Monday, 29 April 2013

Iron Man 3 Review

Director: Shane Black
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Guy Pierce, Ben Kingsley

Iron Man 3 is a lot darker than the previous films as Tony Stark struggles to cope in the aftermath of New York (The Avengers) and the need to protect Pepper, distracting himself by building Iron Man suits. However when an unlikely figure from Stark’s past returns and threatens his new life, all he is left with is his own ingenuity, hilarious one-liners and the help of a young boy from Tennessee.
The plot is fantastic and so are the characters, though I think Ben Kingsley should have had a bigger part. I won’t tell you why, spoilers.
I also want to touch on how far 3D films have come in the past few years. Before I never really liked live-action films in 3D as they didn’t look right and people were fuzzy round the edges. In animation it’s fantastic, especially in Toy Story 3 (2010) but now it works in live-action movies as well. The images are so sharp and there’s so much depth it’s like you really are in the film with the characters, experiencing what they do.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The Last Challenge!

The Last challenge is finally here - to wrap someone in clingfilm

Being wrapped in clingfilm isn’t quite as fun as I thought it would be. For one your legs and arms are pinned together so you can’t really move and the risk of falling flat on your face increases considerably; but also it’s incredibly hot under all those layers of plastic. They should think of using it in thermals because that stuff keeps you toasty.

I know that we haven't done all the challenges we set out to do - I was really looking forward to making a kite and dressing up as Freddie Mercury's female alter-ego, but we simply ran out of time. Thank you to all those who followed our journey through our Uni Bucket List!!

Unfortunately for us, normal life must now resume...

Monday, 11 March 2013

(500) Days of Summer

“There’s no such thing as love. It’s a fantasy.”

Day 1. Along came Summer.

The narrator is right – this is a story of boy meets girl but it is on no level a love story.
Something happened to Summer Finn, a long time ago that made her lose all faith in love and made it very difficult for her to bare her emotions and allow herself to be vulnerable with someone. Slowly Tom breaks down these barriers and exposes some of her feelings, her secrets, her fears. And then as soon as the box is opened, it’s closed again as she feels him falling for her.
Not wanting to put a label on their friendship-relationship, she ends it with him over pancakes – something we see right at the beginning of the film so they’re over before they’ve even begun and the latter half of the film shows him trying to pick up the pieces of his broken heart and failed life as an architect turned greetings card writer.
If this were in chronological order it would seem like the perfect boy meets girl but the back and forth timey-wimey stuff gives the audience a different view of their relationship as all the things that signal their demise were shown before they had really begun as a couple.
The audience develops a connection to Summer, her vulnerability and emotional fragility. Deschanel has a wonderful way with facial expressions and they speak so much louder than words. This film would be brilliant if only Gordon-Levitt created that same level of connection. He’s pretty one-dimensional for all the time-travel he seems to be doing lately and it’s not until Summer truly screws him over and he’s in the deepest pit of depression that one finally has some form of connection to him. But then he starts to pick himself back up again and that connection is lost.
Gordon-Levitt plays a good character though he is very one-dimensional and seems to have a permanent stoned/drunk/confused expression, while Deschanel is her usual quirky self and without her I don’t think this film would have worked so well. Chloe Grace-Moretz is worryingly mature much like she was in Kick-Ass though thankfully there were no machetes or murders-most-brutal this time. She is Tom’s younger sister and acts as his mentor getting him through the break-ups and make-ups with the help of school football and vodka.
This is a good rainy-day film with friends but it’s nothing special. It tries to break boundaries but ends up a bit confusing and lost – especially with the just-scored-with-my-girl dance in the park. Totally wrong that bit.

Day 500. Along came Autumn.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Walk on!

Challenge - Learn a new activity

Our university has a programme called Trysport, where you can, well, try a sport. It could be anything from rock-climbing to football and you simply pay £5 for five weeks – that’s only £1 a session. So the girls and I decided to try our hands at horse-riding. Normally a one-hour group session could set you back up to £20, so we thought ‘£1 for an hour’s session, it’s a bargain!’
However, it was six o'clock in the evening so it was dark and mighty cold but it was so much fun. I haven’t been on a horse in about twelve years so it was a surprise that I could remember everything so well. Jenny used to ride quite a bit so she was well on her way, but Nicola hasn't really ridden before.
It was great fun but the only downside was as there's three Trysport sessions in a row and they use the same ponies they've got a bit bored by the time it comes to our group, not wanting to walk let alone trot. Towards the end we had to go over a jump but it was so low the horse just trots over it, but mine didn't want to do that so he just kicked it out of the way haha!
We had some beautiful ponies – Jenny’s had a moustache! I couldn't wait for our next session – the instructor said we would be cantering and jumping by the time we were finished!

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Making Own Booze

Challenge: Make your own alcohol

My mum has been making wine for about 10 years now, everything from apple wine to blackberry with varying degrees of success, and I’ve always wanted to make my own alcohol – plus every student has to have a go. I thought of making vodka but you need to distil it, mead looked quite nice and we even had snow to make it in the traditional Viking way. But instead we went with a recipe we found on which involved mixing squash, sugar and yeast in a bottle with a balloon on the top and leaving it in a cupboard for a few days until the balloon deflated. Every couple of days we’d check it but the balloon didn’t seem to be doing anything, so we left it longer. And a bit longer. Eventually two weeks had gone by and we decided it should be done and we tried it. It was certainly alcoholic. And blackcurrant-y (that was the squash we used). I think I’ll stick to the supermarket stuff.

Film Certificates - 15A?

Guillermo del Toro's new film, Mama is being released with a 15A certificate - or so I heard on the radio. So that means that children can go and see the film at the discretion of their parents. To be honest they'd be pretty bad parents if they let a child go and see a film such as Mama.

The synopsis: Annabel and Lucas are faced with the challenge of raising his young nieces that were left alone in the forest for 5 years.... but how alone were they? Creepy, scary things start to happen that are linked to the girls' mother which simply aren't suitable for children to see.

The trailer is scary enough in my opinion and I'm 19:

I think the world is becoming desensitised to things such as language, violence and sex. Just today I watched Men in Black 3, which is a PG, yet they're saying Bulls**t on more than one occasion and I think it's wrong. Maybe it's just me but I think children are losing their innocence during their childhoods because they're exposed to those things that we were protected from when we were children.
12A certificates I can understand but only if the parents know what is going to happen in the film. Quite a few parents took their young children to see the Hunger Games in which children are killing children and were horrified at what was happening on the screen.

12A yes if you've seen it first
15A no, it's wrong and pointless - you may as well make it a 12 if you want kids to see it.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Bake Sale

Challenge - Do something for charity!

This was without a doubt our most successful challenge. And the most successful way of making money for charity – a good ol’ bake sale. We decided on Breast Cancer for our charity as we all knew someone who had had it so it was quite close to our hearts.
Off we went to ASDA and bought everything in packet mixes – had we the skill and the time we would have made everything from scratch, but we don’t so we didn’t. Ten hours of hard labour later and we were finally done baking everything from cupcakes and brownies to cookies and millionaire’s shortbread. We also made a big Victoria sponge for a ‘guess the weight of the cake’ game. The prize cake of 1.1kg went to Helen McLaughlin, Director of Business at the university. “Oh my gosh!” she said, “I can't believe I’ve won it”. Her guess was the closest, estimating 1kg.
Everything sold like, well, hot cakes and overall we raised £171.63 for Breast Cancer Care.

Nicola and Jenny selling away!