App Alert! Flixster

Thursday, 30 January 2014

I'm not a million apps type of girl. In fact I'm pretty much a technophobe (I didn't even get an iPhone until 2012 and I'm pretty much crap with computers in general). But as an actor and movie fan this app is right up my street.

Flixster, the app version of the American social movie site is available for free on iPhone, Android, Windows and Blackberry.
It allows you to browse current box office films, find out cast information, watch trailers and check out Rotten Tomatoes ratings  (Fresh Red tomatoes = 60% or more critics rated positively. Rotten Green tomatoes: 59% or less rated positively) and reviews.

It also uses your location info to tell you where the nearest cinemas are and you can add your usual screens to the favourites section.
My fave bit is checking out upcoming films, as there's a good mix of blockbusters and indie flicks. You can create your own 'Want to See' list too - currently on my list are:

  1. Blue is the Warmest Colour
  2. Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom
  3. Dallas Buyers Club
  4. Her
  5. An Oversimplification of her Beauty
Some of those are defo way overdue, I need to get a move on!
Shanika Says: if you're into film, this app is for you.

Devil's Due

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Devil's Due made me feel sick. Not because I was terrified or even because I was repeatedly shoveling popcorn into my mouth, my eyes trained on the screen. It was because of the incredibly derivative use of home video camera (thank you Blair Witch Project for making every horror film maker think shaky hand-held camera footage and night vision is a good idea).
Devil's Due also added CCTV and home security camera footage, you know, to mix it up.

Basically, the film is about newlyweds Zach ( Zach Gilford) and Samantha McCall (Allison Miller). Zach has a thing where he wants to film every moment of their lives so all their memories are recorded, all very post-modern. This works in moments of celebration, the wedding, the honeymoon, family dinners but there is no reason for it to be on when Sam comes downstairs with a pregnancy test because the pregnancy is unplanned and Zach wasn't expecting this. Nobody films as much as this couple, not even Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.

The couple honeymoon in the Dominican Republic (cue adventure cam while they zipwire) and on a hazy last night, they meet a taxi driver who takes them to an underground local club and gets them very drunk. The title of the film may give you a bit of clue as to what happens next...but let's just say this Immaculate Conception is far from holy.

75% of this film, directed by Tyler Gillet and Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, is a snore-fest; the lead characters aren't engaging enough for you to really care about them when weird things happen, even when vegetarian Sam eats raw meat in a supermarket. They aren't interesting enough or funny enough and the odd happenings throughout her pregnancy aren't rapid or extreme enough to scare or hold the audience's interest.

The action only really picks up in the last 15 minutes, by which time I was nauseous and bored, so just wanted it to end.

Shanika-Says don't waste your money on this one. Any tension in or fear in this horror was well overdue.

*Images sourced from Google


You will always want what's not yours
What you had once
What you miss now
What they have to see why it's so great
You never truly treasure how fragile the heart in your hand is until you drop it and you can't pick up the pieces

Secret Sufi

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Sufi is (now was?) a secret of mine.
Because, you know, not every night do you want to be trying out new restaurants, booking the hip 'it' spots or going to launches only to discover the food is dead out and the waitress is sooo rude you're pretty sure she phlegmmed in your soup. Sometimes you don't want to drive across London only to find nowhere to park or get the Tube to what Google says is the nearest station, for you to have a half hour walk on your hands.

On those nights, you want something hearty, large portions, lovely flavours and easy smiles. You go somewhere you've been before, somewhere comfortable, unpretentious and reliable. Sufi is like that for me.

Proper Persian food as recommended by an Iranian girl I met once, Sufi happens to be located on Askew Road in West London, right near the street I grew up on so great for a bit of nostalgia. It's small but has long tables in the back portion of the restaurant so suitable for large parties and it gets plenty of locals in every night of the week. They also do a take-away service.

I've taken a few dates there (lol) but this week I took a friend. They have a large kiln near the entrance where they make the lovely bread I always get for starters and we had aubergine and yoghurt and garlic dips.

If like me you hate olives, you can still give Sufi's olives a try. They are served in a pomegranate juice so are really really sweet and the only olives I can ever eat. Fact.

Everything about Sufi is traditional. Simple decor, soft lighting, cultural murals and paintings on the walls and a sweet fragrance in the air that is less cloying than incense but still gives that Eastern feel.
The food is simple and filling. My friend had the flat lamb with half basmati rice and half green salad (my meat eater mates love this).

I usually go for the grilled salmon which is always succulent and delicious but this time I went for the aubergine stew.

It was very tomatoey and I would've preferred it a bit spicier but I still ate loads and couldn't actually finish it. The portions look regular but are deceptive, you can never quite eat it all...

Well the Sufi Secret is out. Shanika Says if you're bored of fancy, go traditional. Or don't and I can keep it to myself.

I would link the restaurants website but it weirdly seems to have been hacked!

Just Peachy

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Photos by B.A.Tman

Coat: Charity shop £9.50
Shirt: Topman
Jeans: H&M
Boots: H&M
Lipstick: Christian Dior, Pink Comedy

This post is mainly just to show off my amazing bargain of a coat. This January sales I promised myself I wouldn't spend much, and apart from a tiny slip up in Topshop, I kept to it! I needed a winter coat and I found this one on a charity shop scout in Southampton just after Christmas. I also managed to get a velvet top and a playsuit (£2 and £4 respectively) but this coat was the prize and for less than a tenner! It's a size 14 but I think it looks better a little oversized anyway and I love the buttons, they remind me of the kind of coat my dad has been wearing for years on end. The peach colour is a bit more wearable than all the candy pink coats that are out at the moment and it's pure wool so nice and warm.

What are some of your favourite thrifted pieces?

Product Review: Tresemme Liquid Gold

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

I have been a big fan of hair oil since someone gave me a bottle of the one that kicked off the whole craze: Moroccan Oil, in their distinctive brown, blue and orange packaging. It smelt lush and made my hair as soft as a babies bum. After using that for a while, a Moroccan friend brought me back some pure Argan oil, the active ingredient, from a trip to Morocco. Now while this definitely didn't smell as nice it still did the trick.
For some unknown reason, after that ran out I kinda just...stopped using oil on my hair. With all the dye and heat damage I put my hair through, my hair has finally had enough and is now getting it's own back by trying to make me look like Worzel Gummidge. I'm sorry hair! Gosh!

I was going to give the L'Oreal hair oil a try but I saw this Tresemme one in my local Boots and since I use Tresemme shampoo and conditioner decided I would give it a whirl. It's also only £6.99 so doesn't break the bank and isn't much to spend if you're skeptical about trying a hair oil (You can buy here). Plus I'm a sucker for good marketing and this is called Liquid Gold. That just sounds like it's going to make my hair all Rapunzel-like doesn't it?

Liquid Gold doesn't disappoint, it smells delicious and isn't greasy, as it says 'instant absorption'. After just one use my hair felt softer and the flyaway bits at the front are tamed with just one drop. I tend to rub a couple of drops through the lengths of my hair (I have quite long hair) and rub any residue over the front, then tie up in a top-knot before jumping in the shower, as I find the steam always activates products in my hair. The 'restorative formula' can be used every day to manage and protect hair, both Pre and Post-Styling, on dry or damp hair.

Shanika Says: if your hair needs treasuring, treat it to some Liquid Gold.  

The Wolf of Wall Street

Monday, 13 January 2014


With awards season well upon us, so comes the time of too many good films to watch and not enough time.
January is a cold, crappy month generally anyway so I enjoy cinema date nights and trips so see films with friends over getting my legs out to go raving.
Much of the talk of swooping the awards board has been for 12 Years A Slave, Gravity and American Hustle. Now American Hustle was a quirky, funny piece set in the 70's with comedy wigs and amazing fashion as well as complex and damaged characters, brilliantly pulled off by Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams; nominations are well deserved.Gravity I felt was overrated if I'm honest, I wasn't as gripped by the story as I had expected to be given the hype.
12 Years A Slave may be one of the most important films of recent years. I was so touched and disturbed by that film, and the talents of Chiwetel Ejiofor. Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong'o and director Steve McQueen, that I can't even find the words to do it justice let alone review.

But Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street is turning out to be that little sneaky one and Leonardo di Caprio won Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy at the Golden Globes, because frankly, his performance as 'the Wolf' is AMAZING.

Based on the true story of Jordan Belfort who's stock brokerage made millions in the Nineties, and not very scrupulously either, his main talent was gas. This man could gas people up! He could sell dreams to people, which made him a great broker, a great business owner and a great philanderer. The penetrating charisma and haphazard, drug fuelled mania of Belfort could only be pulled off by di Caprio as far as I'm concerned.
The film charts Belfort's rise and documents the ridiculously debauched life he and his friends and colleagues led; mansions, helicopters, Coco Chanel's old yacht that he sank in the Med...he did a lot. It's a wonder they survived the amount of drugs and prostitutes they all used to be honest (we're talking hookers at work, doing lines off breasts and a bizarre midget throwing contests in the office here). Full on depravity, that typically of Hollywood does look bloody fun.
Eventually, the FBI's investigation was able to get enough to bring him down and Belfort was involved in an elaborate undercover investigation as a mole in exchange for a much reduced sentence. He's lost the millions, the mansion and the model wife, but he's still making a hell of a lot as one of those inspirational business seminar guys (to be fair he's got fuckloads of money to still pay back so you can't blame him for the high fees) and has made money from his auto-biographies, which have resulted in the film.

There are lots of really pivotal smaller characters in the film such as his dad 'Mad Max' Belfort (Rob Reiner) and Aunt Emma (Joanna Lumley) but the two supporting actors who really make this film are his second wife Naomi Lapaglia (Margot Robbie) and the guy who said he would work for him after meeting in a diner, Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill).
Di Caprio and Hill look like they could genuinely be friends, the hysterical antics the two immoral stockbrokers got up to looks so seamless. There are some brilliant slow motion scenes of the pair high as fuck and a hilarious although terrifying scene after they take some old Quaaludes and are rendered practically paralysed.

The relationship between di Caprio and Margot Robbie who plays his bombshell wife Naomi also sizzles with the kind of torment and passion I imagine copious amounts of money, cocaine and infidelity bring. The chemistry between the pair was a good match and I LOVED her Italian New Yorker accent. 

 The film is over the top with the recklessly luxe lifestyle and I loved the narrating style of Belfort's character throughout the film, sometimes off screen and sometimes with di Caprio looking directly into camera, charming the audience just as he did everyone else.
I can't wait to see how the Wolf of Wall Street performs at the Oscars. I think it might just be the surprise contender.

Shanika Says: go watch! The Wolf of Wall Street is in cinemas now.

*All images sourced from Google

London Short Film Festival

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Yesterday I headed down to the Curzon in Soho to watch a selection of short films as part of the London Short Film Festival. 

I've never attended this particular festival before but I've got more into short films as I worked on developing my own. The Curzon were showing a selection called Fucked Up Love. Interesting! 

I was hugely impressed! The programme comes with a warning, saying the films tackle break-ups, hateful lovers, one night stands and unbridled lust so I was aware it wasn't about to be some candy sweet romance tales, but still some of them were a shock to the system. 'The Birthday Gift' was a slick thriller dealing with the fallout of an affair, 'Large Double Room in Zone 2' showed a funny and inventive look at modern infidelity and a friend of mine even had a film in the programme. 'Pretty Bitch' produced by my friend and 'Victim' co-star Natasha Sparkes and directed by Rebecca Coley was a twisted tale of revenge when love goes wrong. My favourites were 'Things He Never Said' a hilarious comedy starring Ruth Negga and 'Hymns to Pan' by students of the National Film and TV School, a beautifully shot, twisted very modern love story.

The film festival is on until the 19th January with selections like 'Funny Shit', 'Teenage Girls Go Crazy' and 'Celluloid Traces', at a number of different of independent cinemas across London, like the Ritzy, the Curzon, Hackney Picturehouse, The Rio and Riverside Studios so Shanika Says, treat yourself to a day of alternative film fun. Definitely perked up my boring Saturday afternoon I'll tell ya. 

New Year, New Bag

Saturday, 11 January 2014

I do apologise for my long absence from Shanika Says, I had some time off to enjoy a lovely Christmas with my family away from London, a great New Years with friends and then I got struck with an awful virus in the new year which had me bed ridden for a few days and totally out of action. After that I was taken up with a few auditions so I've been super busy! 

Well 2014 is here and with a new year comes a new bag. This little beaut was a Christmas present from my aunt, directly from her boutique on the Isle of Wight and she was named Fern by someone at a project I'm on at the moment. Isn't she pretty? Don't you just want to stroke her? Strangers do, frequently. 

With the new year comes a new diary and I'm utilising the hell out of my 2014 diary already, filling it up with appointments and deadlines and generally trying to be a more organised person than I was last year.  

2014...I'm ready for ya!