What to Watch? Reviews of Movies Showing Now, June 8-10, 2018

Going to the movies this weekend? Check out the reviews for the flicks showing now below.

Ocean’s 8

Ocean’s 8 is a heist caper that looks gorgeous, keeps the twists coming and bounces along on a comic rhythm that’s impossible to resist. What more do you want in summer escapism?” Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

It may have a glittering A-list cast, but Ocean’s 8 is as disappointing as the fake diamonds used to replace the real thing in the film’s big heist.” Jason di Rosso, ABC

 

Deadpool 2

“While the action is brilliantly shot and executed, the comedy smartly doubles up as a social commentary on racism, sexism, body shaming and sexual harassment. Boasting of some great unsuspecting cameos, the story humanises Deadpool, without letting go of what makes him different — deviant ways, indulgence in gory violence, sarcasm and narcissism.” Renuka Vyavahare, Times of India

“From its smug but dated pop culture references (there’s a recurring joke about dubstep, hinged on the 2012 Skrillex track Bangarang) to the frantic, barely comprehensible cutting, there’s very little to enjoy here. Dispensing with the brightness of the MCU but clinging to the franchise’s self-referential quippery and fan pandering makes for the worst of both imagined worlds.” Simran Hans, the Guardian

 

Solo: A Star Wars Story

““Solo: A Star Wars Story” gets the job done with little fuss, but also with precious little finesse. It might arguably succeed in teeing up the cinematic narrative that would change movies forever. But in both substance and execution, it bears but a whisper of the revolution to come.” Ann Hornaday, the Washington Post

“For [director Ron] Howard’s part, his greatest concern seems to being making sure everyone hits their mark and says their lines. It’s the bare minimum of direction as the score does the heavy lifting rather than injecting an actual personality into this movie.” Matt Goldberg, Collider

 

Hereditary

“Forget the ‘scarier than The Exorcist‘ line (whatever that means) that Hereditary has been tagged with – this is a movie that lives up to the hype on its own terms. Just don’t go to see it at the end of a stressful day. We’re only trying to look out for you.” Hugh Armitage, Digital Spy

“Don’t see this film expecting a thrill — and think twice about seeing it if there’s particular trauma in your past you’d prefer wasn’t evoked — but strongly consider seeing it. Hereditary pushes the horror genre to a different extreme than the one we’re used to, reminding us of the immense gulf between mere “scary” and “horrifying”, and the result is like nothing you’ve ever seen.” Sam Langford, Junkee

 

Which one will you see?

Review: SweetCorea

If you’re an Asian beauty fan, you might have heard about SweetCorea. The shop is well-known for affordable K-beauty and skincare products. However, is it as good as it sounds?

While the website is quite simple, the user experience is not too bad. You can just put in the keyword for the product you’re looking for, and chances are they will have it. The stock ranges from make-up and accessories to skincare, including serums, essence, moisturisers, cleansers and many more. There are also a lot of samples for sale, so if you want to try a product, this could be a good option.

Although the price is often a lot cheaper than RRP, the shipping cost could be quite steep. The heavier your haul is, the higher the shipping fee will be. You can choose to ship via DHL (the most expensive), EMS or registered air mail (the cheapest).

I ordered around nine items and paid through Paypal. In the same day, I received an email from the shop saying one of the items was out of stock, although it was listed as in stock on the website. They gave me an option to get a replacement or a refund. I opted for a refund, and after a follow-up email the next day, they sent the refund, no fuss.

The shipping was really fast, considering it was an international order and I picked the cheapest delivery option available – I ordered on Wednesday, and the parcel arrived on my door on Monday. The products were well-packaged, and I also received a lot of free sample-sized packs of eye mask. While I couldn’t 100 per cent be sure, the products do seem and feel like they are original, and the expiry dates are a while away, which is nice.

I found it a little weird that the out-of-stock products were advertised as in stock (although the shop representative said in an email that they would be restocked in two weeks). However, I found the experience to be positive, and I would definitely order at SweetCorea again for my next K-beauty haul.

+:

  • Affordable, competitive price
  • Responsive customer service
  • Quick turnaround time
  • Large range of products

-:

  • High shipping fee
  • Ordered products may turn out to be out of stock

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Review: Chatime

The bubble tea market in Australia is quite heavily saturated today, but some brands still manage to stay on top of all their competitors. One of those brands is Chatime.

Founded in Taiwan, Chatime is now open in over 1,000 locations around the globe. There are more than 60 branches in Australia today – generally speaking, if you live in a metro area, you can quite easily find a shop.

Chatime offers the general bubble tea menu: tea drinks with various flavours, from milky to fruity (or both) and topping options (pearl balls, jellies, aloe vera and more). Prices start at $4.8, but generally a portion of iced tea with toppings will set you back by $5.5-6.5.

How’s the taste? Well, I think it’s great. The tea is fresh and not too strong, which some may dislike. With some other brands, milk tea tends to taste curdly and overly creamy; but Chatime’s milk tea, while indeed sweet, will still leave your tastebuds feeling light and refreshed.

The pearl is the highlight here. It has the perfect size (not too big to be a choking hazard, but not too small that you will swallow it unknowingly), consistency (soft yet chewy, giving it a nice bite), and level of sweetness.

The downside? Generally, normal level of sugar is too sweet – but you can always control the sweetness level, with either no added sugar (0%), just a little (30%), or half the regular (50%). It’s also not the cheapest in the market, but you can purchase a loyalty (or as they say, Loyal-TEA) card for 50 cents to earn points and get discounts or free drinks in your coming purchases.

+:

  • Taste
  • Wide range of flavours
  • Great toppings (especially the pearl)

-:

  • Could be too sweet
  • Not the most affordable in the market

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Amazon’s Styling Assistant: How Do People Like It?

Would you let an algorithm dress you?

This is the whole premise of Amazon Echo Look, which is described as “the first artificially intelligent style assistant with Alexa”. In other words, “now Alexa helps you look your best”. At the moment, Echo Look is only available by request, but the retail giant indicated that the product would move to general availability later this year with expected price of $199.

Before you decide to spend your bucks, read the following reviews from people who have tried the device.

Allyson Payer, WhoWhatWear

“More often than not, I found myself agreeing with Echo Look’s outfit picks and style advice, which I was somewhat surprised by.”

 

Kyle Chayka, Racked

“The Echo Look won’t tell you why it’s making its decisions. And yet it purports to show us our ideal style, just as algorithms like Netflix recommendations, Spotify Discover, and Facebook and YouTube feeds promise us an ideal version of cultural consumption tailored to our personal desires.”

 

Haley Nahman, ManRepeller

“I used StyleCheck to get Alexa’s opinion. Apparently she (aka the algorithm) takes fit, color, styling and trends into considering, a.k.a. more than I take into consideration. She went gray/green, and tbh, I agreed.”

 

Erin Jensen, USA Today

“The thought of sending the Echo Look back makes me feel like I’m losing my most stylish friend… that I know isn’t just passive-aggressively sabotaging me because she’s jealous. While I don’t see the personal need to use Echo Look every day, for nights out and special occasions I’ll miss giving Alexa a shout.”

Function of Beauty Custom Shampoo and Conditioner: How Do People Like It?

Everything is about personalisation these days – and now, there’s a haircare company on board. Function of Beauty offers shampoos and conditioners that are developed to suit your hair type, goals and preferences. “Each set is uniquely formulated for you once you place your order, with an unlimited number of possible,” the brand says on its website. Their products are also free of sulphate and paraben. You can get a set of 236ml shampoo and conditioner for US$31 as a one-off purchase or a subscription that’s delivered to your door every month, two months or three months.

How’s the order process like, and do the products fare to the promise? Check out the following reviews from the customers…

 

Avery Hartmans, Business Insider

“After using the products as directed, my hair was shiny and manageable and had a decent amount of volume. While I didn’t notice a major difference between my hair after using a drugstore brand versus using Function of Beauty, I did see good results.

One caveat: My roots seemed to get oily earlier in the day after using the Function of Beauty products than they usually did.”

 

Anjli Mehta, Brit+Co

“After using this set, I found myself reaching for less product each day because I didn’t feel like my hair really needed any help from a wave spray or shine serum and less product meant less build-up. This set gave me a whole extra day between washes — and I’m talking a hair-down kind of day.”

 

Amanda Raphael, Tricks & Trucco

“I just wasn’t blown away by anything this product was doing for me… all the benefits I enjoyed from this product weren’t exactly unique – I’ve experienced all the Pros above (softness, oil control, healthy scalp) from other shampoos because I found that for me, those benefits were all tied to the fact that the other shampoos also don’t contain parabens or sulfates.

In my ~humble~ opinion, it’s not worth it to pay 137% more per oz for a product that I think performs equally as well as another product I’ve used before. While I do actually really like the Function of Beauty shampoo and I’m glad I tried it (and will be continuing to use it because I paid $36 for it), I will most likely NOT be repurchasing it unless a boat ton of money comes my way.”

 

Khalea Underwood, Refinery29

“I know that shampoo is meant to clarify, but my natural oils felt stripped immediately, and it lathered way too much — usually a sign that there are surfactants in the formula. The conditioner wasn’t much better. I like to use a formula that moisturizes and defines my curls at the same time, to take some of the work out of my styling process. After trying this one, I ended up having to overcompensate with my leave-in conditioner and curling cream because the wash depleted my moisture.”

Best Fashion Reviewers

Have you ever gone window shopping online and wondered if the clothes looked as good as they did on the website? With the increasing number of reviewers out there, it is now easier to check on the trustworthiness of certain brands. You can find great reviews on this website (of course), but if you’re looking for fashion houses that haven’t been reviewed here yet, you can check these people out. Their reviews are not only insightful, but also funny and relatable. Here they are…

Safiya Nygaard

Safiya tries out various Internet-famous brands that you may have never dared to try.

 

Patricia Bright

Patricia doesn’t hold back when it comes to reviewing, with hauls amounting to hundreds of dollars.

Review: Burger Project

Today, we’re venturing the fast food territory with a review of Burger Project. The burger franchise, which has a dozen of branches in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, is part of the hospitality giant Rockpool Dining Group. Dubbed as “fast food with slow food values”, the burgers are claimed to be “made with 100% grass fed beef from Cape Grim in North Western Tasmania, home to the purest air in the world and some of the most pristine pastures on the planet.” This sounds good and all, but how does the dining experience compare to this description?

The restaurants have a relaxed yet still sophisticated setting, with minimalist concept and light, neutral colours. The orders are made at the counter – here, you can also customise your burgers as needed, whether you prefer your patties well-done or your burgers without tomatoes. Can’t visit the store? You can also order online through Deliveroo.

Now to the main reason we’re here: the food. Burger Project offers a fair variety of food, including beef and chicken burgers, the vegetarian mushroom burgers, house-produced ice creams, shakes, and even wine, beer and cider. Prices for the burgers start from $9.9 – quite reasonable, although I believe it could be a bit lower.

How’s the taste? It’s great – the patties have a certain savoury, umami flavour that pairs very well with the sauces and cheese. The milk buns are soft and lovely – I know some people prefer the tougher, sesame-sprinkled buns, but I think these buns are perfect to match the juicy patties. The shakes are also quite spectacular – while all the flavours are great, the chocolate is the real highlight due to the use of Valrhona chocolate that provides a rich, complex, yet still sweet taste.

The fried chicken katsu burgers, on the other hand, are a bit dry on its own. The condiments, especially the red chili sauce in the Spicy Fried Chicken Katsu burger, help a bit, but they couldn’t solve the problem completely. The chips also have quite oily, occasionally hard texture. You can opt for no salt on the chips, or choose from the three available options: regular salt, chipotle chili salt and Sichuan pepper salt. I find the regular salt to be kind of bland, but the chipotle chili salt gives a nice flavour kick.

The portion is alright – it is quite filling, but I believe it could be bigger especially considering the price. The burgers are of a similar size to Loaded by BL’s hamburger, which only costs $6.

In short, Burger Project is great if you want quality tasty burgers quickly. Even if you’re not out to eat, the shakes are reason enough to make you want to visit a store. However, if you have insatiable hunger, there are more affordable options out there.

+:

  • Tasty burgers
  • Great shakes
  • Good vibe
  • Delivery options

-:

  • A little pricey for the genre
  • Room for improvement for the chips

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Review: Style Story

Are you a fan of Asian beauty products? Then you might have heard of Style Story, a Brisbane-based online boutique specialising in Korean beauty brands.

The company has employees based in both Australia and Seoul, South Korea to deliver the latest K-Beauty products. It’s also an authorised distributor of well-known names such as Missha, Benton, COSRX, Holika Holika, Etude House and Tosowoong. With features on various Australian publications and active presence on social media, Style Story sure looks trustworthy. But how does the ordering experience compare?

Let’s just get it straight – Style Story does not offer the most competitive prices. You can find the same products for cheaper on other websites that deliver to Australia. For example, COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch is sold at $7.95, while iHerb offers the same thing at $4.43 and YESSTYLE at $4.81 at the time of writing. This might partly be due to the Australian tax, which has (rightly) been blamed for the high prices of imported beauty products.

However, the fact that Style Story is based in-country also an advantage – your coverage based on the Australian Consumer Law could hold more weight compared with the offshore websites. They also have faster (not cheaper) shipping, allowing you to enjoy your hauls sooner.

Style Story has a pretty limited focus on skincare – this means you won’t find any hair products, hand creams or nail polishes. It does, however, offer a great variety of brands, more than the aforementioned competitors. It also provides the option to buy sample sizes for certain products, allowing you to try them before committing to getting the full size. Oh, and another plus: the store always gives away free product samples with every purchase. I got Thank You Farmer Deep Cream and COSRX Whitehead Power Liquid with my first order, which I truly appreciated.

Style Story also offers the payment option of bank transfer, if you feel iffy about putting your credit card details online. Otherwise, you can pay through Paypal for the buyer protection.

All in all, is Style Story the best destination for K-Beauty products? If you would like to support or prefer dealing with an Australian business, yes. If you already know what products you need and want the best prices, maybe other online boutiques will suit your needs better.

+:

  • Australian-based
  • Wide variety of brands
  • Free samples with purchase
  • Good customer service

-:

  • More expensive prices
  • Limited range of products

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

 

Review: Femme Fatale

Femme Fatale is a Brisbane-based online retailer for beauty items, including handmade cosmetics and fragrances, from artisan and indie brands. Although they mostly source products from the US, they also have their own cosmetics and nail polish brands. However, today I’m going to review the online shop as a whole rather than the in-house brands.

Femme Fatale offers a wide range of beauty products from over 40 brands, from eyeshadows and nail polishes to soaps and perfume oils. Australian fans of indie cosmetics can rejoice as this store stocks many cult American brands, including Arcana, Epically Epic Soaps, Hello Waffle Cosmetics, and Sixteen92 – who doesn’t love cheaper and faster shipping? Furthermore, there are also special items from these brands which are made exclusively for Femme Fatale.

All the shipping options offered (starting from $7.70 for domestic destinations) include insurance, giving customers a peace of mind. My delivery came with two small sweets and a handwritten note, which gave a nice, personal touch!

As indie cosmetics is a very niche market, Femme Fatale also knows the importance of maintaining customer loyalty. There’s a half-monthly sale on select products. By subscribing to the newsletter or joining the Facebook fan group, you can get information on special offers before anyone else. You can also join the Beauty Collective membership group or subscribe to their Emporium Beauty Box (sent out every two months) to enable even more of your shopping desires.

What’s the downside? Well, if you are buying at Femme Fatale, you will generally be paying more than the US consumers for the same products, but this could be attributed to the Australia Tax as well as the cost of shipping and stocking. Also, a lot of the products are sold exclusively in full sizes, which means that customers cannot buy samples before deciding to commit – less accessibility for the budget-stricken.

All in all, if you’re interested in indie makeups and bath and body products, Femme Fatale could be your next go-to shop.

 

+:

  • Wide variety of products and brands
  • Good shipping options
  • Great customer service
  • Exclusive products

 

-:

  • Slightly more expensive than the original stores
  • Limited sample sizes option

 

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Review: YouFoodz

As more and more Australians are becoming more health-conscious, the food industry follows through. There are now a lot of brands offering healthy, ready-to-eat meals for busy Australians who don’t have the time to cook (or, like me, prefer the convenience). YouFoodz is one of them. With a wide range of “ready to eat fresh meals” lasting 7-9 days in the fridge, YouFoodz claimed that “you’ll never eat frozen again”. The brand offers free delivery to metro cities and some rural areas, or you can simply purchase their meals at one of the stockists. I opted for the latter – so for the purpose of this review, I’m going to review their meals and not their delivery service.

The company says they “have super clean options” as well as “flavoursome healthy alternatives that will help you keep your sanity”. Indeed, I agree with most reviewers out there that YouFoodz’s meals are tasty and filling. Flamin’ Chicken, or YouFoodz’s version of chicken and chips, is well-spiced and comes with heavenly mayo-based dipping sauce. I find the Portuguese BBQ Chicken kind of bland on the part of the chicken, but it has the best sweet potato fries I’ve had in life. Other dishes, such as Chicken Katsu Curry and Homemade Brekky Pie, are also great. I also love the variety that YouFoodz offer – you can have pasta, rice, pie, enchilada, and even sweet snacks.

Now to the negatives. As a person who tracks calories, I find the nutritional information to be a bit suspect, as some of them don’t exactly add up. Let’s use the Chicken Katsu Curry as an example: taking the calculation from this, the calorie count should at least be 379.7, but YouFoodz claims it contains 350 calories.

Furthermore, YouFoodz might not be compatible to people with certain dietary requirements. They indeed have preference options for customers to choose – from “clean” to “relaxed” menu, as well as vegetarian options – but people with intolerances might not have the same availability. While YouFoodz have options for meals with no dairy, gluten, egg or nuts added, their allergen disclaimer says, “there may be traces of products such as milk, eggs, gluten, seafood, peanuts and other nuts in the meals. Therefore, we cannot guarantee a total absence of these products in any of our meals.”

Finally, the price. At an average of $9.95 per regular lunch/dinner meal, the cost is quite reasonable but still a bit steep compared with regular frozen meals. It all truly depends on the customers’ budget and desire for healthy, convenient food – but for me, YouFoodz may not be the wisest choice for my everyday meal due to the price.

All in all, should you try YouFoodz? If you prefer not to cook yourself, YouFoodz might be a great pick for healthy and (actually) tasty food. However, if you have limited budget and/or certain allergies, a one-off purchase might help make your mind.

+:

  • Healthy
  • Convenient
  • Tasty food
  • Great variety

-:

  • May pose a risk for people with dietary requirements
  • More costly

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars