proud, stood in front of the Xmas tree.

Q: What or who inspired you to become a singer?

I have always sung. Singing and making up songs has always came naturally to me. My parents were very busy and the need to be heard as a child was a major driving force. Music has played a vital role in my life as a protective force, a place of inspiration and solace.

Q: What are your musical influences?

I have a wide range of influences from world music to rock, pop, folk and classical music.
I listen to everything. Artists that have had the strongest influences are Janis Joplin, Patti Smith, Rickie Lee Jones, Kate Bush, PJ Harvey, Joe Jackson, Nick Cave, The Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, Rene Aubry, Tori Amos, Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, The Smith, The Cure, Dusty Springfield, The Police, Supertramp, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, Bruce Springsteen, Hildegaard Von Bingen, Satie, Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart, Philip Glass to name quite a few from a much longer list.

Q: Describe the process you took when writing your debut album “Bridge The Roads”.

The songs came pretty much fully formed which was magical. I then went into the studio and made demos with all the different arrangements on midi with a keyboard and sampler and got the musicians to record the parts I laid out.

Bridge The Roads CDQ: Who would you most like to do a duet with and why?

My God!…there are so many artists! It is so difficult to choose one…I would say Sting, Kate Bush, Antony Hegarty, Dave Gilmour, Rickie Lee Jones, Tori Amos, Stevie Nicks…any one of them would be a dream come true. Why? because they are all such incredible songwriters and sensitive, truthful artists.

Q: Name your top three favourite songs?

Another hard choice…there are so many songs I adore: Tom Petty – Won’t back down; Rickie Lee Jones – Coolsville; Patti Smith – Dancing Barefoot.

Q: What did it mean to you being selected as the only independent artist for the “Why Music Matters” campaign by the British Phonographic Industry?

I felt privileged to be up there with so many fabulous artists. I feel very strongly about music piracy so it was important for me be part of the campaign. I feel a sense of duty to spread the message that the best way to support artists is by buying their music and not downloading it for free. It does damage to the music industry as a whole but I feel that independent artists suffer the most. It is very important that independent musicians are represented in this campaign.

Q: What is your biggest fear?

In general? To go blind or deaf or impeded physically in any way. On stage: To lose my voice

Q: What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Releasing my album, getting many beautiful reviews and lots of airplay all over the world.

Q: What is your most treasured possession?

Apart from my cats and the ring my dad gave me before he died…my sanity.

Q: What can the audience expect from your forthcoming gig at CB2/Acoustic Routes in Cambridge later this month?

An intimate emotional ride, embroidered in an intricate fabric of musical textures, with violin, cello, harmonica…I might even bring a piano.

Franka De Mille and Band will be performing on 28 September 2013 at CB2 – Acoustic Routes, 5 Norfolk St, Cambridge, CB1 2LD. Ticket price:£6.00. For more information go to www.acousticroutes.co.uk/program.html. For more on Franka, check out her website – www.frankademille.com

Pr-eye-mer: Eye Primers

This week’s edition is brought to you by those bare canvases around the eyes, known as the eye-lid, with a wonderful range of different types of make-up to make this area dazzle like disco balls or colours giving luminous neon lights competition, eye primer is a product to keep these products on longer, making brighter and giving dimension.

Like primers for the face eye primers come in different consistencies, there’s liquid, gel and mousse varieties and it is used as a base – applied before eye-shadow/liner and optional to apply concealer first before the base or just go ahead with the primer application.

Liquid primers I find are best to suit all types of skin and ages but it is ideal for dry eye-lids, mature skin and sensitive thin skin, the texture of this is usually creamy and thicker than what the liquid name would make you assume, it’s creamy texture makes it very easy to apply and to make sure to rub it in and keep eyes closed for a few seconds for it to settle into the skin (sometimes it can crease – simply rub and blend any crease lines out) any eye primer that’s the equivalent to fluid and very watery I would say is a no-go, chances are the product’s off or it’s just not going to be ‘strong’ enough as a base. The same attributes can be applied to cream primers, the only thing is that they are thicker so it depends on how smooth and creamy it is to how it will suit you, cream to powder ones I find go cakey quickly so try to find ones with a blend-able and creamy texture.

Thicker primers like mousse ones I find are a little harder to apply, you need to blend more and prolonged rubbing of the eye-lids just isn’t great, they also are more likely to make the eye-shadow/concealer or foundation to cake as it doesn’t settle as well into the skin and creates more of a layered effect. Thick cream primers like Urban Decay Primer Potion (before they changed the formulae & packaging) was great at doing its job of a base and improving the look of eye-shadows etc, but it was very hard to blend on the eye-lids, it would dry very quick on the lid and it went chalky in areas that weren’t blended as well or little parts that were unnoticeable until it dried (also the product itself would dry-out fast) hence eye-shadow being stronger in different places and if you’re precise with make-up it will annoy you, also the chalky appearance makes it a little harder for darker skin tones to use.

Primers can also just be worn alone and just used to conceal veins or improve the colour of skin around the eyes, but they can come in colours like white and black to enhance colours, white would be used more for making bright colours stand out more and black to be used for smoky looks and really making blacks, greys and any dark colour very dark and deep, a lot of mineral make-up companies do make the coloured primers and my first black primer was from ‘The She Space’ many moons ago, the only issue I have with coloured primers is that it can get heavy and is quite likely to crease after a long period of time, e.g. going out dancing will probably make it crease more as being more active makes you sweat more and this will obviously affect the make-up.

There’s a massive range of primers out there and I am sure there’s a few I’ve not come across yet, go out, have fun and experiment all you want with them to find what’s right for you. As for myself I use eye primers, I don’t use it daily as I don’t wear make-up every day the times I really make sure to use it is if I am going out and long social occasions, I’ve done my experiments with primers and I am sure I have the one for me right now and that’s a creamy liquid one and it does the job of making the shadow last longer and being more vivid and bold, even if I’m using nude tones. Whether or not you think this type of make-up product is useful or not it is worth an experiment with once and remember the skin around the eye is a very delicate place, it is its thinnest around the eyes and try to keep application of eye-primers using the ring finger – ideally, as this applies the least pressure.

Product Image reproduced from beautynomics.com, buy-her.com, community.sephora.com and mahyacosmetics.blogspot.co.uk. All other images courtesy of the author.

Film Review: Pain and Gain

Pain and Gain
Pain and Gain stars Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. This was an entertaining film in some parts! An interesting plot. A lot of action and twists and turns keep things moving.

Daniel Lugo (Wahlberg) is not long out of jail when he begins hatching plans to enjoy the rich life. He works at a gym and one client draws his attention – Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub).

There’s a bungled attempt to kidnap him along with two ‘pals’. Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and Paul Doyle (Johnson). Adrian’s a body builder who needs money and Doyle is a drug addict, trying – and failing – to kick his habit.

The chemistry between the three (Wahlberg, Johnson and Mackie) is one of the strong points of this film. The inept way they have of messing up their plans, forcing them to take more extreme action to fix things, keeps the pace fast.

I wouldn’t want to work with them that’s for sure. It’s a pity there wasn’t more comic moments, a bit like a Carry On film, as this would have been fantastic. It would’ve made movie gold. It’s just such a shame that things became so graphic and complex.

The drug story brought it down and Lugo’s schemes were getting grander and grander. Kershaw survives being kidnapped and a car crash and has to go into hiding as the police refuse to believe his kidnappers could be so incompetent. So he’s forced to hire a private eye. His fortune is gone with the trio spending his money on various treats.

Ed Du Bois (Ed Harris) is the private eye tracking the gang and when their money runs out, they decide on another kidnapping (Uh-oh!). Cue more mayhem and action, along with police chases galore!

The main problem with this film is the style, it didn’t work as a gangster film. The main trio had such brilliant chemistry, this should have been a gentler comedy as I‘ve said above. Leaving someone to burn to death in a car was unnecessary and some of the violence was likewise not needed. Burning hands on a BBQ was awful and weird!

Also why wouldn’t Lugo raid Kershaw’s offshore accounts before? Why leave them until later? Also convincing Kershaw’s family to leave town so he could have the house was unbelievable.

Due to the darker tones and some choice of storylines I’m marking this 6/10. I was really hoping to give Mark Wahlberg higher, you can’t deny he’s a versatile actor but some his choices are certainly questionable.

Dwayne Johnson seems to be taking anything that comes along but he’s always amiable on screen.

Image reproduced from wikipedia.com
Trailer reproduced from hollywoodstreams

MotoGP 2013 at Silverstone

motogp2013Booked our tickets ages ago through a friend, we prefer wheels to footballs, unlike the majority of the UK population. Although this year it seemed that the crowd had grew to a record amount of over 72,000, what a difference it makes when a Brit is doing well, or should I say two Brits, Scott Redding in Moto2 and Cal Crutchlow in MotoGP

Cal Crutchlow had the world on his shoulders; most of the crowd were there to support him, although Rossi supporters back up favourably.

The first race Moto2 was a brilliant race, keeping you on the edge of your seat, very close racing throughout and Scott won to the delight of the cheering crowds.

Cal Crutchlow

Cal Crutchlow

Then the MotoGP race Cal had had a bad start to Saturday with two crashes early in the day, then another incident at the Sunday morning warm-up, but bruised and battered he continued and managed a 7th place. We Brits also managed a 9th with Bradley Smith.

The excitement came near the end of the race when it came to the leader tag game between Marquez and Lorenzo, when one led then the other, Lorenzo won out and Marquez got second. The same happened for 4th and 5th place Bautista and Rossi, Rossi winning that one, behind Pedrosa.

Moto3 had no Brits near the front and was dominated by the Spanish taking the first four places, Marquez’s younger brother taking 3rd.

It is great to see so many people at a motorcycling event; next race at Silverstone is the British Superbikes in October, before then Donington this coming weekend.

First Conversations – Does He Like Me?

London Life Coach & Relationship Expert Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about dating, body language and finding Mr Right. Follow Sloan on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s website www.sloansw.com

I am often asked by my clients – “When meeting my potential partner for the first time, how do I know if he likes me or is the one?”.

The cliché answer given by most happily married couples is that you just know, but amongst the butterflies and the panic of what to say next, we can often miss the most obvious of signals. Below is a checklist of what to look out for to know whether it is worth moving on to a second date.

Face/Head:

We have no doubt all been trapped in those conversations where the other person is waxing lyrical about what they think is a seemingly fascinating topic but it feels like watching paint dry to us. The key to checking if you are that person with the object of your affection (OyA) is as simple as watching whether his/her face drops or lights up as you are talking. The trick to keeping them interested is to continue on with the topics that make them more facially engaged in your conversation. You can then ask them questions, opening up their involvement. Make sure you steer away from any conversations that make them disengage or worse still turn their head when the slightest noise happens in attempt to the survey the room for their escape. Such an obvious signal is a clear indication to change the subject immediately.

Body:

It is easy to spot a potential new couple that is hitting it off as their body language becomes close or mirrored. However, when in the conversation with the OyA we often miss smaller cues. If his/her body is turning away or worse still they physically take a step back, this is a sign that you have lost their interest. This could be momentary – do not fret, there is one last attempt to save such a situation. Divert all the attention back on him/her, firstly use their name and then ask a direct, personal and open ended question. If the OyA sinks back into conversation you have just saved yourself from a train wreck. Be careful to avoid whatever topic initiated that reaction and go for the close before they get distracted again. Swap phone numbers etc… leave them wanting more evoking the scarcity effect.

Hands:

Many of us know open hands is a good sign, potentially indicating honesty, but the more important cue for you is to watch out for hand signals that mean the OyA is thinking. Such signs include playing with the wine glass, reaching for something from a table or mantelpiece, playing with a lighter or match etc… these signs show contemplation and thought. This is your cue that you have hit on a topic that interests your target and is a sign to slow down, ask questions and allow room for thought and engagement.

Eyes:

For those of you who have already mastered the more obvious signs above, the tell tale sign to see if the OyA is interested in you or at least your topic of conversation is the size of their pupils. If and when they enlarge you are on to a winner, however if they shrink or worse still glance away quickly change topic and although all is not lost, do not put all your eggs in this basket!

Good luck with your next conversations with someone you like!

Film Review: Percy Jackson – Sea of Monsters

Percy Jackson - Sea of Monsters
Percy Jackson – Sea of Monsters, is the next instalment of a young hero in the making. I was thrilled to be able to review this, having waited ages for it to come around.

Logan Lerman reprises his role as Percy. He has new competition in the form of Clarisse (Leven Rambin). Camp Half Blood holds regular challenges for the demigods. A bit like Wipe-out and Gladiators! Percy could have won this latest one but saves another student which allows Clarisse to win. She wastes no time in ribbing Percy.

There’s also a new family member for Percy to deal with, the arrival of another son of Poseidon. A half brother whose a Cyclops called Tyson.

The main story is the shield that protects the camp from foes. A brilliant back-story shows that years ago four demigod kids were travelling to the camp (which Luke and Annabeth from the first film were present). Now one of them Talia, daughter of Zeus, gave her life to save the other three. Zeus saved her by turning her into a tree providing a shield allowing her to save all demigods in the camp. No one has ever got past the shield since.

But Luke returns to threaten everyone there, finding a way through the shield by poisoning Talia’s tree. A metallic bull breaks through the barrier. Luckily Percy is on hand and saves them with a spectacular massive bang!

Anthony Head replaces Pierce Bronsan as centaur Chiron. He tells Percy to visit his attic. A mystic fortune teller lives there and shows Percy the prophecy that two cousins will fight over the golden fleece, found in the sea of monsters. The original titan Kronos will rise and only one demigod (a child of one of the three major gods; Zeus, Poseidon or Hades) is destined to either destroy him or they’ll destroy Olympus itself!

A humorous storyline featured with Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) telling a teacher about the golden fleece, which is empowered to save anything it touches. The teacher dismissing it and then in a public meeting announcing he’s come up with a plan to save Talia’s tree. Yes, use the fleece! But Percy is not chosen to head the task, Clarissa is nominated along with another satyr. As satyrs are attracted to the fleece.

However you know Percy, he feels the prophecy is about him, as he’s the half son of Poseidon. He’s a cousin to Luke so he feels their destiny will involve the fleece. As his half brother Tyson is part Cyclops, it can’t be him. It must be a half god, half human.

Tyson invites himself along but the racket he makes, means they are spotted! But after more inventive story telling, Percy and co are off again. Cue more humour, great effects and a really clever storyline.

ATMs for half bloods! Witches using taxis, Hermes, the messenger of the gods fronting a UPS delivery store. All cleverly done. Linking magic and myth to everyday things. Splendid.

It was Logan Lerman though that’s the main gem. He’s perfect as Percy. The balance of humour and a guy that’s trying to do right.

Grover the satyr (played by Brandon T Jackson) is just as funny as the first film and he’s got great comic timing! He provides a lot of light entertainment which prevents the film getting too heavy.

Along with great characters, the script is clean and simple which adds to the success. It’s not so bogged down even the writers don’t know what’s going on like with Lost. Yes, it’s based on the book, but as expected there are changes.

There isn’t one person who is out of place. It’s fun, dynamic and this fully deserves a 10/10. A great family film that you can enjoy time and again.

Image reproduced from wikipedia.com
Trailer reproduced from CieonMovies