Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Ugly Betty Season 4 DVD Box Set Review

Ugly Betty is perhaps my favourite TV Show EVER to hit the screens and thus I must get all the DVD box sets. This is the Fourth and Final Season.

~~~BASIC INFO~~~
No of discs- 4
No of Episodes-20


~~~BOX SET COVER~~~
The cover of the box set is again bright and colourful and shows the transformation Betty undergoes from Season 1 compared to her current look. It is a nice cover and is fitting given this is the show’s final series.

~~~BASIC PLOT AND THOUGHTS ON PLOT~~~
The start of season 4 sees Betty start a new page in her life as Mode’s associate features editor. Matt Hartley, her ex (who saw her kissing her first love Henry whilst they were still together), now becomes her boss, and makes her life hell, until they rekindle their relationship, but it doesn’t last as he soon leaves.

Daniel tries to get over his dead wife, Molly, and enters an occult group which does not end well, whilst Wilhelmina is trying to find her lover Connor who keeps disappearing without a trace. Her problems are elevated when her daughter comes to her and they are involved in a murder case which turns into a monetary scandal.


Claire goes and looks for her son, whom she gave up for adoption, and he later comes to  find her, and things end explosively with Wilhelmina’s manipulation in between the two.

Amanda strives to something greater than being a receptionist, whilst Marc is fed up of not being promoted under Wilhelmina and becomes Daniel’s assistant instead.

Mid season, the show announced that it would be the final season, and it would not be renewed, which meant the show had to quickly change the plot and tie up the loose ends and finish the show off… Despite all the open plots, they managed a good job up till the season finale.


The news brought a drastic turn in the plot and everything went towards this end, with Justin’s relationship with his classmate Austin getting heated; Betty being given more job opportunities and Hilda’s relationship with Bobby getting serious… but it isn’t until the final few episodes that all is revealed- Betty’s career move, Wilhelmina’s decision in love or career and the future for Daniel.

It wasn’t the explosive cliff-hanger I would’ve liked, but it was a nice rounding off of everything, tying all (well, most) of the loose ends, closing the chapter up till then, yet opening new opportunities…

I really liked this season, and is definitely better than season three, possibly two. The humour throughout was pure laugh out loud and the outrageousness does not cease. Betty is always wrapped up in some sort of problem… all of which are absolutely hilarious; one scene depicts Betty’s braces getting caught on a diamond bra!


The “Betty getting her braces removed” episode was highly dramatised and exceptionally produced, whilst the Bahamas Episode was also amazingly focused, stylish and hot… However, the London Episode was tacky as they didn’t actually go to London, but for the season finale, they DID- which doesn’t seem to make any sense, but there you go!

The show splashed out a lot of creativity for this season, and for it to be cancelled is such a shame, but it produced yet another hilariously funny season we can now enjoy as a box set.

Favourite Parts:
-Betty’s alternate life if she was born beautiful
-Everyone being mean to her and hunting her down (early episodes)
-Bahamas episode with Amanda and Betty competing for Matt

~~~CAST~~~
America Ferrera- Betty Suarez
Eric Mabius- Daniel Meade
Vanessa Williams- Wilhelmina Slater
Becki Newtown- Amanda Tanen
Michael Urie- Marc St. James

Also stars: Tony Plana, Ana Ortiz, Mark Indelicato, Judith Light, Daniel Eric Gold, Yaya Da Costa, Grant Bowler, Adam Rodriguez, Kristin Johnston.

Guest Starring: Chris Williams (Vanessa William’s brother), Shakira, Freddy Rodriguez, Christopher Gorham, Ashley Jensen, Brooklyn Decker and Aaron Tveit.

This season sees Betty grow up and move on from being an assistant to a features editor, and getting her braces removed. America Ferrera has also grown up and they are transitioning nicely. She still manages to pull of the naivety and emotion required of the role.

The role of Wilhelmina this season required much more of a change of heart. She is torn between her personal desires of love and her career driven lifestyle. Despite her increasing softness, she is still mean and evil most the time and Vanessa Williams does a great job portraying both.

Yaya DaCosta, who was a contestant on America’s Next Top Model, stars as Wilhelmina’s daughter, Nico, and she does a surprisingly good job at acting and being constantly distraught.

The mass of guest stars this season all contribute in some way or another, with Shakira mainly being a novelty, and the return of Christopher Gorham (Henry), Freddy Rodriguez (Gio) and Ashley Jensen (Christina) for the season finale rounds the show up nicely.

~~~EXTRA FEATURES~~~
•Betty Goes Bahamas
The show really splashed out this year sending a bunch of the cast to the Bahamas, and this special feature Michael Urie and Becki Newton trying to find the rest of their cast members during a shoot.

 

•Mode After Hours – Webisodes
I’m so glad they included these because they were definitely funny and feature Becki Newton and Michael Urie fooling around Mode.

•Betty Bloops
•Deleted Scenes
•Audio Commentary

~~~OVERALL~~~
Having the box set, I am able to watch the show without breaks, without waiting, and I have had an Ugly Betty marathon- absolutely phenomenal- reliving every moment of the hit TV show since it first aired in 2006, and loving every moment of it.

This season finale sees the show take a creative turn in the right direction, and is possibly the second best season after Season one. It is such a shame the show was cancelled at this moment in time, as I’m sure given the opportunity for another season, it would’ve given SO much more. The show had and still has so much potential, with talks of a film already out within days of the finale airing.

The series finale was a good end, reflecting a lot of the styles found in the first episode ever, and I would highly recommend this box set because it is so funny all the way!

Monday, 28 March 2011

Cute Animals: Baby Opossums

 

Cute Opossums! Also known as possums... they are like a cross between a rat and a bunch of other animals- their fur looks spiky like a hedgehog :S I don't know much about them but they look quite scary in some of the other pictures I found... 

I think the best part about these critters is that they have a really sweet pink nose! What do you think?

Check out more images below:


Friday, 25 March 2011

The One With the Blog




Life of Pi by Yann Martel Book Review

My sister lent me this book after she read it as she thought it was really good. Written by Yann Martel, Life of Pi is an imaginative fictional story of a boy shipwrecked on a lifeboat with a tiger, which won a Man Booker Prize.


~~~THOUGHTS ON PLOT~~~
Written in three parts and in one hundred chapters, the story begins with a comprehensive introduction of Piscine Patel (nicknamed Pi), his family, his zoo and his religion. Following a tragic wrecking of the cargo ship him and his family was on, on their move to Canada, Pi finds himself stranded on a lifeboat, his only companions being a Bengal Tiger, a chimpanzee, a zebra and a hyena. 

The story creates fantastical relationships between the creatures which is immensely original and fascinating. The intrique of the animal interactions last through a majority of the book, the multitude of which really surprises you and just when you think all the possibilities are exhausted, there's more!

The first part of the book was rather dull (but informative), whilst the second part is exciting and really intriguing. I wished they'd started with the second part as that is truly gripping. I nearly gave up with the beginning but only managed to get through it after being spurred on by my sister. Had they done that, they could have inserted segments of the first part during his shipwreck days, his dreams and his euphoria.

Despite the slow start, the book is well structured and many themes are explored, such as animal-animal relationships, niches and animal psychology, along with subtle religious themes and finally the way we see our world and our appreciation of life, truth and fascination.

Whilst what happens to Pi he reveals early on, the way in which it happens and the things he does in order to survive is shocking- the extremely detailed descriptions of cannabalism and brutality does repulse, showing just how desperate he was.

The ending explores our imagination and how we see the world around us. I like that it draws the focus away from the events of the shipwreck and centre on the themes and messages. In this way, the book is laid out with a clear aim and purpose, which doesn't fail to entertain.

~~~OVERALL~~~
This book is extremely fantastical and you would never expect to read and be so fascinated about animal behaviour, yet so believable. Despite the dull beginning (which you will want to read again after the whole book), the second part truly captivates unlike any other novel, making it a must read. 

Plus, they are making a movie adaptation of the novel, so best get to reading this before it is released!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

America's Next Top Model Cycle 16 Episode 5 Recap

It's ANTM time! Dalya is quick to comment (or boast) that she has modelled since she was 16 and that she has already experienced New York Fashion Week. WHY ARE YOU HERE THEN! Alexandria comments how she was misunderstood last panel with her bossiness- yeah right- though these TV shows do manipulate with editing so she probably is just a nice person but seriously, get your act together and be the bitch, you'll last longer this way.

So the girls get Tyra Mail which reads "every good lesson starts with a good foundation", obviously a make up challenge, which Alexandria quickly points out. She then freaks out over a towel to which Hannah confronts her in her sweet cute voice and then the other girls group together to talk about her. One of the girls point out that everyone probably talks about her in their confessionsals to which a montage of clips play out with all of the girls ratting on Alexandria with the diagnosis being that she is obnoxious, controlling, bi polar and have severe psychological issues.

Mikaela says the funniest line "let that ship sink" which is such a GIF MOMENT. As is Brittani chomping on what looks like Jelly.

They arrive at their challenge location to which Jay says to them "a contract with Covergirl solidifies them as a top model"- NO- it doesn't. Vogue Italia does. 

The girls split off into three groups of three where one will direct, one will write and one will present the Covergirl products, with the winning team's presentation posted on Covergirl.com

Group 1 "Night Red Carpet"-Kasia (writer), Mikaela (talent), Brittani (director)
Mikaela was the talent though when she messed up, she kept swearing which wouldn't go down very well, but overall, the script was good. 

Group 2 "Bold Colourful Eyes"- Dalya (talent), Jaclyn (writer), Hannah (director)
I like their story behind it about alluring with their eyes, which Tyra would love. They didn't write a script as they tried to make it conversational, but as Dalya's the talent, it just didn't work. Had it been Hannah or Jaclyn, they would've rocked it. Dalya was dead vocally and she didn't look in the camera or sell the product. Way to ruin the win for sweet Jac and Han!

Group 3 "Daytime/Casual"- Molly, Alexandria, Monique
They just kept fighting which was hilarious as Alexandria appears all innocent and defensive with the other two quite confrontational... seriously, her attitude needs to be picked up on again! Another GIF moment from Molly when she shoots herself. Love it.

When Monique tries to steer it back on course, Alexandria goes "but I'm the talent" to which the ANTM "boom" jingle plays- LOOOOL

Their actual commercial was good despite Alexandria being a bit difficult and Brittani claims she went "action" a few times. Monique was a good director as Jay pointed out "calm even when dealing with difficult talent". 

In the end, the winning group was Group 1 which was OK. I'm glad Brittani is in the winning team. The other girls comment on how they want panel to pick up on Alexandria's attitude and send her home haha.

Monique decides to look in Alexandria's diary to see what she thought of the other girls whilst Alexandria's on the phone with her boyfriend, crying her eyes out. Funny when Molly and Monique are in the confessional, they tagged them as "co-conspirators". Alexandria didn't find out though... :( BOO

For their photo shoot, the girls attend the old L.A. zoo, wearing Rachel Zoe faux fur and posing with a baby jaguar.

Hannah looked phenomenal (a bit like Taylor Momsen) but liked her inspiration of being the mama jaguar. I didn't like Brittani's frazzled hair but she did good. Kasia did bad as did Dalya. As Monique didn't like cats, she was lucky he was tired when it was her go- she goes "it's bed time, perfect!" :3 This girl is rising on the like-o-meter. Alexandria was a bit soft and uninspiring to begin with(and kept saying thank you to Jay's critique- girl, just be a cow), but when she started barking and purring, the magic happened and she probably had the most original shot.

From the shoot, I think Dalya's going home.


At panel, Jaclyn is praised for her fierceness. I didn't notice this before, but thanks to Tyra, points out her left hand is in an odd place- LOL! Brittani looks stunning in her photo and does not look like her. Alexandria was praised for her experimental energy but the shot was not high fashion. Hannah's photo was stunning and all the judges loved it (ME TOO- first call out!!) Everyone else was blah...


During the judges deliberation, Tyra goes at Alexandria's photo "when a girl does ugly pretty, you need it to be editorial, but this is just ugly pretty" Haha! Love the honesty Ty! 

After panel, I predict Hannah will get first call out and in the bottom will be Molly and Dalya. So who goes home?

The first girl called is... 

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Water Sculptures by Shinichi Maruyama

 

Shinichi Maruyama is a Japanese artist who photographs water at high speed. By experimentation, he has managed to create stunning sets of images by combining images, touching up and so on. 

The beauty of these forms come in the spontanaity and unpredictability of the results, each image is a snapshot of time, unable to be repeated ever again. The dynamic exploration of liquid viscosity with light is truly incredible, there's just no other word for it.

Check out my favourites below:



Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Dupli Casa by J Mayer H Architects


Dupli Casa is a modern house designed by J. Mayer. H. Architects, built in 1984, modified and extended in Germany. I love the glass against the modern white minimalistic walls which flow seamlessly with the surroundings.

The interiors are again open, fluid and seamless- I love how bright it is with the odd shapes and the broken lines. Stunning design- I want to live here!

Check out the rest of the images below:


Monday, 21 March 2011

Cute Animals: Siberian Chipmunks

 

Last week's uber cute rock hyraxes is a difficult one to beat in terms of cuteness, but following this month's theme, here are some Siberian Chipmunks! I didn't know there were so many different kinds- I actually find them quite annoying and not that cute, but I'm sure some people like them!

Apparently these chipmunks can become quite agitated and feisty... anyone see the karate chopping chipmunk Youtube video? 

Check out more images below:

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Pokemon Black DS Game Review

A new generation of Pokemon has arrived! The fifth generation of Pokemon games come in the form of Pokemon Black and White (back to the colours, eh?) and feature 150 new Pokemon. 


Among the 150 new Pokemon are some rather silly additions such as Woobat (we already have the Zubat family) and Trubbish (A rubbish Pokemon, literally!). This was a problem with the last generation, where many additions were completely unecessary, such as evolutions to first generation Pokemon such as Lickitung, Magmar and Electrobuzz. Thankfully, Game Freak have learned from their mistakes and these 150 are all original, with some lovable ones, my favourite being Emolga, a flying squirrel Pokemon which will go very nicely next to my Pachirisu from Pokemon Diamond.

Like the predecessors, you start as a budding young Pokemon Trainer, enroped into helping complete the Pokedex, this time by an all time first female professor, Juniper. She gives you one of three starters, Snivy (grass), Tepig (fire) or Oshawatt (water) before you begin on your typical journey of gym battling, Pokemon catching (Gotta Catch 'Em All!) and training.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Snow Formations- Penitentes


Another natural formation I have never heard of or seen before are Penitentes, which are high altitude snow formations, in the shape of jagged snow peaks found in the Andes. A combination of sublimation, wind and radiation (process is far too complicated for the everyday person) lead to the formation of this stunning landscape.

Penitentes are just extraordinary and isn't something you'd imagine ever seeing. I'm glad to have found out about this, as I wonder how many more wonders there are to discover on Earth! I hope to discover more and share them with you!

Check out a ton of stunning images below:


Thursday, 17 March 2011

America's Next Top Model Cycle 16 Episode 4 Recap

So this is the "hot" fiery episode where the models will be walking with their hands on fire! Excitttingg!! But of course Molly needs to get her hair sorted out. Before that though, the girls talk about how they don't think Alexandria should've got top photo (AMEN!), Alexandria comments on how she will go to New York whether or not she gets IMG- arrogant cow.

The girls get Tyra Mail which reads "If you don't watch your step, your career will go up in flames", to which Jaclyn thinks they're going to a fire station and will see the firemen. LOL cute Jaclyn! This is of course their runway challenge. The girls will be wearing designs by Geoffrey Mac (he designs for Lady Gaga), walk on a runway on fire, as well as having their hands on fire. So Molly's weave gets taken out but not yet redone :( 

As the runway is lit up, all the girls freak out (allowing them to edit it and make it look like something crazy will happen) which of course doesn't. No dresses on fire. No 3rd degree burns. NOTHING.


They kind of whizzed through all the walks but the clear stand out was Brittani looked sooo stunning with the dark hair and the fire- FIERCE is the only word to describe it. Maybe it's just her makeover but WOW. Sara did terrible though. Everyone else was average.


In the end, Dalya won the challenge and will win two dresses from the spring collection. The three girls Miss Jay thought walked the worst (Hannah, Sara and Kasia) have to walk home! I loved how they took it seriously and had fun walking home :D

This week, the girls do a commercial trying to make coffee sexy. The girls get paired up for the commercial. 

Alexandria and Brittani were a pair and here is where Alexandria does her weekly thing to piss people off. As Jay puts it, she is doing everyone's job- directing, checking lights (WTH!) and fixing Brittani's make up... this girl needs to GO!


I thought Kasia was very natural, but she looked down quite a lot. Alexandria did well (urgh!), Hannah looked phenomenal but there weren't many stand outs. OH WAIT. Alexandria does this evil smirk when Sara's doing her commercial, which was pretty terrible, but I thought she looked very pretty- well as pretty as she can look.


At panel, Jaclyn and Kasia got great feedback, Alexandria was criticised for being too sexy and bossy, Brittani disappointed Tyra but has potential, whilst Sara was criticised for being uncomfortable. So in the end, I think Sara may be going home, with Alexandria in the bottom two as a "wake up call" to her arrogance. Kasia will obviously get first call out.

The first girl called is...

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Scarlett Johansson in Vogue China (April 2011)


Scarlett Johansson covers Vogue China for April 2011, looking cute- can't wait to see the whole spread! Will update as more is released!

Ooh.. noticed that there's an article in here about Miriam Yeung... I wonder what that's about! 




Behind the Scenes:


 

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Romain Laurent Photography


Photographer Romain Laurent has some beautiful and unique concepts which he executes with style. His surreal photos really make you wonder how he does it and is not something you would expect to see at all! His images are both exciting and surprising, my favourite shoots being Burnout Syndrome (Heads on smoke), H20 (Heads emerging from water) and Something Real (bubble enveloped heads).

Check out images from my favourite shoots of his below:


Monday, 14 March 2011

Cute Animals: Baby Rock Hyraxes

 

I can't quite pinpoint exactly what this month's theme is, though a friend questioned if it was "cute unheard of critters" which I guess is partly true. I have wanted to focus more on animals people may not have heard of to widen our knowledge of cute animals!

So this week I bring you one I have never heard of before- baby rock hyraxes! Rock Hyraxes are found in Africa and the Middle East, living amongst rocks (hence the name). Apparently they are mentioned in The Bible though I have never come across it before- or remember I have... :S 

What do you think of them?? Aren't they squishy and cute?! Check out lots more images of these unheard of baby rock hyraxes below:

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Just Go With It Film Review

I've liked Jennifer Aniston but her recent roles have been really quite superficial and shallow, not allowing her to show her true potential. In Just Go With It', it appears she got her mojo back, being paired with real life good friend Adam Sandler for this typical rom-com  


~~~THOUGHTS ON PLOT~~~
Plastic Surgeon Danny (Adam Sandler) uses a wedding ring to get girls, but he meets Palmer (Brooklyn Decker), a girl he thinks could be "the one".When she discovers his wedding ring, he tells her he is getting a divorce. As Palmer is insistent on meeting her, Danny manipulates assistant Katherine (Jennifer Aniston) to pretend to be his wife, dragging her two children Maggie and Michael (Bailee Madison, Griffin Gruck) along for the ride.


Taking advantage of Danny's wealth, the whole gang take a trip to Hawaii, so that the children can spend time with their "dad". Coincidentally, Katherine bumps into old time rival Devlin (Nicole Kidman) and trying to impress her, claims Danny is her loving husband. Both Katherine and Danny play their part in order to get what they want, but can they keep the truth from coming out?

Femme Fatale- Britney Spears Deluxe Edition Album Review

Three years after Britney's true comeback record "Circus", she is back with new album "Femme Fatale", featuring a highly auto tuned and addictive sound, after hearing her snippets. It's the kind that you can't get out of your head! I wonder if the full songs will be as good!



~~~ALBUM COVER~~~
The cover of her album is one of her best yet- very simple and stylish. Undeniably, she looks really pretty and soft, though a little dead in the eyes. With an album title named "Femme Fatale", I personally would've expected something darker and slightly stronger, but perhaps that will come through in her fierce music.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Plexus No. 2 by Gabriele Dawe


Mexican-Canadian artist Gabriele Dawe creates stunning installations using thread. The closeness of the threads creates a mysterious and mesmerizing haze, a vibrant atmosphere produced by the bright colours and subtle variation.

I'd love to be able to see this in real life as the whole "sculpture" changes from different viewpoints and the layers merge so phenomenally... see for yourself!


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