Monthly Archives: January 2016

The Name of the Rose (2 Stars)

91eenmi2pkl-_sl1500_

There is something about this movie and I can’t quite put my finger on it. On paper it seems to tick all the right boxes, murder mystery, period drama, Sean Connery as the lead and a great supporting cast (including a very young Christian Slater. The story itself is quite interesting. Great artistic backdrop and good makeup and costume designs. Yet there is just something missing.

I didn’t find this film particularly interesting. Part of the problem may have been that it automatically started playing in France, which confused me as first because I didn’t think Christian Slater or Sean Connery would do a French film. It’s also a very good dubbed copy so it took me a little while to notice that it was dubbed. So I restarted the film.

I took to google to try and read other people’s reviews to see why I didn’t quite like it and I think Umberto Eco, the author of the book, summed it up really well in 2011. He said that his novel was ‘a club sandwich, with turkey, salami, tomato, cheese, lettuce. And the movie is obliged to choose only the lettuce or the cheese, eliminating everything else – the theological side, the political side.’ I think this sums up the entire film quite nicely. In trying to produce a film from the book there are always going to have to be elements of the book lost and trimmed down in order to make a film. In this case, I think the film has sacrificed many key components and sadly it lacks enough substance or meat to use Eco’s analogy. I also think that another disadvantage of it is it is about a Monk. Connery basically plays a Sherlock Holmes in Monk form. I think had it really been Sherlock Holmes, there is something sexier about Sherlock – take Jonny Lee Miller or Benedict Cumberbatch. I just don’t think you get the same appeal as the lead character is a Monk.


The Big Short (5 Stars)

maxresdefault

This film is portrayed as a comedy. In a way it is also a refashioning of the age old story of the underdog David rising up and beating the giant Goliath. Only there isn’t just one David and there isn’t just one Goliath.

The Big Short tells the story of how four groups of people see a housing bauble forming within the really stable housing/morgage market in America. Using slap stick humour and funny little scene drops of people to explain complicated banking the myserty of the housing market is explained and it seems all but obvious that financial meltdown is all but imminent. These bankers don’t cry out that the system is going to break, protect citizens, they bet against it. To make themselves money.

We know the outcome of the story already because people have lived and experienced it. People sold morgages they cannot pay default on their mortgage. The whole system collapses and the banks go into financial meltdown, but the banks have been proping up the housing market with fraud. Buying for ratings that do not reflect the real risk of the venture and funding cut backs and stupid laws prevent banks from being checked. Fraud goes unchecked and unpoliced.

The four groups who predicted it get their financial payout, but it’s not a happy ending. Yes they are rich, but what about everybody else. The homeowners who wanted their slice of the American dream and the workers who were not culpable for the financial crisis. They are left without jobs and without homes. There was some shocking realisations in this film.

I think the film is brilliant for its clever and witty portrayal of the financial crisis and helps to really explain it to the audience. I hate it though, because the true realisations of the film will leave you scathing with anger. I am so angry right now. I am angry about the financial crisis but even more angry that the Bastards that did it got away scot-free received government bailouts and carrying on doing what they are doing. They worker, the homeowner didn’t just get screwed over once, but bailing out the banks so they could keep on doing what they were doing was kicking a person repeatedly after you’d already knocked them out.

I am sickened.


Holocaust Memorial Day

holocaust-memorial-day-2

Today is Holocaust Memorial Day. On the 27th January, for the past 15 years the UK has held a national commemoration day for the Holocaust. The 27th January, is the date that Auschwitz Concentration Camp was liberated by the Soviet Union. However, it is just not the Holocaust that this day represents, it is also a national memorial day for other Genocides such as Armenia, Bosnia, Cambodia, Darfur and Rwanda.

Last year marked the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz Concentration camp, and perhaps people today are wondering why 70 years later we need still need a day to remember the Holocaust. Every year, there are fewer and fewer people alive today who survived the Holocaust. Very soon, the Holocaust will pass from living memory. It’s so important that when the Holocaust makes the important transition from living to past memory, that it is never forgotten.

Why is it important to remember? The Holocaust acts as a remember of the extreme evil groups of people can inflict on people for whatever reason: be it their religion, their race, their shared cultural identity. The systematic destruction and removal of a group of people simple because they are seen as different or ‘life unworthy of life’ is the most evil and dreadful thing to be witnessed by humanity.

The human race is built on uniqueness, that uniqueness is so important. It does not matter what a person’s age, gender, race, ethnicity, language, religion, social-economic status is. These are characteristics that make the human race, they are not a reason to hate a specific group of people, or to victimise and group of people, to kill a group of people.

The Holocaust represents a point in time when horrific and unspeakably evil things happened to Jews, Homosexuals, Roma, Prisoners of War, Asocials, Criminals, people who spoke out against a regime, people who were labelled as unworthy to life by those in power. Millions were sysmatically and ruthlessly killed.

After the Holocaust, there is a saying that this should never happen again, nie wieder (never again), yet since the Holocaust there have been other documented acts of Genocide; Cambodia (1975-9), Rwanda (1994), Srebrenica (1995). Genocide is not just confined to the dark periods of History. Darfur (2003-present) is ongoing. There are also those that have not yet officially been recognised as an act of Genocide. Currently, the ISIS state is targeting the Yazidi people, a minority group of around half a million people who speak Kurdish. ISIS defines the Yazidi religion as Devil Worship. Thousands of been executed, hundreds of thousands are missing. People are forced into sexual slavery, are forced to marry and convert. It is clear that the idea that never again should the destruction of a ethnic group be sysmatically removed and destroyed is being ignored again and again and again. Until there is a time that we can never again, and know that it means never again; that there will always be a need to remember, to write, to never forget, to speak out to demand action.

Martin Niemöller, a concentration camp survivor summed it up best:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

That is why Holocaust Memorial Day, today, is so important. However, it should never just be convinced to one day, next time you read a newspaper and the belittle someone because of their low socio-economic status, for being an asylum seeker trying to enter a country and survive. Remember. This is not acceptable. It is never acceptable and one should always speak out and say it is not acceptable.

 


Snow White and the Huntsman (3 1/2 Stars)

91jknuwgdcl-_sl1500_

Another Gebruder Grimm, this time a retelling of Snow White. The thing I loved about this one is that I think it is a much more realistic story. Gone is the 1930s housewife Snow White of the Disney cartoon franchise. This is much more medieval in approach and is grittier. Even the true love has a dark past and a darker more ruggish character. Honestly this film deserved more than 3 1/2 stars, but sadly I took a full star off because of the leading lady…Kristen Stewart.

The cinematography was great, the sweeping background to the film was beautiful. The costumes were stunning. I particularly loved the Evil Queen Ravenna’s (Charlize Theron) gold dress. It was exquisite. The acting was great…apart from Kristen Stewart. She cannot act, she looks mostly dull and boring and disinterested – which is interestingly the same character she plays on the red carpet as well. It spoilt the whole film. There has been rumour that there will be a prequel to this film, one without Kristen Stewart in and I very much look forward to watching that because I think it will be even better.


In the Heart of the Sea (3 Stars)

in_the_heart_of_the_sea_poster

I am being very generous with the three stars for this film, whilst I think it is a good film I have one overwhelming gripe with it.

The backing sound track was much too loud, all too often there would be music or waves and it made it incredibly difficult to hear the dialogue. I know this is a film set a sea and yes there were times there was a storm and it would have been incredibly difficult to hear, so I accept that it may have been necessary. Yet, there were times when for no logical reason the background music was jus too loud and I missed passages of dialogue. I would have given it two and half stars because of the annoyance. However, I thought it was a little unfair, had the backing music being better this film would of been a 4 star film. The music just spoilt this film for me and I felt I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would of done.


Turmeric Face Mask

I’ve been reading a couple of blog posts over the past couple of months about the benefits of Turmeric. It is said to help with acne, acne scarring, sebum regulation for oily skin, wrinkles, tired skin as well as many other things.

Lately my skin has been looking tired and has quite a few spots and acne scars on it. It’s made me feel a little more self conscious of late. So when I came across an idea of a Tumeric mask I decided it would be something I would like to have a go at. I did my own version of it so this blog is going to explain my recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp Oats
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp Milk

Method

  1. Firstly, you’ll need to grind up some Oats. I find the quickest way to do this is in a Magic Bullet blender. I love how it can get it so fine. I normally whack a couple of tablespoons into it and grind up quite a bit at a time, because I store this and use it everyday as my cleanser.
  2. Next you want to take roughly 1 part turmeric to an 8 parts Oats. Turmeric is bright yellow and is used for dying things. It will stain if you are not careful so it’s best to dilute it down with oats. I usually put this into a small jam jar and screw the lid on so I can give it a shake and make sure it’s fully incorporated.
  3. Next, add the milk. You want it to be quite a thick consistency, almost like thick yoghurt. The runnier the mixture the more likely it is to run off and stain clothing, work surfaces etc. So add the milk in a 1/4 tsp at a time to find a consistency you are happy with.
  4. Next put it on your face. Now if you have a manicure on, there are chances it will stain the manicure. So you can either wear disposable gloves or do what I do. I like to use a foundation brush to apply it to my face. Although it will stain the brush so if you are not happy about that you could always take a cotton ball, wet it so it is damp and dip it into the mixture, making sure that it is not overloaded with the mixture and swipes it on your face. Continue until you’ve used all the mixture up. Bare in mind that this isn’t the nicest smelling face mask in the world. If you wanted to you could add a drop or two of an essential oil. Tree tea or Lavender would work well.
  5. Set a timer for 20 minutes. I like to quickly clean the sink or the pot the mask was in to avoid staining and then I spend the rest of the time having a bit of a relax. During the 20 minutes the mask will start to harden and you will feel a pulling, tightening sensation. Do not leave the mask on longer than 20 minutes. The longer the mask is left on the more staining you are likely to incur on your skin.
  6. Now it’s time to wash it off. I recommend either a cleansing wipe or some toner on a cotton pad to begin with. The idea is just to get as much of the mask off as possible. Once it’s off, get a blob of your cleanser and wash your face really well. Take a muslin cloth or a flannel you don’t mind potentially staining and dip in warm water and give your face a good but gentle going over with the cloth. Have a look at your face and make sure you’ve got the mask off thoroughly. A little hint of yellow is ok and will barely be noticeable, you just have to be careful not to really stain your face. Don’t overly worry though, whenever I do this I have no staining at all.
  7. Follow up with a moisturiser of your choice.

image

I really like this mask. My skin feels smooth, softer, tighter and looks brighter. My skin looks more awake and has a healthier look to it. It is one of the best face masks I have used. Just the tumeric stains my wash clothes like crazy. I am not too bothered because they are old, I just wish I could get the benefits of tumeric without the staining. I suggest not using this mask more than once a week. The powder mixture without the milk is good to be stored in a bathroom cabinet until the best before dates of your products.

 


Match.com

Recently I was pressured by someone to get out there and start dating again. To be honest, I am happy as I am and I am not unhappy being single. I am at a busy juncture in my life and right now I just don’t have the time for a relationship. I should never have listened to the person in the first place but I guess I had a moment of weakness. I ended up joining a dating website, more specifically Match.com.

To say it was an interesting experience was an understatement, after the first weekend (2 days to be precise) I wanted to come off the site and I submitted a request to get my month subscription money back. I stayed on the website for until the next weekend because Match.com had not processed my request. Eventually they did and I was able to get my month subscription money back. If you do try a dating site read the terms and conditions, normally you have 14 days to rethink your subscription and change your mind and get a refund.

It’s not really until joining Meetup and Match.com that I experienced how Sexist some people truly are.

I wanted to share some of the messages I got whilst on the site for a week.

Person A: Can I ask you a ? Xx

Me: yeah

Person A: Can u c my pics x

Me: yes i can

Person A: Give us a kiss x

Person B: Hey Emma loving the pic looking amazing are those eyes genuine Dior or are Matalan getting loads better? So how did you end up on here Emma because you stand out on here like a Ferrero Rocher in Aldi. Not much to your profile either luckily for you Peter Andre told me all about you and I agree with what he said Wow Wowa wow Wowa wow. So Miss Emma how’s your week going? X

Person C: If you were a chicken, you’d be impeccable

Person D seemed to think all women were just obsessed by fashion and that was the only thing there tiny little minds could get their head around. A woman’s life therefore revolved around making themselves look pretty for a Friday and Saturday night, so naturally the person wanted to know what I would wear on such an occasion.

Person E asked why I didn’t have much on my profile and asked if I liked being mysterious. I jokingly agreed. His reply was to say that the thought of me being mysterious made him currently very hard and he was looking for a life partner and I would be that person.

The person that scared me the most was Person F. Person F was a journalist and he told me what he did and then asked what I did. As I was getting fed up with some of the people on the site I didn’t want to go specifically into detail with what I did, so I made a vague comment. This guy then went off on one saying I was rude. I replied back that he was incredibly rude and I didn’t want to share the details of what I did. He accused me of being childish, so I told him what I did and showed that I was very intelligent and had a clear career path in contrast to his rude assumptions about me. I then blocked him on the sight – only for him to stalk me on Social media and contact me through Facebook. This was the final straw and I couldn’t stay on the website anymore.

But there are also the wolves in Sheep’s clothing. Person G seemed really nice and sweet, gone through a divorce quite young because his wife cheated on him and he was a single parent. Only he wasn’t quite, he co-parented and had his daughter three and a half days a week. This would be reduced when she started primary school. He then moaned about all the women in his office who constantly take time off, because as a single parent he used his holiday to look after his sick child and basically the reason women didn’t make enough money or get promoted was because they were lazy slackers who constantly took time off because they couldn’t manage their children properly. And it has nothing to do with not all men taking an active role in their child’s life after the breakdown of a relationship and that sometimes women are the only caregiver in their child’s life. He seemed a nice guy until you got to know him.

It’s not the most fun experience I have ever in my life. There were many others that made comments but these were the ones that really stuck out. Another really prominent feature is that there on men on there who clearly have no interest in getting into a relationship and just want to get their leg over as many women as possible and they maybe see a dating site as a classic way to get potentially vulnerable women to sleep with them. It’s a really sad reality that dating sites aren’t always a nice place.

Will I ever use one again? No!