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Times, Wednesday, January 25, 2012

at the cinema Keep it casual with this denim shirt, £30 from River Island.

You can find this sequin embellished vest at Next, £58.

Forget the four tops – Jenny Weller has picked out the best 15. Reach out!

Kenneth (Ewan McGregor) and Mallory (Gina Carano, also pictured below) star in Haywire.

Bourne for girls Haywire (15)

M&Co’s striking blue lace top is sure to attract attention, £24.

Sparkle all night long with this embellished number from ASOS, £45.

Mint Velvet is the place to get this highnecked lace beauty, £69.

This pastel pink top is perfect for spring, £22 from Republic. Head to Tu at Sainsbury’s for this bang on trend monochrome shirt, £18.

Stars Channing Tatum, Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Bill Paxton

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fter a promising and exciting beginning to his career, with intelligent, thoughtful and groundbreaking films like the controversial Sex, Lies and Videotape, the contemplative and moody Out of Sight, the worthy Erin Brockovich and the excellent and innovative Traffic putting him on the map, director Steven Soderbergh’s output has become increasingly dreary and dumbed-down as his career has progressed. Having flogged the Ocean’s series until it became self-indulgent and smug, he made the below par and

less well-received The Informant! and the unappealing and alienating The Good German. Then came the generic Contagion, providing further evidence that Soderbergh has fallen into a habit of making unengaging movies that prize style over substance and with which audiences struggle to connect. And so to Haywire, his most mindless movie yet. When undercover operative Mallory Kane (MMA star Gina Carano) is deployed to an operation overseas that goes awry, she finds she’s been set up. Desperate to protect her family, she goes on the run, heading back to the US to wreak revenge on those who betrayed her. With his recent announcement that he plans to give up making movies to paint instead, watching Haywire is like watching Soderbergh bid adieu to his early promise – and it’s like witnessing him falling out of love with the medium he once held dear. That isn’t to say the film is totally without merit. Presumably made purposely as a vehicle for MMA fighter Carano, the film has brutal, adrenaline-packed

scenes of hand-to-hand combat that really get the blood rushing. And any movie that has a gutsy, feisty female should be okay in everybody’s book; she’s up there alongside The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s Lisbeth Salander as a kick-ass modern-day action heroine. The film also comprises some unexpected despatches (always a thrill) and with a cast including Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, Michael Fassbender, Antonio Banderas and Channing Tatum, those are some pretty big names to potentially meet the business end of a Carano kick. With the main hook being the fact that Mallory is, in essence, a female Jason Bourne (albeit with memory intact), the rest of the story can go hang, it seems, as far as Soderbergh is concerned. The string of visually striking fight sequences can’t save a film set against a dull seen-it-before espionage plot that is thinly developed. As such, the film is unremarkable and unmemorable – the biggest signal yet that Soderbergh is running out of steam. KIM FRANCIS

Day to night Look your best all day long in this must-have chiffon shirt, £14 at Matalan.

on television

A must have to brighten up those winter days, £32 from ASOS.

BBC fills up that tricky teatime slot Celebrity Big Brother Live Final Channel 5, Friday, 9pm

This scalloped edge crop top is from Primark, £4.

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Perfect for work ... You’ll be in charge with this military inspired blouse, £25 at Next.

... and play Look fierce in this tribal halterneck style top, only £12 from F&F at Tesco.

Get this sweet buttoned-up blouse from Debenhams, £35.

t would be nice to write that I cared who won Big Brother, but that would be like telling you I wish I cared about what Jedward had for dinner last night. To give it some credit, buying Big Brother was probably the cleverest money-making move Channel 5 has made, with plenty of people flicking over to see what the Z-listers are up to. Having done this myself twice I almost found myself settling down to watch the show and then Natasha Giggs opened her mouth and I promptly switched over to something else. To be honest I have not got the faintest idea who is left in the house, nor do I have any desire to know, but no doubt they will come out to boos, hissing and, if we’re lucky, to the last two seconds of their 15 minutes of fame.

The Magicians BBC One, Saturday, 6.35pm Head to George at Asda for this divine Peter Pan collar top, only £12.

You’ll have a spring in your step with this flowery crop top, £25 from House of Fraser.

EVERYONE loves a magic trick. Cards appearing from shirt pockets, coins from behind ears, rabbits from hats and it all makes for fantastic entertainment whether you’re eight or 88. In The Magicians, the professionals are joined by famous faces to add a little extra sparkle to their tricks and this time EastEnders … erm … favourite, Ian Beale becomes comedy magician Pete Firman’s assistant. Just don’t expect him to be glamorous. Television presenter Myleene Klass also has a go at the magic with the help of expert Jason Latimer and Holby City actress Tina Hobley teams up with double act Stuart and Barry. It’s perfect Saturday tea-time telly.

Magicians Barry Jones, Stuart MacLeod, Darren McMullen, Pete Firman and Jason Latimer will be working with celebrity guests in a new show on BBC One. Just don’t try to work out how they do it because, trust me, you’ll still be puzzling over it till the next show.

The Duchess BBC Two, Saturday, 8.30pm EVERY now and again movie producers seem to get round a table, realise they haven’t blown the budget on an extravagant period drama for a while, and decide to rustle one up. While many of them fall short of the bar, The Duchess is a rich and glorious portrayal of the life of Georgiana Spencer, better known as the Duchess of Devonshire. Keira Knightly stars as the lady herself who had public adoration but a troubled private life which drove her away from her husband into the arms of another man. Although the costumes may be antiquated the story of scandal, love and passion is one which has stood the test of time and it makes for an interesting perspective to see it played out in the 18th Century.

Birdsong BBC One, Sunday, 9pm BIRDSONG is one of those books that most people have read and pretty much everyone has loved. So it was a brave move to make a television adaptation of Sebastian Faulk’s classic novel but one which, judging from the first part last week, absolutely paid off. With its brutal shots of war fused with memories of an Eden-like past and forbidden love this adaptation by Bafta award winner Abi Morgan could easily have been made for the big screen. The story follows Stephen Wraysford, his love for Isabelle and his journey through war and in the second part this week we see him prepare for the Somme while struggling with his memories of a life before. With a stunning cast including Eddie Redmayne as the haunted Stephen and Clemence Posey as the beautiful Isabelle, Birdsong is simply beautiful and tragic in equal parts. CAROLINE COOK


Jenny 4