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Film: 50/50

I went to see 50/50 on one premise only: It stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
I don't normally like films with Seth Rogen in, and I wasn't sure if a comedy about getting cancer would be a bit to close to the mark. I was wrong.

This film is amazing.

The plot centres on JGL's character who is diagnosed with a rare form of spinal cancer and follows him through diagnosis through treatments and beyond. His character is young, (supposedly) healthy and normal, in a relationship with Bryce Dallas Howard (who has the most beautiful hair! Sorry, girly moment...) and best friends with Seth Rogen's drunk and irresponsible Kyle.

Somehow the film manages to pivot on such dark subject matter with genuine, real to life, completely unoffensive laughs. This isn't a film that laughs at people with cancer, it doesn't take the mick out of a serious and deadly disease or its victims, it is laughing at the characters and the everyday circumstances they get themselves into. It reminds you that ill people want to keep living a normal lifestyle and almost, it seems, forget what is happening to them. On top of his illness, Adam's girlfriend is unfaithful (WHY?! HAVE YOU SEEN JGL?!) and his overbearing mother (Anjelica Huston brilliant as always) desperately wants to look after him, when really he just wants to stay in with his greyhound Skeletor and smoke medicinal marijuana.

It is heartwarming to the extreme, while being genuinely laugh out loud funny. I was on the verge of tears for the entire thing (and pretty much had a meltdown at the end), but was also laughing almost continually which really is a bizarre and ingenious balance to achieve. It is exactly the type of film JGL is perfect for: a gentle and thought-provoking indie pic where he beautifully portrays every single emotion without really saying anything. The fact that he doesn't cry for almost the whole film is remarkable and makes his eventual breakdown hit the audience full pelt, with not a dry eye left in the house. The same goes for Anna Kendrick. I love them both for their understated way of acting - it just makes the characters seem so much more real.

Don't get me wrong though, this is not a chick flick. Yes it has a relationship break-up, but the film focuses more on the bromance between Adam and Kyle, luckily without resorting to the stag-do-esque nature of other male bonding films (I'm looking at you The Hangover). Yes it's a tearjerker, but it's also a witty and clever script that never takes away from the serious nature of its subject, and doesn't make you feel uncomfortable. I genuinely hope you all go and see it as it is definitely my film of the year.

Music: Wild Beasts - Shepherd's Bush Empire, 24/11/11

Wild Beasts are one of those deceptively named bands like Howling Bells or Arcade Fire where you assume they'll be loud, screamy and a little bit scary, when actually they couldn't be more different.

Wild Beasts
I saw Wild Beasts at the Shepherd's Bush Empire which is a really cute old theatre with tiered seating above and a ye olde feel. I've been there numerous times before for other gigs and I always enjoy the atmosphere as it never feels too crowded, despite the expected concert smell of beer and sweat - bleurgh!

Shepherds Bush Empire
I'd heard of, but never actually heard, Wild Beasts before this concert, but I'm always a one for discovering new music so when my lovely friend Pauper Princess invited me along I couldn't turn it down! Mercury nominated in 2009, the 4 piece are very of the moment with the slow building, dark indie-rock that has taken over from anthemic, stadium-packers in the last few years. Along the genre that contains bands like The XX and White Lies, I'm not a huge fan of this type of music. It doesn't tend to grab my interest as the beat is often the same without an exciting crescendo and the vocals are normally subdued and melancholy - good for break-ups and cold Winter evenings, but not always for a night out. But that's the singles they release. You end up listening to an entire album and there is always at least one stand-out corker that reshapes the entire record and make you question your original opinion on said band. Wild Beasts are without a doubt like this. They mixed up their set perfectly which not only kept my attention but enabled them to show off their talents as a band, especially the amazing vocal range of the singers. 

I love it when a band considers their staging even when they're in a 'small' venue (as in, not a stadium). I think this really shows that the band are considering the fans who aren't in the pit, and Wild Beasts had a fun lighting show with a different colour or set-up for each song. They weren't a particularly active band, so the lighting was definitely a great inclusion. The stand-out song for me was Hooting and Howling from their 2nd album 'Two Dancers' as it really got the crowd moving and involved and the band looked and sounded like they were having a blast performing it. 

Live pic courtesy of Gigwise
Wild Beasts aren't exactly a band you'd dance around the room too, but they are the type of band where you listen once and then find that you've had the album on repeat the whole tube home, missed your stop but don't mind as you get to listen to it again. They're a grower, but a keeper.

Film: Wuthering Heights

The original novel
Aaaaaaaaand it's another book to film adaptation, surely the 10,000th this year. But unlike some of the others, this is based on a classic and world famous novel, and has been adapted countless times before (as well of being the subject of everyone's favourite Kate Bush song). I first read Wuthering Heights as a set text for my GCSEs, and completely fell in love with it and have read it numerous times since, so I was excited to see a modern take on the story.

If there is one word that sums up this film it's 'bleak'. Actually, two words: 'bleak' and 'depressing'. The story isn't a bed of roses anyway - the premise is the forbidden and tortured love of Cathy and Heathcliff that in the end is so toxic it destroys them. So I wasn't expecting a laugh a minute. But this adaptation really did not hold back on the contempt and hatred the majority have for Heathcliff, and how this develops his own insufferable fury.

Filmed in the sweeping Yorkshire Moors, the setting is sparse and harsh, making it perfectly clear that this isn't a Jane Austen 'period piece' for the BBC. This is nitty-gritty, down-and-dirty, smack-in-your-face dark Bronte, where the characters are alone even when they're together, and separated from any reality we may know. Like the book, there was little dialogue, it is heavily based on imagery: Heathcliff's disregard for life shown by the casual cruelty to animals; the gentle nature of Cathy towards Heathcliff by the collection of feathers; the lone swallow shown swooping across the sky without it's companion from a previous scene to show the upcoming separation. It's what I'd summarise as 'arty-farty'. But it is beautiful. The lack of colour, the use of nature and the impact of the weather all create a story where the characters are keeping quiet. It's enough to make you cry anyway, but then the story does that too.
The North Yorkshire Moors - Wuthering Heights country

I won't include any spoilers for those of you that don't know the plot (shame on you for not knowing it though!), but for fans of the book, there were significant changes to the ending - nothing changed, just left out. And my biggest disappointment was the missing out of the immortal words from Cathy, '
I AM HEATHCLIFF!' I also wasn't a huge fan of the casting of Kaya Scodelario as Cathy, she seemed a big weak and flimsy - not stubborn, determined and increasingly bitter like her literary counterpart. The girl who played the younger Cathy though, Shannon Beer, was really incredible, she told the story in her eyes and gave a spin on the character that I hadn't really thought of before.

This isn't a film for a romantic night in. This isn't a film for a fun trip to the cinema. This is a film to sit in the dark, crying, and with the promise of a pub afterwards. Visually stunning and a reasonably faithful adaptation, it should definitely be seen. Just proceed with caution.

Life: Job Hunting - How to Save Your Sanity in 5 Easy Steps

Two weeks ago I sadly had to leave my job, and after lamenting for 24 hours I realised that I'd have to find a new one and quick sharp. After graduating in 2010, I applied for internships for 5 months before getting something, and when I decided to move on to another position it took another 6 months. 

Needless to say, the thought of job hunting again therefore terrified me. I've since managed to get a fab new position in just a week, and after almost an entire year of searching and successfully getting a few opportunities in between, I wanted to share some of the things I've learnt in the hope that it'll maybe help some people realise that job hunting isn't always soul destroying, but there will always be a positive outcome if you persevere!
You don't always notice your own
mistakes on your CV

1) Please God read through your CV and then get someone else to check it!
In fact, get a whole heap of people to read through it. There's bound to be a word missing, a spelling mistake, or a layout tweak that could improve it. 

2) It's not about what you know...
It really does help to know people who could put a word in for you or find out about potential positions in their companies. Think about friends, relatives, colleagues, friends of friends, neighbours, people on Facebook you never talk to. Somebody somewhere is bound to know someone vaguely related to the industry you want to get into so forget pride, just ask!

3) Use your imagination.
Don't just rely on Guardian Jobs and Prospects for finding positions as every single person searching for a job will be using those same websites. Of course they are helpful, but try and find sites that recruit specifically for the industry you're looking for. This can be as simple as typing 'Marketing jobs' into Google to find (you guessed it) Marketing jobs.

4) Use social media!
It's not just for reading about Kim Kardashian's divorce or spying on your ex. Social media is a brilliant way of finding out about vacancies and interacting with companies and brands in a less formal setting. Why not tweet the CEO of that company you're dying to work for? It's only 140 characters, what could go wrong?!

5) Dedicate time to your search.
Finding a job doesn't just happen. You have to be on the ball, checking sites everyday if not 10 times a day. Sign up for email bulletins and tailor your CV and cover letter for every single application. Being methodical really does help. I set up a folder in my email account specifically for correspondence regarding to jobs, and had a list of companies I'd contacted and who I intended to contact. I know people who put together Excel spreadsheets for the task! It may seem like a huge pain in the behind, but it allows you to keep a tab on things and refrain from wasting your time on repeat applications.

Good luck to anyone job hunting!

Film: I Heart Classic Cinema!

Today my shiny new BFI membership arrived in the post! I've been meaning to sign up for this for a really long time, and I've finally got around to it. The reason I wanted to join is because I am a huge cinema fan. I know that's such a cliche - it's one of those things everyone says isn't it?
"Cinema, music and exercise."
I like to think that go slightly beyond the average Orange Wednesday goer. I studied Film Studies at A Level which opened me up to a huge variety of cinema that I may not have approached before, and I've had a subscription to Total Film for many years. I love nothing better than scrutinising a film and discussing it over a glass of vino or even just on the bus home. Saying that, I have been known to go to the cinema alone if I'm desperate to watch something that no-one else has an interest in; I specifically remember going to see Capote and then calling everyone I could think of to implore them to go and see it!

Anyway, a BFI membership allows you to go to special preview screenings of new films and (more excitingly I think!) you can go and see old classics on the big screen. I'm already planning to go to screenings of Singin' in the Rain and It's a Wonderful Life (nearer to Christmas of course!). So in homage to the classics, here's a list of some of my favourite older films. Check them out and let me know what you think!

My favourite film of all time!

An adorable comedy

A film about cross dressing well before
 Rocky Horror!

The original is much better than the awful
Lindsay Lohan remake!

The original. Amazing.
What are your favourite classic movies?

Life: Movember 2011

For the last few years the eleventh month of the year has not been November. Instead it's been Movember, the month where men across the world grow their facial hair all in the name of charity. Clearly, I can't take part in Movember but in honour of the charity, here are a few of my favourite moustache related products to get you in the mood to raise some dough for the noteworthy cause!

For the debonaire baby in your life!

A cute ring from Cutie Pie
Quirky corkscrew from Drinkstuff

Moustache cookies anyone?

And of course, don't forget to support people who are taking part this year! If you don't know anyone, here's a few wonderful people I know who are doing their bit for Movember:

As of 20th November 2014, any products marked with an asterisk (*) have been provided as a sample for unbiased review