It's just a tiny bit marvellous

Category: Reviews

Warner Bros. Studio Tour- or HARRY POTTER STUFF EVERYWHERE, GUYS! LOOK!

Living in London has its perks. Being able to visit the Harry Potter Studio Tour on a whim is one of them.

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So, yeah. That’s me at Privet Drive. No big deal. Just chilling with my HP friends.

HP2

And look. It’s me on the awesome bridge that was in the films but I can’t really remember it from the books but who cares because it looks old and I THINK NEVILLE WAS IN A SCENE ON THIS BRIDGE!

(In case you didn’t know, Neville is super well fit now. And I am a fickle woman who will take my heart away from Rupert Grint at the first sign of some fit, northern, Neville charm.)

I don’t want to give everything away about my visit, because then if you go, all the surprises will be ruined and that just will not do. What I can say is that it was truly magical (if you’ll pardon the pun…)

You get to see all the amazing sets from the films, costumes, artworks and models. And some of the props still move, like potions stirring themselves and stuff. Awesomeness.

HP3

HP4

HP5

My favourite parts were the Great Hall, the Burrow and a really small section detailing all the written props that were created for the films. It’s incredible how much detail went into everything- and I think that’s what impressed me the most about the whole tour. These films were not made on half measures- everything had to be perfect.

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Diagon Alley was good, but that teeny, tiny part of me was annoyed that the shops weren’t real…(I’m a hard girl to please.)

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Honestly, before I visited the HP Studio Tour I wasn’t a massive fan of the films. Seeing how much time, effort and dedication went into making them definitely gave me a new perspective.

 

 

The shop was shit though. £8 for a chocolate frog?! MERLINS PANTS YOU MUST BE DRUNK ON FIREWHISKEY IF YOU THINK I’M PAYING THOSE KIND OF PRICES.

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‘Les Mis Is Les Waste Of Time’: An Argument

lesmis

Pitchforks at the ready.

Whenever I tell people I didn’t like Les Mis they look at me like I’m a complete sociopath.

‘What do you mean, you didn’t like Les Mis?! Les Mis is 3 hours of AMAZINGNESS SHOVED IN YOUR FACE THROUGH YOUR EYES.’

Okay, Les Mis fan. That’s my first point. It is 3 hours long. Lord of the Rings was bad enough, but at least that kept me entertained with some orc killings and big elephants.

‘But it has SINGING! THEY ALL SOUND TREMENDOUS! DID YOU KNOW HUGH JACKMAN COULD SING?! DID YOU?!’

Yes I did. And I agree that the singing was lovely. Hathaway knocked it out of the park. Jackman shed his Wolverine claws in one gigantic high note.

But when Russell Crowe sang about killing himself for 10 miserable minutes, I just wished he’d get on with it. JUMP RUSSELL! JUMP!

‘You like history, Katy! It’s about France and the revolution and stuff! HISTORY WOO!’

Is it though? Is it actually? Or is it more about the incompetencies of one police man who kept a man in jail for 20 years for stealing some bread?

….

‘Eddie Redmayne is fit though, yeah?’

Eddie Redmayne’s character is an idiot. I think we can all agree on that. This lovely girl is his BFF, secretly loves him (but is actually quite brazen about it, mooning at him ALL THE TIME) and he goes off with the first blonde he sees with a bonnet.

He also fights with his mates for ‘freedom’ from oppression. All the while, his grandfather is shaking his fancy rich head and saying ‘It’s only a phase. He’ll be back when his mates are all dead and he’s run out of rent money for his Parisian hovel.’ And guess what? That’s exactly what he does!  He sings a song about an empty table, and then he goes back to his big fancy house and drinks champagne and marries Amanda Seyfried. The injustice.

‘It’s based on CLASSIC LITERATURE THOUGH. CLASSIC. LITERATURE.’

Being an English graduate, I can tell you that not all the classics are good. Some are shockingly bad. Just because you can buy Les Miserables in the classics section in Waterstones doesn’t mean it is a cracking read. It just means it’s well old. I mean, in 100 years, will Fifty Shades be considered a classic?

‘Did you like any of it then?!’

Well….I quite liked the little boy. You know, the one with cockney accent? (Another reason to be annoyed, as they were in France….) Anyway, he ended up dying. Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman were awesome though.

So, to summarise….watch the first 25 minutes with Hathaway in it because she is amazing. Then have a nap, because the rest of it is rubbish.

Review: ITV and Julian Fellowes Take On The Titanic

I held off writing a review of ITV’s latest drama series Titanic, written by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, for many reason. Firstly, after the first episode of the 4-part drama, I can’t say I was too enamoured with it, and I didn’t want to write it off as a dud before I had seen it in it’s entirety. Secondly, with James Cameron’s 3D extravaganza re-released only a week ago, I didn’t want to review it with comparisons in mind. Thirdly (and lastly)  it didn’t seem fitting to write a review on a series which hoped to show the sinking of the Titanic from many different perspectives before all the stories had been told. Now it’s finished, I can dive straight in with my critique (gargh; hopefully there will be no more unintentional puns, but only spotted this one after rereading!)

I have to start with the positives, and there are many. Fellowes has been criticised for seemingly simplifying the maritime disaster as Downton on a boat- or Drownton Abbey as I like to call it. But there are many positives to this assumption. The set, the costumes and the attention to detail all hail back to the work Fellowes has put in with Downton. There can be no dispute that a lot of love has gone into this series, and Fellowes should be praised for this, as should all the cast and crew.

Gold, silver and bronze awards for acting should go to Jenna-Louise Coleman, Toby Jones and Maria Doyle Kennedy, who were really amazing. I even forgot that Maria Doyle Kennedy had been Mrs. Bates in a past life- and for a Downton lover, that’s no easy task.

For all the good, there is, however, the bad. There were plenty of lacklustre performances- to be diplomatic, I won’t specify who disappointed the most mainly because I don’t feel the script gave the extremely talented actors and actresses involved much scope to stretch their acting legs.

Unfortunately, this is the main flaw with this Titanic miniseries, and is most likely why the ratings dropped so rapidly from the first week. Instead of a chronological narrative, Fellowes chose instead to jump from time frame to time frame, showing events from different perspectives. An excellent tool if he was writing a book, but not so much when the viewer is expected to watch repeated scenes week after week.

By the final episode, the iceberg collision had turned into a bit of joke- ‘Surely they would have avoided it after the 4th hit!?’ cried my Gran in frustration, and I was inclined to agree. The suspense and drama of the event was lost in a sea of repeated goodbyes and lengthy cliches- with gems such as ‘We won’t need more lifeboats!’ and ‘This isn’t goodbye!’ being paraded out in such a way I was shocked that the actors weren’t winking at the camera.

The biggest disappointment for me was, after 4 episodes of cringe worthy exchanges, the viewer was cheated out of closure for many of the main characters. People we had been introduced to disappeared without comment, while others surfaced who we hadn’t seen since episode 1.

In hindsight, maybe that was the point. To be invested in certain characters, only to be left with no answers, is perhaps a device used by Fellowes to show how uncertain the sinking was. People had no idea who had survived and who hadn’t, and so the viewer was left to the same fate.

On a more positive note, one of the most poignant scenes of the whole series was between father Jim Maloney and his daughter in the last episode- a beautifully shot scene charged with emotion and impending doom.

All in all, this was a valiant effort to bring the story of the Titanic to television that didn’t quite work-the heart was definitely there, but the execution was off. In the end, despite it’s flaws, it could not compete with James Cameron’s 1997 effort- and as a viewer, I couldn’t help but make comparisons with it.

EDIT: I counted 3 unintentional puns. I’m quite ashamed of myself!

The Power of Chanel…

I wanted to do a post dedicated to the sublime advertising campaigns of Chanel- and more specifically, Chanel Number 5 perfume. Here are my favourite ads, in no particular order (because I could never choose!)

Keira Knightley

Every Woman

Nicole Kidman

Audrey Tautou

In terms of perfume history, Chanel Number 5 is the ultimate scent; Marilyn Monroe wore it. Coco herself created it, stating “I want to create a perfume so special that none has done before, a scent for a woman that smells like a woman.”

I might just have to whisper this next part. After you read it, please don’t come and find me with your pitchforks, demanding blood.

*Ahem*

Scandalous as it is to admit, I like a lot of perfumes far more than Chanel Number 5. I know, I know. It’s like a crime to even admit it! Maybe it’s because I’m not truly a woman yet? Okay- cliches aside. For me, CN5 is a fragrance created for the true women. I just don’t think I’m quite there yet. Do you remember when Holly Golightly tells the man at Tiffany’s that it’s tacky to wear diamonds before you’re 40? That’s how I feel about this. Which I’ve just realised it pretty odd, but never mind. I’ll call it a quirk.

But, now; don’t fret! I have fallen in love with the smell of Chanel, in the form of Coco Mademoiselle- a scent that smells like it was created just for me.

Maybe when I’m older, I’ll convert to Number 5. When I hit 40. Then again, maybe I’ll stick with Coco. Either way, the smell of Chanel has taken me through the early years of my 20s- and I hope it follows me around for many years to come.

And just because it’s amazing, here’s another Chanel advert that pretty much tops anything else done by it’s major competitors….

Doesn’t the song remind you of Matilda?!

 

Dear Ladies of Wisteria Lane…

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Dear Bree, Lynette, Gaby and Susan (who shall forever be referred to as THE STUPID ONE.)

Firstly, I’d like to make it clear that I think you are all pretty stupid. If I lived on your street, I would have moved AGES AGO. What are you still doing on a street that has had to deal with murder,suicide, divorce, a tornado, a plane crash, and THE STUPID ONE on a daily basis?! Just MOVE.

(As a side note, I’ve just looked up how many people have actually died on Wisteria Lane- I can count 35. 35 people have died, most of them in ridiculous circumstances- Viktor Lang being impaled by a garden fence, anyone?)

To back up my first point,  the only time you ever see any of your relatives or friends who DON’T live on Wisteria Lane is when something bad is happening- this is an obvious sign that your street is CURSED. Everyone else has moved away. Like that weird family that had John Barrowman as their friend. They didn’t last long. Because they realised the street is cursed. Smart.

Bree, let’s use Andrew as an example. You told him he was going to hell for coming out of the closet, but then helped to cover up TWO MURDERS! 3 murders if you count when you watched your boyfriend George kill himself because he killed Rex (I hope you remember all this, because I needed reminding.) AND you stole your daughters baby. Well, pretty much, I forget the details. And where’s Andrew and Baby Mama now? Gone to a better place. Take the hint and join them. And please don’t help to cover up a murder again. You’re supposed to be a lady.

Lynette- I feel most sorry for you. You had a bunch of kids with a man who is essentially a toddler himself, and what thanks do you get?! He leaves you. What a joke, right? No, it’s not a joke. Because you are neurotic. To say you are the least crazy out of the 4 of you is not saying much. I do feel bad you had cancer though. Kudos for getting through that. And having that crazy step daughter. Don’t suppose Tom has seen much of her lately. What a dick.

Gaby, you are the worst mother in the history of the world. But you do have nice hair, and nice clothes, so I suppose you’re forgiven? I can’t remember much of what’s happened to you over the past…15 years? Well, it’s been 8 years for us, but you had that weird time warp thing a few seasons back. You had an affair in season 1, you had a miscarriage in season 2…anything else? You’ve had a lot of good times with Carlos, I suppose- but doesn’t he just have the worst luck! Prison, blindness, alcoholism…poor guy.

And now we get to The Stupid One. The Stupid One is just plain Stupid. She is crazy. Crazy enough to become a stripper when she cleans. Did you not think some perve you knew would see you?! And you work with kids! How could you think that’s acceptable behaviour!? You married (twice, might I add) a pill popping murderer who was going out with Edie at one point (Yeah, remember that?! Remember EDIE?!)  At the moment, I hear you are feeling very guilty for hiding the murder of your best friends abusive father- so by handling things, you decide to paint a very graphic picture incriminating you. Are you STUPID?! Why did I even bother asking.

All you had to do was marry the nice, English guy back in season 2 or whenever it was. He was nice! He had a mansion. HE DIDN’T LIVE ON WISTERIA LANE. I bet you’re kicking yourself now.

I’ve actually forgot to address the most annoying person on the street- and surprisingly, it’s not The Stupid One. Mary Alice Young, why are you still narrating the lives of these random women who used to live on your street?! You’ve been dead for ages. Move on. Everyone else has!

Love and Kisses

A very annoyed ex-watcher of Desperate Housewives (I gave up on it when Edie died. She was the only one I actually liked!)

BBC Birdsong Review

After hearing about the new drama from the BBC, I was very excited; I love the book, and I thought it was a better idea to make Birdsong into a television series rather than film. As there are so many elements of the narrative to portray, a film wouldn’t have been able to do it much justice.

Watching the second and final part on Sunday night, I had to admit to myself that after all the hype surrounding the adaptation, it didn’t totally live up to my expectations.

The main problem with the dramatisation was the decision to turn it into a 2 part drama; it could so easily have been 3. Large sections of the novel are cut completely, with the scenes most needed in the drama being the romance scenes between Stephen and the 2 sisters.

Undoubtedly, the decision was made to focus on the war itself; the scenes in the trenches and the underground tunnels are done magnificently. The tone is just right, and I could visibly see the grief and loss in the mens eyes after going over the top on the first day of the Somme. The most poignant scene shows a commanding officer reading role call, and receiving silence for most of the names on his list.

The acting is also spectacular- Redmayne as Stephen and Mawle as Firebrace do an excellent job throughout the 2 part series; neither have a bad moment on screen. Poesy adds charm to her role, but her scenes seemed to be a let down to her character, as the second part of the drama ignored her almost completely.

The scenes of the first world war definitely upstaged the other scenes- the romances felt rushed, with no development what so ever. Only 20 minutes into the second part, and after only 2 scenes in their new life away from Azaire and the factory, Poesy has left her new life with Redmayne off screen, leaving him to act through a cliche of finding empty wardrobes and drawers.

Readers of the novel will remember some of the narrative is given to a young woman living in England in the 1970s. This story is ignored in this series, and I think in this case, leaving things out worked well. It may have added to the novel itself, but it would have just hindered the story here; it would also have made the jumps from different times too scattered.

If the balance between war and love had been struck just right, this drama would have got full marks from me. It is extremely good, and I urge anybody reading this to give it a chance; just don’t be surprised if you’re left a little disappointed too.

Nom Nom Cupcakes!

This post was originally planned to be dedicated to the amazing Primrose Bakery in Covent Garden- a shop I fell in love with a few months ago, and is now on my list of places in London I adore. Unfortunately for my waistline, I found another genius cupcake seller I had to mention too!

I borrowed the Primrose Bakery cookbook from my friend on a gloomy evening when I felt I needed cheering up with frosting and spongey goodness. And they really were amazing!! In no time at all, I was tapping away at my trusty Macbook searching for their shop in the capital.

When I went in to visit a few weeks later, I was pleasantly surprised to find their cupcakes were only £1.85- a complete bargain!!

So I urge anyone who lives in London, or will be visiting soon, to visit The Primrose Bakery in Covent Garden. If you have difficulty finding it, as it is tucked away down a few side streets, it’s near the Theatre Royal Drury Lane where Shrek the Musical currently resides.

The next cupcake sensation are these beauties- made by the wonderful people at Cupcake Occasions down in Suffolk. I’ve never actually tried their cakes- nor can I at the moment as they don’t deliver to my area (darn!) but these cupcakes look truly amazing!

I think I’d have to try Beaker, as he’s one of my favourites. I don’t think I’d have the nerve to munch into Miss Piggy!!

Topshop, Tee and Cake and GLARING SPELLING MISTAKES

ImagePoor Topshop. I would feel sorry for them over this particular humiliation, but it did make me laugh a little at how silly they are for putting this on their website.

After all the hype surrounding those ridiculously offensive tshirts being sold at Topman last year, I would have thought it would have been a priority not to offend any more people with their tees.

Okay, so it’s not Topshop’s own T-shirt, I’ll give them that. The offending tee comes from brand Tee and Cake.

I have no idea how Tee and Cake let this particular print get so far into production without somebody spotting the error. Anybody who buys it will not only look really, really silly, but will be trying to make people think they know about Shakespeare. Because it’s cool.

Shakespeare is cool without having to put it on a tshirt. And if you didn’t see the error, you don’t deserve to use his words to make a fashion statement.

Downton Abbey- What’s Coming For The Crawleys…?

I want to do my last Downton Abbey inspired post for a while, as it won’t be gracing our screens for another 9 months, and frankly, my love of it is getting slightly out of hand.

I’ve only just realised, though, that there may be people reading this not from the UK, and who don’t know what’s going to happen in season 2. I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you in any way, so this is a warning that this post contains spoilers from season 2 and the Christmas special!

As season 3 will be set in the roaring 20s, change is indeed afoot. The biggest things that have to be addressed- or at least I hope they are addressed!- are:

 

1. Sybil and Branson: With an Irish bun in the oven, no doubt Sybil will be back at Downton for an extended stay through the 3rd series. How will the family cope with having a servant living as part of the family? I predict a lot of tension as the servants try to adjust- and don’t count on the pregnancy being all it seems either. Knowing Fellowes, it will have some horrible disease or something. Just to make us get our tissues out.

2. Matthew and Mary: There will obviously be a wedding- just think of the outfits- and then hopefully they will settle down to wedded bliss…with hopefully no ghosts haunting them! But if Carlisle lets out the story of Mary’s dallyings with the Turk, there could be trouble.

3. Bates and Anna: Will Bates be let off? Will he get his job back at Downton? Will Anna ever smile again?!

4. Lady Edith: Hopefully series 3 will bring Edith a bit of romance- or at least some form of excitement that doesn’t include driving a tractor. Maybe the mysterious Canadian will make a return to claim himself the future Earl of Grantham?

5. Thomas and O’Brien: Let them carry on as they are- their scheming is pure joy to watch!

And now I put my Downton love to bed for a few months! I really hope Julian Fellowes makes this next series as good as the last 2!

Zooey Deschanel- New Girl Review

It might not be a new thing in the US, but New Girl has only just graced our screens here in the UK- and I wanted to show my appreciation of what could turn into my new favourite US show since How I Met Your Mother. I’ve tried to limit myself to how many television shows I follow, or else I will end spending all my time trying to watch everything. At the moment, I watch Downton Abbey, The Walking Dead, Pan Am, QI and HIMYM. If I add New Girl to the list, then that will have to be the last thing. Unless something really good comes out, obviously.

Reasons New Girl Is Amazing

  1. The Guys: Looking forward to the next episodes, I’ve noticed Coach has been replaced. Since his only really funny moment in Ep 1 is his improvising of ‘I’ve Had The Time Of My Life’ with bears, it’s safe to say I’m not that sad to see him go. Though his replacement better be good. Schmidt is like my new Barney Stinson- a complete tool, but a loveable tool. Nick is pretty blah, but he is obviously going to be the love interest of Jess further down the line, so that’s forgivable. And he does an amazingly shit British accent when drunk.
  2. The Girl: I know most people will say this, but Jess is pretty much me. I might not be a teacher. I might not sing to myself. But some of the things she says are things that I have definitely said in the past. ‘Pink wine makes me slutty’ and her references to Lord of the Rings are just two of her more brilliant sayings. The ability to relate to her to easily is probably why this show sets itself up to be a hit.
  3. The Douchebag Jar: All douchebags should have a jar. It should be a new law.
  4. Dirty Dancing: Name me a girl who hasn’t watched this film whilst depressed and I will find you a flying pig.
  5. She creates her own theme song: Whilst pretending to be a stripper with a heart of gold. And I’ve noticed on the next episode opening, they use her made up song! Genius!