Category Archives: Review
One of the few things that I look forward to in December aside from traveling (yay long school holidays!) is actually to hit the theatres to catch the latest Christmas movie. From years past, clear favourites have emerged such as Home Alone, Jingle All The Way and Love Actually. But while these movies remain as firm holiday classics, it is nice to see what new Christmas movie is in store.
Have you been naughty or nice?
This year, that move is Rise of the Guardians. The title doesn’t sound like a typical movie that is bursting with holiday spirit but I have to say that it is a movie that has alot of heart. So the story goes like this. The Boogie Man is slowly gaining back his power and he intends to wreck havoc on the human world by instilling fear through nightmares to children. In doing so, he weakens the children’s belief in wonder, hope and innocence and in turn, this diminishes the power of the guardians: Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and the Sand Man. So the Man in the Moon (who rules them all) summons a new guardian, Jack Frost, a wayward troublemaker who has issues of his own (think: low self-esteem, fears that he is invisible and insignificant) so they can all join forces to defeat the forces of evil.
Behold, the Guardians gather…
Not exactly revolutionary in terms of its storyline since the main plot structure is similar to all movies that pit Good against Evil, but the animation and illustration was pretty awesome. Sandy the Sand Man is simply adorable despite the fact that he doesn’t utter a single word, the Yetis who help assemble the toys are huge burly furry blobs that are too cute and the tiny little elves will crack you up because of their little quirks and mischievous antics.
Cute furry Yetis!!!
The Boogie Man was sufficiently scary especially as he launches a huge brood of black stallions (nightmares geddit?) against Sandy’s unicorns and even the Easter Bunny has a great deal of personality (loving that Aussie accent!) with his witty banter with Jack Frost. The fight scenes between the characters were pretty riveting though I thought Santa lacked pizzazz. I mean, since when does Santa fight with a sword? That’s just wrong and most of the time, he needs the other characters to win. Frost and Sandy being the strongest.
All in all, a great feel-good movie. Okay storyline, very respectable if not impressive animation and a good message that resonates rather convincingly: hold on to that childlike wonder, do not be afraid to hope and dream because that belief and that step of faith is very powerful.
This might sound funny to you but despite living in tropical Singapore, Fall is my favourite time of year. I love traveling to a much cooler climate and being able to layer up and feel that bit of frosty chill that tingles my spine. The cooler weather also means that I can be more creative with dressing up and playing around with coats, gloves, boots and hats. Something that I can’t really do much in a tropical climate. And so today I’ve decided to indulge in coat envy. These are the timeless classics that I wish I could wear more often…
Before my Hawaii trip, I decided to read Alain de Botton’s The Art of Travel to prep myself and to get myself psyched about traveling. I previously read his book of essays, Essays in Love and found it incredibly insightful as it approached love through various disciplines (philosophy mostly). I knew that he could achieve the same feat again with this novel and I wasn’t disappointed.
I love how the book is split into various sections that deal with a different issue each. The first chapter was aptly named ‘Departure’ and it discussed the notion of interstitial spaces like airports and it also discussed the experience of taking a plane ride or one’s first encounter with the hotel room. It’s all incredibly surreal, sometimes it almost feels like you are having an out of body experience and encountering these descriptive events from the perspective of a third party. But I guess this narrative mode has a purpose. It’s meant to get you to think deeply about certain issues that we take for granted.
I loved especially how he would attempt to break down certain complex ideas through his little analogies. I remember clearly the instance where he is fighting with his lover and how that causes the entire vacation to be unpleasant, thereby proving that it is of paramount importance who accompanies you on the trip for it colours your particular experience. He also talks about the discomfort of traveling, having to live without everyday conveniences and to put up in a hotel or to endure a long haul flight with limited leg room all for the sake of escaping reality and life’s unreasonable demands.
“Sublime places repeat in grand terms a lesson that ordinary life typically teaches viciously: that the universe is mightier than we are, that we are frail and temporary and have no alternative but to accept limitations on our will; that we must bow to necessities greater than ourselves.” – Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel
It is a highly intellectually engaging read, thoughtful to say the least. I wouldn’t exactly say it is bedtime reading though. I find myself too stimulated to actually fall asleep after because my mind is constantly trying to grapple with the ideas that he quotes off Proust or Baudrillard. None of which present easy ideas. None of which make suitable bedtime reads. But in terms of being the right trigger for an upcoming trip, it definitely worked like a charm. I am ready to see the world with new eyes and to find myself in the process.
Caroline will be away from 23rd Nov to 2nd Dec.
Be sure to keep yourself entertained browsing through our past posts. Last I checked, it just crossed the 1000 mark!
So this month’s Bellabox was alittle delayed due to shipment issues but I’m glad to have received it because the theme for this month is Bliss. And Bliss means different things to different people. For some it might be travel, reading a good book or even soaking in a tub (for me it is all three!) and the products featured this month are targeted at nourishing your dry split ends and giving you healthy locks, calming the skin and giving it the nutrients it needs and lastly, enhancing your best features with none other than makeup.
The products in this month’s Bellabox includes…
- Loreal Professional Mythic Oil Nourishing Oil 125ml/$42
- Loreal Professional Absolut Cellular Repair Shampoo 500ml/$42
- Olive Care Natural Olive Oil Soap 100gm/$5.50
- Storyderm Silk Mask: Anti-aging $19.90
- Savoir Faire Mini Lipstick in Siren $65 for full size/ $9.95 for mini size
The Loreal goodies came at an opportune time. I just cut my hair so all the dead, dry ends are gone and this shampoo that promises to protect and repair is just the thing I need to maintain healthy locks. It will be very interesting to see if this range lives up or is comparable to the Nuxe range which I gave rave reviews for.
Another product that interests me this time round is the Olive Care soap. You guys know I’m a loyal Lush fan and I do love my Lush soaps but this is a great deal cheaper and it is 100% made out of Olive Oil so if it works just as well, I might actually consider switching. I’ve heard that it doesn’t lather too much though but as a result it is less drying. Seems promising but we shall see.
Last product that caught my eye? That cute little Savoir Faire lipstick. Okay, I’ve honestly never heard of the brand before so I’m glad that they sent me a lipstick sample because hey, you can’t go that wrong with lipstick. As least there won’t be some kind of allergic reaction or something.
The shade I got was Siren, a orangey shimmer shade that is pretty wearable everyday. I think it suits pretty much every skin tone as well. I’ve tried it on today and it goes on creamy and smooth and when I lick my lips, I was surprised to taste something sugary sweet! No cosmetic or synthetic taste at all. AND what was even more surprising was its staying power. It truly lasts and lasts! Even after eating lunch, I didn’t need to reapply alot cos it didn’t budge whatsoever. And colour payoff is actually quite good. Lots of people commented that it was a change to see me wear lipstick (which basically means that its noticeable) and the warm shade is great cos it stands out of my rather pale skin giving it a more olive tone. I’m usually not a lipstick kind of girl (Ruth is though. Check out her mega lipstick review here.) but I think this one is a keeper!
Oh and what’s quite exciting about Bellabox this month? A freebie! Previously we received a lipstick pen and this month, it was a necklace with a moustache charm! Tada!
Personally not a fan of the pink. Perhaps will colour it black with nail lacquer. But all in, a pretty comprehensive box that targets my problems from head to toe. Can’t wait to test them all out!
I’ve been waiting all month for this movie and it finally came out on 8th November. If you are a Glee fan, you love acapella and show choirs are your kind of thing, then Pitch Perfect is made for you. The movie focuses on Beca, a new freshman at Barden College who aspires to produce music but her father wants her to complete college. And so, as the story goes, dad gives Beca an offer. Prove to him that she is really trying to give college a real shot by taking an extra curricular activity and then he will review her decision in a year. And so, that’s pretty much how Beca ends up in The Bellas. An all-girl acapella group on campus.
Now the plot thickens when you throw in a rival group called the Treble Makers (an all-guy acapella group on campus) and a shot at the show choir championships. And then there’s all-round good guy Jesse who is cool, funny, can sing and really really digs Beca. But alas, he’s part of the Treble Makers so… how will it all work out?
Well, let’s just say that this movie is a feel-good flick. And as all feel-good flicks go, the story is predictable. Yes, it is all rainbow, sunshine and happy endings in the end. I guess you could say that this is the singing version to the Step Up series and Bring it On but what makes this a truly enjoyable movie, the true selling point in my opinion, is the script which is absolutely hysterical.
There are jokes poking fun at Glee, jokes targeted at different stereotypes (sex pot, lesbian, asian girl, fat girl, crazed obsessed overachiever etc) and it’s all meant to be taken with a pinch of salt. It’s all in good fun. The parodies and exaggerations like seeing Aubrey comfort Chloe over her inflammation of the lymph nodes which is apparently likened to cancer, only serves to show the ridiculous lengths people go to to achieve success. So definitely, I feel like the musical comedy genre worked really well!
I think Fat Amy has all the best lines. Rebel Wilson is a natural at comedy and Anna Kendrick is extremely likeable. She was brilliant in Up in the Air and 50/50. She’s becoming one of my favourite indie movie actresses to watch (it’s really between her and Felicity Jones at the moment!) and Skylar Astin is cute in an unassuming, nerdy way (he reminds me of Ted from HIMYM). He’s like the average typical nice guy with killer vocals. I think these two are great together.
Oh and need I mention the awesome mashups? I loved the Riff-Off. Definitely the highlight of the show. That and perhaps the Just The Way You Are/Just a Dream mashup. I got chills! Enough talking, check out the trailer!
If I could sum up the musical, Company in two words, it would be… Forever Alone. Yes, it is the remake of Stephen Sondheim’s Tony Award Winning Musical that focuses on Bobby, a swinging bachelor who grapples with his singlehood as his friends are all moving to a new phase in their life getting married and having kids. The musical features new face Peter Ong in the lead role while featuring familiar faces Tan Kheng Hua and Karen Tan and Petrina Kow (or should I say, familiar voice in this instance. She is a DJ for Lush 99.5FM!)
What is interesting about Company is the issue at hand. Bobby constantly asserts that he is ready for commitment and ready to settle down but we see that his actions prove otherwise. He is seen on casual dates with three women: April the ditzy air stewardess, Kathy the girl from Ipoh and Marta the Filipino expat who is vivacious and ‘original’ and is often seen flirting to get them to sleep with him. If you are expecting this to be a repeat of Boeing Boeing, then you are sorely mistaken. He doesn’t land any of the girls and neither does he find a happy ending in marriage.
No, I’m afraid this is not your typical cautionary tale with a predictable plot line. I think Sondheim doesn’t wish to give easy answers because while we see Bobby constantly faced with pressure from his married friends to settle down, we aren’t meant to see marriage as the final destination in which all joy and happiness is derived. Instead, Sondheim and director Hossan Leong for that matter, play up the chaos and drama that exist between each couple. The satirical portrayal of these characters really gets you to see just how dysfunctional they are. We see Karen Tan’s character Jenny constantly making concessions for her husband David (played by Bendon Fernandez) and we can tell that there is underlying tension between the two. We see Tan Kheng Hua’s Joanne as a jaded individual who is in her third marriage and Bobby’s friends, Susan (Rebecca Spykerman) and Peter (Ivan Choong) are in a midst of a divorce.
In short, the characters are all pretty messed up and it kind of stays this way from start to finish. My gripe about the play is that the music takes centrestage so the characters often sing more than they actually act so I got pretty frustrated that the plot didn’t seem to be moving along. Also, there’s alot of loose ends that are left dangling and all these issues embedded within each relationship isn’t resolved. For example, Joanne propositions Bobby indicating that her marriage isn’t as happy as it seems but the story just leaves it at that without any further explanation. And the musical ends on a cliffhanger with Bobby blowing out his birthday candles for the third time. So I wonder if this is a Pinter and Beckett-esque moment where repetition indicates stagnancy and futility. Does this mean that Bobby can never find true love? Will he be stuck in this vicious cycle forever?
It’s all very ambivalent and I guess if you need some degree of negative capability to deal with it. On the plus side, Petrina Kow, Karen Tan and Mina Ellen Kaye who plays Marta were riveting to watch. They fully committed to their roles especially Petrina Kow. She was psychotic, crazy and side-splittingly hilarious the whole time and Mina Ellen Kaye has the foreign accent down pat and she really played her role with gusto. It was very impressive. As for Peter Ong, well, this guy can sing! Acting though… I didn’t feel like he was particularly memorable. The true highlight was the set. The set was beautiful and functional. I think the audience gasped when the bed folded down over the sofa.
Honestly, I think this musical is a miss for me. It might be because I didn’t connect with the script (felt that way with Into the Woods as well) and for most of the time I found the reprise extremely annoying because it kept repeating over and over. More so than other musicals. Also, there were too many characters so there was breadth of understanding but not depth so I didn’t feel emotionally tied to Bobby or his predicament. It was all rather disappointing.
Company runs all the way to the 17th of November at the Drama Centre at National Library. Tickets can be purchased at Sistic.
There are so many good reasons to watch the latest Bond film, Skyfall. Adele sings the haunting theme song, the brilliant Sam Mendes directs (his previous films include American Beauty, Revolutionary Road and Away We Go), Javier Bardem stars as deranged villain Silva and new Q makes his entrance in the embodiment of geeky cool Ben Whishaw. And of course, who can forget the Bond girls who are sizzling hot as ever, Naomi Harris and Berenice Lim Marlohe.
I have to say, I wasn’t all that enthused when Daniel Craig came on board to replace Pierce Brosnan. He appeared to be too rough and rugged for the seemingly cool and suave spy but you know what, Craig grows on me. I really did enjoy his previous two showings Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace because we actually see a development in his character and a chink in his armour if you will. Bond isn’t always the suave and charming pretty boy who wields a martini glass and depends on exploding pens to save the day. Craig’s Bond is vulnerable and tormented (I swear it is those piercing blue eyes!) and surprisingly, a faithful lover (he seems to be hung up over Vesper Lynd which is quite charming to say the least) and he also possesses the fighting chops that the other Bond actors lack.
I felt that this film was the most all-rounded out of all the other Bond films because there’s that balance. There’s intrigue, action, a strong but understandable plot, witty dialogue with believable execution and the sensuality and sex appeal was toned down and it came across as tasteful instead of kitschy. I think the bed romping days are over and instead, there is a dawn of a new era for the Bond series and I think Craig really grows into the role magnificently. At some point in the film there are subtle references back to older versions like Naomi Harris’s character that is later revealed to be secretary, Ms Moneypenny, the replacement of M by Gregory Mallory played by Ralph Fiennes and the unveiling of the signature Aston Martin but an antique version used in the first Bond film. Skyfall was particularly brilliant imo because it still retained the legacy and culture that makes Bond, Bond but Mendes and Craig has injected a new fresh twist to make Bond relevant for the 21st Century.
But you know who was exceptional too? Javier Bardem. He is officially my favorite villain. He comes across as unassuming yet creepy because he is so overtly friendly. He has the charisma of the Joker yet there is this softer side especially if you try to understand his backstory and how he became the man that he is. Interestingly enough, the return of Bond to his birthplace is also reminiscent of Batman in Dark Knight Rises. It seems that having a bad childhood is scarring for most of our heroes and that’s what makes them so mired in darkness and complexity.
All in all, I thought this film was simply awesome. I loved especially the opening sequence, the graphics and animation was enigmatic and gripping, the plot was well-formed, the cast was strong… I’m really excited for the next sequel. Mendes definitely breathed new life into this series, I’m loving the image overhaul.
In our new series, Quality Chick-ed, QuirkyChic is touching on a mildly embarrassing topics with regards to personal care every month. In November, well, let’s just say we are concerned with our time of the month…
Judging by the lack of tampon brands in the market, it is clear that Singaporean women have yet to embrace the use of the tampon. But after trying it out recently (you know it’s one of those unfortunate circumstances where your period arrives and you have no pads on you and have to borrow from someone? Well, that person gave me a tampon instead) I have to admit that I kind of like it!
First of all, it is much less messy than a pad because it begins absorption in your cervix instead of allowing it to drip unceremoniously everywhere on the pad. There are no more horrible run-ins with ‘nappy rash’ no thanks to the uncomfortable abrasion from pads and it is breathable and much more comfortable (instead of being hot and itchy) because the tampon acts as a stopper which means you can just don your undies. No panty liners required.
The only thing to take note of? You have to remember to change your tampon else it could lead to infections or something called Toxic Shock Syndrome. So tampons aren’t recommended for night use because you have to change them between 4-6 hours. But if you are careful, then tampons are safe to use.
Let’s move on to our reviews. First up, Tampax!
Tampax Cardboard has an absorbent core designed to fit your unique shape, along with a LeakGuard® skirt to help stop leaks before they happen. Each tampon comes in a strong durable wrapper and has a biodegradable applicator with Anti-Slip Grip™.
Tampons cost alot more than pads in Watsons and Guardian primarily because they aren’t as popular (I think this box costs $17?) but for a box of 20 that promises up to 8 hours of no leakage absorption, it seems like a pretty good deal. On average, I use about 6-8 tampons on a heavy flow day of my menstrual cycle. Sadly, I think this spiked number is a result of me having to change the tampon once every 4 hours instead of their advertised 8 hour duration. It is virtually impossible in my experience to be able to withstand 8 hours without spotting or leaking. In terms of pad usage, I would say that it seems like a decreased amount but not significantly, perhaps only a pad or two more as compared to tampon usage.
But it isn’t all bad, my experience with tampax was pretty pleasant because of their cardboard tube applicator that allows you to insert the tampon more accurately with little fuss. Also, while the ends do start to fray, I didn’t experience back flow which is great for extended periods of time where you are working at your desk or taking a short nap and it does save you the hassle and discomfort (which is the main reason I run to the toilet to have my pad changed so often). My only gripe is that because it starts to fray, this might leave some residue on your panties so as an added precautionary measure, I applied a pantyliner as well which is some ways, kind of defeats the purpose of a tampon in the first place. As such, my rating for Tampax tampons are…
o.b.® tampon’s FLUID-LOCK® grooves pull fluid into the core for locked-in leak protection you can wear for up to 8 hours*. So you can keep your cool and get out there with confidence.
The main difference between o.b and Tampax is really the packaging. As you can see, because Tampax comes with an applicator, the packaging tends to be abit bulkier compared to o.b. that fits 32 tampons in a sleek compact little box. Also, o.b. doesn’t believe in an applicator. It markets itself as the ‘smarter tampon’ that creates a “protective pocket that surrounds your finger with soft fibers while you insert, to help you stay clean and protected”. As such, this minimises waste and is actually better for the environment (smart marketing angle imo).
But what I really liked about this tampon is the material which isn’t exactly cotton but made from polyester/polyethylene non-woven material which I feel has greater absorbency. I actually didn’t have to change my tampons as many times as I did compared to Tampax and I felt that thanks to the grooves, it actually provided much better protection. I didn’t experience spotting or leakage at all which is quite amazing. So there was no need for that extra precautionary panty liner barrier. I also felt that this was more comfortable in terms of fit so I think o.b has a good overall solution to my menstrual woes. I much prefer this brand to Tampax.
For more information on tampons and its use, o.b. has a very helpful FAQ page here but for more professional advice, do seek a doctor’s opinion especially if you are concerned about Toxic Shock Syndrome and whether or not tampons are really for you.
The opinions here are strictly my own. The content of this web site is provided for informational purposes. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for medical advice. As previously mentioned, it is not advisable to wear a tampon over extended periods of time or to wear one in certain situations that may heighten your risk of infection so please use at your own discretion. Of course, consult your GP or health care provider immediately with any problem or health concern you may have.
Yesterday night, I finally watched Wicked and this has been something that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. I booked the tickets in November so that’s like 3 months in advance? And can I just say that it was absolutely wonderful. You guys probably know that I’m a frequent theatre goer and I’ve watched quite a few musicals (mostly local productions) but this Australian production was SO GOOD (according to my friend who has watched Wicked 4 times, the standard is comparable to the London production). The elaborate sets, the costumes, the acting, singing… it was truly an enchanting performance. No wonder it won 35 major awards including a Grammy, three Tonys and the title of ‘Best Musical of the Decade!’
There is definitely something in this musical for everyone, young and old alike and never a dull moment too! What I really loved about the musical which was adapted by a novel of the same title is that it is such a clever plot. To borrow the concept of Wizard of Oz, an all-time favourite but to re-work it from the perspective of the Evil Witch of the West (even giving her a name, Elphaba) really humanizes her and makes her relatable. Even the flying monkeys that have plagued me all my life, I now feel some sense of sympathy. Like they were the victims of the Wizard’s evil regime!
And of course, who doesn’t love a compelling story of a green girl who is talented but oh, such a social misfit who eventually wins the love of handsome Fiyero over bestie bimbo pal, Glinda? Throw in some magic dust, a pinch of sarcastic wit and a dose of righteous justice and you have yourself a winning formula. No wonder this is the 13th longest running Broadway musical of all time.
And need I even mention the music? My heart soared as Elphaba was lifted into the air while belting out the last notes of ‘Defying Gravity’, I felt such bittersweet sorrow when the lovers did the ‘As Long As You’re Mine’ duet and almost teared as Elphaba and Glinda sang ‘For Good’. The music was so amazing and their voices left me completely speechless. I thought that the leading ladies were so immensely good at what they do. I loveeeee the ‘toss toss’ hair scene. That made Glinda so endearing despite her blatant bimbo-ness (kudos to Lucy Durack) and Elphaba’s vulnerability and conviction really came forth in Amanda Harrison’s portrayal.
All in all, I was completely enthralled. In short, this is definitely something worth watching. Please I appeal to everyone to go watch it!