Category Archives: Entertainment

Scarlett Moffatt crowned new Queen of the jungle

Gogglebox star Scarlett Moffat has been crowned this years winner of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! and she is set to earn up to £1 million after her appearance on the show as ITV and Channel 4 are keen to snap her up.

The newly crowned queen is preparing for the release of her new fitness DVD, “Scarlett’s super slim me plan”, which is due to hit the shelves Boxing Day.

The 26 year old from County Durham worked as a student disability officer but became famous from her one-liners and witty commentary on Channel 4’s popular programme Gogglebox. It is not yet confirmed whether or not Scarlett and her family will continue with the show and produces have been reluctant to comment.

Support for Scarlett has been constant throughout her 24 days in the jungle and experts say her likability is down to her honesty.

There are still claims that the hit ITV show is a fix with people claiming that Scarlett was set up to win as she received more coverage than any other contestants in the jungle.

The suspicions weren’t helped when the official I’m a Celebrity Twitter account posted a tweet that appeared to bolster support for her.

The show still managed to rack up 11.4 million viewers for the final.

 

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Design Museum re-opens in High Street Kensington

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Design Museum at its new location

It’s an enormous queue with people of completely different cultural and social background. From wannabe Burberry model and fashionistas to tourists and those who are least likely to be interested in modern arts. All of them came to see the reopening of the world’s leading contemporary design and architecture museum.

Founded in 1989 and originally situated on the riverside near Tower Bridge, the Design Museum has finally found its new home. Before moving to Kensington, it was welcoming the experts from all over the world. Now, a futuristic-looking building, refurbished by British architectural designer John Pawson, opens its doors to Londoners. With a space three times bigger than the previous location, the construction is the first thing to impress you as a visitor.

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Alice Black, Deputy Director at the museum

“So, as you walk in, you actually walk into a building from the 1960s, that has been extensively refurbished, but up above you there is this roof, which is quite spectacular. It’s like a huge wing or as some people have described it as a saddle. In fact, in technical terms, it’s a hyperbolic parabolic roof, one of its kind in the UK,” explains Alice Black, Deputy Director of the Museum.

Under the roof, there is an Atrium, within which you can see all the activities taking place in the Museum. “It’s a sort of multiplex with lots of exhibitions taking place, but also huge festival of activities with hands-on workshops and seminars and talks in our auditorium. There’s a lot to do and you can come here for a cup of coffee”, says Alice, which has personally contributed a lot to the museum’s reopening. Being in charge for the strategic development, she was also leading the project to relocate the Design Museum to West London.

She explains that the museum was largely dedicated to specialists until they’ve realised that actually design should be an interest to everyone: “You don’t need to be a designer to be interested in the world in which you living, design is everywhere around you from the spoons, bowls and kettles and other things that you find every day in your kitchen to the buildings, that you live in and the transport that you use.”

“What’s interesting in design is that it has remained a discipline that is concerned with the material world around us, so designers are designing furniture, tubes trains, logos, and books. But there’s a new dimension in design, which is immaterial and more concerned with user experiences like interface of your phone or gaming, or way-finding systems within cities. So, this is where the discipline becomes more abstract.”

 

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Designer User Maker exhibiton

“What we are trying to do here is to show everyone that design concerns them, and that’s the point of our display on the top floor of the Museum”, says Alice. She is talking about the Designer Maker User exhibition, which is free of charge and created for people who’ve never learned anything about design.

“Then”, Alice continues, “having done that introduction, we will take them further along the journey to get them to understand that design addresses big issues of the world in which we live today such as robotics or Brexit. Actually, there is a designer response to this, and this is very much the topic of our exhibition Fear in Love.”

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Designer Maker User exhibition

 

London-based interior designer Marina Begman agrees with the Deputy Director: “I’ve seen the Design Museum in its old place, it was cozy, hidden and kind of exclusive for specialists. I was expecting this transformation, though: design has stepped in our lives, no matter if we notice it. Is it a sweets package or a shopping bag – it’s pretty much everywhere.”

For Marina, design’s first role is not about aesthetics, but about problem solving. “We can see it from the coffee cups: the way they were designed ten years ago and what are they looking like now with all those special perforation preventing from pouring it on yourself and thermic materials.”

“Design is definitely something more than we used to think, as it addresses such global issues as medicine. There’s a start-up of the self-regulating timer for diabetics called Timesulin, which is telling people with this medical condition whether they need an injection. Or a project of Oxygen Backpack, which allows ill people to move more freely. Being, probably, the biggest event in design for this year, the reopening declared the whole new phase in the development of the field. ”

The Design Museum is open daily from 10.00 till 17.45. Tickets for paid exhibitions Fear in Love and Beazley Designs of the Year, which is held for the ninth time and looking at the innovative design of last 12 months, are available on the museum’s website. Apart from Designer Maker User, there is another free show called Designers in Residence, and is dedicated to emerging designers and temporarily presents installations by Rain Wu, Alix Bizet, Clementine Blakemore and Andrea de Chirico.

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View from the Atrium

Duran Duran Loses Copyright Battle in Court

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Band members unite at a music event. Source: CBS

British waveband, Duran Duran, have lost a High Court battle for the US rights to some of their highly renown tracks. The group claimed that copyright laws in the US gave them the right to request a reversal of copyright 35 years later. Rio, A View to a Kill and Girls on Film were amid the debated songs.

The members had attempted to end the concession to Gloucester Place Music Ltd, a part of EMI Music Publishing, of US copyrights in their initial three albums. However, lawyers for Gloucester Place Music Ltd succeeded in saying English laws of contract prevented them from doing so. The albums Rio, Duran Duran, the Ragged Tiger and Seven included many of the group’s major successes such as Hungry Like the Wolf.

The court case has been viewed as a trial thats conclusion would have consequences for  artists across the country since many more have signed similar deals with large companies. This has sparked outrage and solidarity from the public.

The Crown: this £100m show is a confusing mix of history and melodrama

3/5 stars

Netflix’s The Crown begins with a shot of King George VI, played by Javed Harris, coughing up blood into the stony porcelain of a lavatory. Creator Peter Morgan’s intentions to present the unseen side of the United Kingdom’s royal family are clear. The pricy production is a ten part series about the political and personal happenings during the opening decade of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign from the death of King George VI in 1947 to the coronation of Elizabeth, portrayed by Claire Foy, in 1952. The series ends with the retirement of Winston Churchill, played by John Lithgow, in 1955.

Foy is perfectly cast as the Queen; demure but with a growing realisation of her own power through the years. Despite this, Morgan’s scripts repeatedly fail to create any form of real insight into the young Queen. It is not Foy herself, but the character, which is monotonous and dull throughout the series. Outside the circumstance of her position – a young 25-year-old thrust into responsibility – Foy’s character is two-dimensional.

It is exactly this which makes Smith’s Prince Philip the soul of the show. He impeccably portrays the Duke of Edinburgh’s emasculation and his claustrophobia in the stifling Establishment surrounding him, adding some form of depth to the series. However, Lithgow as Churchill is The Crown’s break-out performance. Initially, he appears to be miscast due to his 6’4” frame being almost a foot taller than Churchill’s. Nevertheless, his performance as the poorly prime minister is an outstanding portrayal of the political figure capable of greatness and pettiness.

Despite these stand-out performances from Smith and Lithgow, there is little to applaud when it comes to plot. Over the series, an unnecessary amount of time is consumed by frivolous matters, such as Princess Margaret’s romance with Captain Peter Townsend. The unsteady screen time spent on the political and family plot threads results in neither aspect being adequately embodied. The Crown cannot choose if it is a political drama of the 20th century or Downton Abbey. It may be the most expensive series ever produced, but its obvious identity struggle cannot be overlooked. If Peter Morgan decides to take risks and let The Crown breathe, season two could potentially deliver more to viewers.

Click here to watch The Crown online

Russian Film Week Comes to London

Following the announcement of the cross-year of Language and Literature by the UK and Russian governments, Russian Film Week has started on November 30 in Regents Street Cinema.

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Filip Perkon, founder of Russian

Festival founder Filip Perkon describes the event, which has been running for two years, as an “an attempt to build a dialogue through values and views”.

Filip has special expectations for this year’s festival and believes it will continue as a ‘good tradition’ for years: “Not all of the films fit in the Western filmmaking, but it’s a good way to introduce British audience to Russian culture, which is extremely important with all those political tensions going on”.

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Dima Bilan, winner of 2008 Eurovision at the Russian Film Week Press Conference

Russian singer Dima Bilan, who won the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest, came to the festival’s opening ceremony to present the historical romance “Heritage of Love”. He emotionally describes his experience of starring in the picture, which is to be shown during the festival: “It’s my first visit to London as an actor. Many people ask me about the difference between acting and singing…Well, in Russia we use a word ‘artist’ to define all the people of art: painters, singers, and actors. I mean if you’re willing to create something and deliver it to the world, there shouldn’t be any barriers. You can do pretty much anything.”

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Official poster of the Heritage of Love

The “Heritage of Love” by Yuri Vasilev and many other films including ”Ptitsa”, a comedy by Ksenia Baskakova and “Two Women”, a drama by Vera Glagoleva, are shown in London for screening, but also presented to the jury of the “Golden Unicorn Awards”, with which the festival will finish. As Filip says, the unicorn refers to the mystical creature, which is symbolic for both Russia and the UK. The contestants are established in several nominations, including Best Feature Film, Best Screenplay, Best Foreign Film about Russia or Set in Russia, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Short, Best Documentary and Best Animated Film.

Vlad Strukov, Associate Professor in Film and Digital Cultures at Leeds University and one of the jury of the “Golden Unicorn”, played a huge role in introducing Russian filmmaking to the British audience. His book “Russian Contemporary Film” discussed not only established directors but also those who are less known in the western countries.

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Pr. Vlad Strukov

As a specialist, the professor tells that modern Russian filmmaking isn’t a ‘homogenous field’: “There’re huge generations of filmmakers working at the same time. We have a generation of established filmmakers from the Soviet time like Alexander Sokurov, Alexei German or Kira Muratova, which represent the liberal art house. But we also have the generation of more conservative traditionalists like Nikita Mikhalkov, Karen Shaknazarov. I’d also say that I’m delighted to see a new generation of directors in their 20s, a couple of them will be shown at the film festival this week, including Uchitel’s work. There will be directors from the Soviet era, Russian directors and even films that were filmed outside of Russia.”

Pr. Strukov believes that British audience has always been interested in Russian culture and that it’s an exciting field to work in right now: “There’s a huge demand in Russian culture in the west and particularly in Britain. I find it’s a great opportunity for young people to make a name in the western world in fashion, filmmaking or any other arts.”

Speaking about challenges for Russian contemporary film industry, he says, he finds it “disappointing” that Russian government and independent non-government related cultural agencies are not that effective in promoting Russian culture.

“It’s not an easy thing to do, but I feel that there’s a lack of support of government and also individual cultural institutions. It’s never been easy to make films; it’s big funding for big projects. Less or more political control, financial help, it comes and goes. What I’m talking about is that there’s a lack of promotion to especially young directors globally. There’s not even a good website, where you can read about the new Russian directors”, he concludes.

“As this kind of promotional channel, this festival’s doing a great job”, says Pr. Vlad Strukov, and the fact that tickets to the first screening of the “Heritage of Love” were sold out almost right off the announcement of the festival, prove his words.

Russian Film Week is on till 4 December. Tickets to the screenings and the program are available on the official website of Russian Film Week.

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Allied: Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard Dazzle in the newest WW2 thriller

4/5 stars

The latest film from Robert Zemeckis, Allied, is an impressively compelling attempt at an old-fashioned drama, enriched through clever cinematography as well as a satisfying performance from Brad Pitt and an even better one by Marion Cotillard.

As the film opens in 1942 during the Second World War, intelligence officer Max Vatan (Pitt) parachutes into North Africa and makes his way to Casablanca. Whilst on a lethal mission, he meets French resistance fighter, Marianne Beausejour (Cotillard). They fall in love whilst working together on a job to kill a German official, and subsequently Max persuades Marianne to join him in London. The blissful couple soon have a child together. However, their relationship is put under fire when Max is told that Marianne could potentially be a Nazi spy. He’s given 72 hours to uncover the truth and if the suspicions are proven true, he must execute her or face being hanged. To heighten tensions further, Max is forced to continue his normal relationship with Marianne.

The film’s writer, Steven Knight, gives viewers a clever and tumultuous plot that keeps viewers attempting to predict the truth about Marianne without becoming too complex or drawn-out. Director Zemeckis is, of course, distinguished for constructing films that blaze the trail for technology. While he manages to craft some technical masterpieces – such as Marianne giving birth through an air raid – he proves that he can create just as much exhilaration and thrill by using only a few people in small spaces.

Pitt makes his third appearance in a WWII epic after Inglourious Basterds and Fury. He is suitably charismatic in the initial scenes and believably tormented when anguished by the prospect of deception by his love. Cotillard is also stunning in her role as Marianne, the depth in her portrayal causes the audience to be enchanted yet confused by her personality and intents. Cotillard successfully keeps us speculating throughout the film and delivers yet another sensational performance.

Allied is a movie in which all aspects weave together in a seamless fashion, including the exceptional contributions from cinematographer, Don Burgess, and composer Alan Silvestri. It is a charming tribute to Hollywood films of the golden age, filled with politics, action, romance and wit depicted through effervescently chic movie stars.

Find out more here!

7 Best Apps of 2016

We’re becoming increasingly dependent on our smartphones to contact friends and family, stream movies and TV shows, capture precious memories and countless other tasks. But our phones would be of little use without the apps that instill them with innovative new controls. These are City Beat’s seven must-have iPhone and Android apps of 2016.

1. Pokémon Go

Price: Free

The little critters that sparked a global obsession in the 90’s have now reached the smartphone age. This game requires players to explore the real world in a quest to gain new Pokémon creatures. The app uses your phone’s built-in camera to make it seem like the characters from the game are in your actual environment. Through creatively combining smartphones with a much-loved franchise, game maker, Niantic, crafted a sensation.

To find out more: Pokémon Go Homepage

2. Snapchat

Price: Free

Although Snapchat was released in 2011, it’s unquestionably soared in popularity this year, particularly with the app’s “Chat 2.0” update in March – which allows individual chats, phone calls and even video calls. You can also keep up to date with news and events as a wide range of large organisations now present their stories in an accessible form for Snapchat.

3. Bitmoji

Price: Free

Bitmoji allows you to express your thoughts through stickers when words just aren’t enough. Users are able to create personalised avatars that take shape in emoji-like stickers. These novel little emojis have certainly taken off this year, especially since they can be accessed directly through your keyboard.

4. Boomerang

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Boomerang is considered one of Instagram’s top spinoff apps. It creates animated GIFs (short videos played on a loop) through capturing a burst of still images that can then be shared to popular social media platforms such as Facebook or Whatsapp. It’s nifty for those looking to create more unique content for their feeds – check out the short preview below!

5. Cash

Price: Free

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Splitting a restaurant bill or a taxi fare with friends can be a hassle, particularly when no one has cash on hand. Square has designed this convenient app to directly transfer money between friends or family, for free. You can now pay your friends back instantly with a few clicks of on your phone. Sign up now! 

6. Day One Journal

Price: £3.99

Reading through your old journal can be a fulfilling sentiment, but it’s a practice that requires too much effort for many. So why not try Day One Journal? It enables you to easily and efficiently document your thoughts and photos daily. Plus, the app saves your entries to the cloud, so your memories will never be lost.

7. Bandsintown

Price: Free

If you’ve ever struggled to track down good gigs in your area, Bandsintown can help. The app immediately notifies you when your favourite artists are in town through examining your personal music collection. Additionally, the calendar display can show you all performers in the area if you want to change up your usual tunes.

What are your best iPhone and Android apps? Tell us in the comments section or let us know which of these are your favourite!