Tuesday, 31 January 2017

La La Land Review

For me, if I leave the cinema finding my self just wanting to write about the film and find that all my thoughts about the film are just gushing out, demanding to be documented, I think the films done a good job. Even if that films... not the best, shall we say (*cough* suicide squad *cough) if cinema is engaging the audience then that seems like a good thing to me.

As the credits rolled up for La La Land, 1. I instantly wanted to watch it again and 2. I wanted to write about it. So yeah, here that is.

Now this film has got a whole lotta hype, and does it live it up to that hype? In my opinion, yes it does. I think overall, it is this marvellous blend of purely beautiful cinematography, an amazing soundtrack (at at it again Pasek and Paul, you go) and just the right amount of mixing the return to classical cinema with the new. I really do think this film is a respectful homage to cinema within its-own right.

However I must admit, this wasn't a film that grabbed me straight away. The opening number, whilst it was a catchy song, just fell a little flat for me and didn't fully engage me. Looking back I even feel like it's not even apart of the same film. It just didn't have that intimacy, that kind of unusual blend of the fantastical and realism that grounds La La Land and really gives it its heart.

However as a musical theatre kid and buff, I have to admit I was ready to be won over. Whilst I'm a fan of musicals what I love about this film is that, it's a musical... but not really. I had that same kind of feeling I did when watching Once. It's a film about music, about jazz and about making it in Hollywood, so it doesn't feel all that far fetched as other musicals perhaps can be seen as. The music fits in naturally.

Now as for the cinematography,this film is just absolutely visually stunning.I don't think I've ever cried at how beautiful cinematography is before, but I gotta admit I think I might of done here (definitely did). I dunno whether I was particularly emotional that day or something but when Gosling walks down that pier to towards that purple tinged sunset, I was like well damn, that is just stunning. As was the moment where Emma as goes flying into the stars. This is something we don't really see in cinema any more, and for that it deserves all the credit it is deservedly getting. 

Now I know the narrative has been where La La Land has been getting it's stick. Of course, audience viewing is subjective and everyone experiences film in different ways, in their own way. I've heard that people think it's just abit 'meh', somewhat ordinary, the film perhaps lending more time in perfecting the soundtrack and visuals, and I can see where they're coming from. The narrative alone is maybe somewhat underwhelming, but altogether I think the narrative aids in giving the film this raw, truthfulness, that meets its pinnacle moment, and standout moment for me, when Sebastian and Mia share that simple glance that is breathtakingly heartbreaking and feels so real.

The films not perfect, but neither is life. That's kind of the beauty of it for me. It stumbles a bit, jumping from this to that, but the heart remains; you can see and feel the passion that has gone into it. And that last moment, it's all redeemed in the very simple but pure gesture of that heartbreaking look. Just brilliant. Again, it grounds La La Lad in this notion of wonderful realism, which was something I didn't anticipate the film would have but is what makes it stand out.

Thank-you La La Land for making me excited about new film again. I predict in years to come, this will be one of the greats. 

I'm exited to see what Damien Chazelle gifts us with next, because if Whiplash and La La Land are anything to go on, I'm all in.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Film Review

As an enormous Potter fan, I have to admit I was very sceptical about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I've been pent up with anticipation around the new film (and now five part series), but initially it wasn't necessarily excitement I was feeling during the build up to the release of the film. Despite the fact I was delighted that Eddie Redmayne was cast and felt comfortable that his performance would be great (which it was), the world that I saw in the trailers, whilst intrigued me, didn't fully convince me and fully sell the new series to me. 

Of course, like any Potter fan I was so happy that this world was returning to the big screen, but yet I did fear and question whether (as much as I didn't want it too), the Wizarding World had reached its narrative and cinematic peak and that perhaps Fantastic Beasts was just stringing on a generation of Rowling devotes to be inevitably let down in the fact that, at the end of the day, we aren't returning to the story and characters we love. There'a always a risk of a franchise losing its heart in the pursuit of continuing to make money.

However, in my absolute honest opinion, as a fan of the wizarding world and as a fan of film, I can support (and am so so happy to support) that it does nothing of the sort. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, gives audiences beautiful nostalgia and satisfaction of seeing what they have grown to love so much back on the screen whilst also offering something brand new to love. For me, it managed the blend the old and new beautifully and with so much respect to the stories we all care so much about. I have to admit that from the opening credits, the Warner Bros logo that excites any fan and screams Potter, the transition from Harry's theme to the new (and stunning may I add) theme, which is presumably Newts, gave me confidence that it was gonna be good. I think it was just the most beautiful way to sum up from the get go that yes, we're in the same world and that in some ways this is a story you know, but also to symbolize that this is something new and fresh, something that can stand on its own two feet, something that is equally as wonderful.

I'm not gonna go too much into the narrative because I don't want to spoil anything, but what I also found refreshing is that I was going in almost blind, when unlike in Potter films (which admittedly did have its own satisfaction) you knew exactly what was going to happen and when (for the most part). I really enjoyed not knowing what to expect with Fantastic Beasts

I've got to say probably my favourite element of the film was actually that it was just visually stunning, I think the team have really upped their game with the special effects whilst still including elements we recognise, making it ever the more magical. Props to the SFX team for the magic, particularly the Obscurus which was fascinating to watch and of course for the beasts themselves. I wasn't too sure about them at first but Newt's pet Bowtruckle won me over. How can a magical stick insect thingy-ma-bob be so cute? I don't know but it can.

Overall, I thought the script was great (is there anything J.K Rowling can't do). It was well paced and had just enough balance between all the elements of the narrative for it to work. I haven't got too attached to the characters just yet but I think I will. We have to remember these guys didn't get 7 books for us to pore over their every detail and get to know them inside out, but with four movies to go I can't wait to learn more about them and see how they grow. Sure, the new term for muggle 'No-Maj' is going to take some getting some used to, but hey, change is good. 

As for the cast, I think they bounce off each other well. Eddie fits Newt perfectly and I enjoyed Dan Fogler as the loveable 'No-Maj', all round good guy, Jacob. The stand out for me though I think has to be Ezra Miller as Credence. He fits into the world so well and did a brilliant job dealing with the darker issues of the narrative. (*Spoiler*) I'm still unsure about the casting of Johnny Depp as Grindelwald, he's just not who I pictured for the part and I think being apart of so many other franchises and so many well known films, almost ruins the magic in a way. It's hard to see past him as his other extravagant characters. I think they could have even took a risk with an unknown actor, considering the Wizarding World does a pretty good job of selling its-self.  But this is going off very limited screen time so I'm very willing to be proven wrong.

I'm forever baffled by this whole world Rowling has created and am pleased to have lived in a time where we have all grown to experience it as if it were our own story. With references to the Potter story we've grown to know within Fantastic Beasts, I'm excited to see how all the pieces fit together. 

Despite this, the film is still is wholly different from Harry Potter, yet what remains is the fact that at the heart of this whole universe is fantastic storytelling. May it continue on for the foreseeable future and bring light to our lives, for what is life without a little magic? 

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Sleek Solstice Highlighting Palette Review

Hi guys,
I recently purchased this highlighting palette from Sleek in 'Solstice' and after trying it for a while, can confirm that I love it. I just had to share it with you guys in case you were in the market for a lovely new highlighter... or four.

Not going to lie, this purchase was almost fully enabled by Sam from Pixiwoo who used it in one of her recent tutorials, as it looked amazing on her. I was in the market for a highlighter anyway, and when I saw this palette I was sold. I couldn't tell whether it was because of the fact that there were four products in the palette that looked beautiful, or because the palette was just so nice to look at on the outside too that made me want to buy it, but I was sold non-the-less and had high expectations from how I'd seen it looked on Sam.

So after purchasing it and delving in I was not disappointed. Yes the packaging is beautiful and definitely a bonus to the product, the gold mirrored packaging reflecting light almost as well as the products themselves...and being a magnet for fingerprints...but easily cleaned so its all good.. I stand by and support that all of these four products are just really lovely highlighters. 

As a make-up buff, I felt like highlight was my weak point. I have had a few other ones over the past couple of years, both powders and creams, and have tried to make them work so that they had the effect I always see on other people and in photos but somehow it just wasn't working for me. For me, this has revolutionised that and I can finally see what all the fuss is about.

The four shades from left to right are:

 Ecliptic: champagne cream highlight
Subsolar: yellow-y powder highlight
Hemisphere: lilac/pink baked powder highlight
Equinox: golden baked powder highlight

These shades are so pigmented too. As you can see in the image above, they really do their job and a little goes a long way.

Anddd even better, I've also found these products to be multi-purpose. I particularly have been loving the cream shade Ecliptic as an eye-shadow base and for using under the brow, and it blends like a dream. I'd say I have been reaching for the two baked shades of hemisphere and equinox for the top of my cheekbones the most although I stand by that every product in the palette gives a lovely highlight.

This palette comes in at £9.99 and for me it's totally worth it. If you're in the market for a new highlighter, I couldn't recommend it more. It does come with a brush and I have attempted to use it, but the bristles are far to hard and the brush deposits the highlight in more of a stripe than an even blend, so I wouldn't recommend it. But as for the products, they even feel high- end quality to me.

Have you tried this product?

Thanks for reading,
Kelly T x