‘Second Act’ || Private screening & My thoughts

*warning mild spoliers*

Last night I, can we believe it, was invited to a private screening of the one and only JLo’s new film ‘Second Act’. After a busy day, getting caught in the rain and then being snowed on all whilst just walking to the Soho Hotel, it was so nice to sit in a warm room and watch a film which was actually good.

As mentioned in my last screening blogpost for Mary Queen of Scots, I want to watch more films this year and so far I’ve watched two – which is progress considering I only made it to the cinema a handful of times throughout the whole of last year.

So far, so good! ‘Second Act’ starring Jennifer Lopez as Maya Vargas, is a chick flick filled with female empowerment and comedy whilst still having purpose and depth to the storyline.

I’ll be honest when I first watched the trailer although I thought it was going to be good, I didn’t expect it to be as good as it was or have such a momentous storyline.

In the film, apart the fact from JLO looked like a goddess, she switched her celebrity life to play a 43 year old discount super market worker who was underpaid, underappreciated and underqualified.

This didn’t stop her however, through a hell of a lot of laughter (seriously, the whole room was laughing out loud) we saw Maya go from local supermarket underachiever to landing her dream job as she her wish really became her command – you’ll have to watch to find out!

‘No relationship built on a lie will last’, a standout token from an abundance of motivational movie lines which Maya Vargas learnt in business, her relationship and family. Even though she thought she finally had what she wanted, was she really about what she had and how she got it?

The entire cast worked cohesively together, complimenting each other. Jennifer’s Co-stars Leah Remini and Vanessa Hudgens added a bright spark to the set as they both help and hinder her in different ways to all in all make this a great female led film.

Overall I would say this film is a must see! There is something for everyone from lots of comedy to a romance, relationship issues and hidden twists it really does pack a punch into an hour and a half.

‘Second Act’ is out in UK cinema’s this Friday and you can pre-order tickets NOW!

FUN FACT: I actually vlogged for the first ever time yesterday too so if you want to see my immediate reaction after watching and what else I got up to yesterday watch the video below:

As always thanks for the support, let me know in the comments/on social media if you go and watch the film and also let me know if you actually like these film opinion type pieces.

See you next time!!!

Rita Ora ‘Phoenix’ Review

After 6 long years since the release of Ora’s debut she’s back stronger than ever, refreshed after as she’s rose like a ‘Phoenix’ from the ashes.

Following, at one point what felt like a never ending occurrence of pushback, label difficulties and whatever else stood in her way; Rita Ora made sure to never be defeated as she inspiringly kept herself busy and in the spotlight exploring her other talents.

Ora has done more than enough to prove she can do it all; from topping the charts, acting, modelling, hosting, judging and designing she’s established herself as a true 360 entertainer, however, she’s reinstated her relevance in the music industry with the release of her sophomore album ‘Phoenix’.

The album, released on November 23, boats a respectable 16 tracks including hit singles ‘Your song’, ‘Anywhere’ and her hugely successful Fifty Shades of Grey collaboration with Liam Payne ‘For You’.

There’s no denying that Rita has the vocals, the look and the ability to churn out hit after hit and Phoenix charmingly showcases her talent making for a strong return to music.

Opening with one of her, and notably one of 2017’s, standout singles ‘Anywhere’ the introduction offers an upbeat pop-electro hazy dance moment which still sounds so fresh before entering her current single ‘Let You Love Me’. Let you love me, an interesting outpour of about letting your guard down in order to let someone in intertwined into a catchy light EDM edged pop knife.

‘New look’ kicks off the string of new material with an assertive sassy manner. Rita excels in the enticingly pulsating catchiness of the chorus which leaves you wanting to hit the replay button; whilst ‘First Time High’ presents vibrant strings in an effervescent dance pop bubble gum pop number.

Despite the new offerings previously released hits, such as female anthem girls ‘Girls’, ‘Your Song’ and Avicii collaboration ‘Lonely Together’ aren’t forgotten as they receive a new lease of life. Not to mention her Fifty Shades of Grey collaboration with Liam Payne ‘For You’ which led Ora to adopt a cinematic drama into ‘Hell of a life’ whilst heading back to familiar territory with the euphoric, summer penetrated, drum and bass smash ‘Summer Love’.

Although there’s an up tempo, feel good energy infused throughout the album, ‘Phoenix’, intertwines subdued moments with the muted pop ballad ‘Only Want You’ as she opens up about the need for one particular person. Another impressive difference on the album is the sultry ‘Cashmere’ which possess an R and B imbue for the ultimate ‘in your feels’ promiscuous playlist.

Amongst the quintessential pop album, Ora also offers an experimental side in her new material. With the jazzy, feel good rapturous ‘Velvet Rope’ in which she curates an effervescent trumpet laced ballad; along with jubilant, groovy number Julia Michaels assisted ‘Keep Talking’ ‘as they take the high road’ serving all the dreamy high notes against a contrasting bold electronic backing Rita proves she won’t shy away when it comes to exploring.

Finishing the album is ‘Soul Survivor’ in which fans get to see an explicitly honest insight into her truth and the personal struggle of the past few years as she reflects on her turbulent journey to the release of her second album. The powerful track hones in on her vocal aptitude as she bares all behind a beautifully simplistic, graceful piano instrumental unequivocally becoming one of the strongest highlights of her album.

Overall ‘Phoenix’ is cohesive, interesting and diverse curating an impressive follow up to ‘Ora’ where she dives into deep end of the music industry managing to keep her career afloat as she ensures the wait was worthwhile making up for the six-year music drought.

9/10

Let me know what you think of the album over on Twitter and send me over any suggestions of other albums to review.

APPLE MUSIC UP NEXT: H.E.R LONDON PREMIER

Sometimes I see competitions on social media, enter them and then as expected never hear anything back from them. This was the case when I saw that Apple Music was hosting an exclusive launch for their new Up Next artist, H.E.R.

I entered the competition to attend the premiere of her new short film and to see her perform. I checked my emails a few days later to find a reply with priority tickets attached and this is I guess why I’m making this post.

Apple Music designed it’s ‘Up Next artists’ to promote emerging talent. They choose a new artist every month offering them exposure through live TV performances, a live EP and their own short feature film.

Previously chosen artists amongst the roster have been the likes of incredible new talent from Billie Eilish, Khalid and 6lack to Sigrid, Stefflon Don and Daniel Ceaser.

This month’s artist was H.E.R an interesting anonymous identity R and B artists with honey smooth vocals somewhat of an Alicia Keys evolution. She launched into mainstream success after working with Daniel Ceaser on the effortlessly perfect ‘Best Part’.

Since then she went on to release her most recent projects of solo material with ‘I Used To Know Her: The Prelude’ and recently followed up with ‘I Used To Know Her: Part 2’ which dropped November 2nd.

The event was held at Porchester Hall and with a queue wrapping round the venue, the excitement buzzed through the cold weather as everyone was eager to get inside.

The night started with a humorous introduction from Beats 1 radio’s Julie Adenuga as she joked on stage before introducing H.E.R and rolling the feature film. The short video gave us fans an insight into the background of H.E.R’s career, what inspires her and how she got into music.

As the clip came to an end it was time for the real show to start; the screen rose and we were welcomed with a jazzy instrumental from her phenomenally talented band before she entered the stage, shades down with her pearly whites glowing as she oozed a cool, calm and collected energy.

Her impressive set consisted of a variety of her beautifully crafted songs from her diverse discography as show switched from up-tempo vibrant jazz inspired tracks and melancholic hard hitters to acoustic sing-a-longs and catchy pure R and B.

The night was undeniably special and amazing to be able to see her live after watching her success rise over the past year and a half. She is definitely an artist to watch and I’m excited to see what’s next for H.E.R and which artist will be selected next month.

 

Check out H.E.R and discover her Up Next feature here and click the video below to see what me and my girlfriend got up to on the night.

Arun