Sunday, May 31, 2009

Forever Ours - Janis Amatuzio

Forever Ours - Janis Amatuzio (2004)
Janis is a forensic pathologist, who uses her experience as a doctor to talk to patients about their experience of death and dying. She tells of near death experiences, where patients return to their body at peace and with acceptance of dying, and those family members and friends who are touched with the death of a loved one.

As much as they are short true stories about dying they too are about living and figuring out the meaning of life. 3/5

Nights in Rodanthe

Nights in Rodanthe - dvd (2008)
I'd seen the shorts for this movie, but wasn't ready to part with $14 to see it, and waited til the library got a copy. It can't be too popular, as none of their copies were checked out.

Well honestly, I think they spent longer picking out the gorgeous house, beach and colour co-ordinated clothes than they did working on the cheesy story. Richard Gere, may be a lovely silver fox, but man he sure is wooden. I hated his pretend to be an intense doctor, and then prentend to be in love act, it seemed so very forced.

2/5 if only for the beautiful beach, but not one to watch with the boys (thy'll hate you for making them ).

The Lucky One - Nicholas Sparks

The Lucky One - Nicholas Sparks (2008)
I have not read much of Nicholas Sparks, but I felt like a bit of a distraction, a not so serious read, and this one caught my attention at the library.

Logan returns from 3 tours in Iraq, and sets out to find a woman in a picture which he found discarded on base. This photo had become his lucky tailsman and kept him safe. Across the country, he meets with Beth who is helping her grandmother in a dog training business, and raising her young son. So on and so on, with the sappiness and predictability. I did like it though for its uncomplicated story and easy read, especially if you were lying on a tropical beach, instead of wintry Wellington.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Star Trek

Star Trek (2009)
Officially a storm is brewing outside, it's not too chilly but the wind and rain are telling us winter is here. I had arranged earlier in the week to go to the movies, otherwise I may have been tempted not to budge too far from the heater.

We chose to go to the cinema with the biggest screen, and I believe the loudest speakers in the city, so loud your seat vibrates during the movie!! It was a rip roaring movie, with plenty of action and a good blend of CGI and real action stuff. So grab your guys and your popcorn and enjoy, 4/5.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - dvd (2007)
I had seen the trailer for this movie being thrashed during the film festival either last year or the year before, and I was always struck by the loudness of it. Watching the dvd today, I was drawn to its more quiet moments and its dreamy quality.

I read the book not long after it came out. It was written by Jean-Dominique Bauby a 42 year old man who worked for Elle magazine. While out enjoying a drive with his son, he has a huge cerebro vascular accident, is in a coma for weeks and wakes up in hospital unable to move anything but one eye. With the assistance of translators, from his hospital bed he writes his memoir, one word at a time, blinking each time the correct letter is reached.

Beautiful movie, I wish more were like this. Able to touch and tell a moving story without any sap or artificial sweetness. Bravo little french film. 4/5.

Cockeyed - Ryan Knighton

Cockeyed - Ryan Knighton (2007)
Well it was a miserable day in Welly today. Very cold and rain was threatening, so I considered going to the movies. Having some time to kill, I popped into the library, finished the book I was reading as I only had 20 pages to go, and picked this one up after browsing the shelves. Starting at 2.18pm I had it finished at 4.05pm. Not bad I thought, although I was running too late for the movies now, I felt ok.

Ryan is a teenager when it is discovered that he has a degenerative condition that will cause him to go blind. This is discovered after he gets his drivers licence, and I enjoyed the first chapters where he has several accidents, and damages the car because he is unaware of his blind spots.

I did learn some things too that I have never considered. That blind people may seem to be staring, but what do they look at if they are looking at nothing? Also that the way we express emotions on our faces is often because we are stimulated by each other, and mimic the way others look. If you don't see your face or anybody elses, you can lose that ability.

Anyways a standard 3/5 from me. It was short, well written and amusing.

Away From Her

Away From Her - Dvd (2007)
I had seen the clips for this movie when it first came out, and was almost tempted at Borders last weekend, but I thought I should try the library first. Sure enough, it only took one day and it had arrived for me. Very insightful and thoughtful film about a couple facing dementia. Grant and Fiona have to face being seperated after 50 years together, after Fiona is unable to cope at home and is eventually chooses to go into care.

So lovely to see this type of story being acted out, as so many of us and our partents are aging and need to consider all the options. 3/5

Love is a Mixed Tape - Rob Sheffield

Love is a Mixed Tape - Rob Sheffield (2007)
Rob Sheffield is a writer for Rolling Stone magazine, and in this memoir he tells the story of his life through the collection of mixed cassette tapes that he likes to listen too. Central to the story is his relationship with his wife Renee, and how he copes with her sudden death at age 31.

Sweet and not too hung up on worship of too cool for school bands that rock writers seem to love, Rob is not too embarassed to let us know about his love for some 80s and 90s bands, and a bit of old school too.

Initially I was drawn in by his description of Pat Benetar as a modern philosopher, and yes "Love is a Battlefield". 3/5

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Chore Whore - Heather H. Howard

Chore Whore - Heather H Howard (2005)
Corki is a single mother who at forty is working as a personal assistant to a slew of celebrities in Hollywood. Pulled back and forth, she is juggling all their jobs with trying to raise her son, and pay the bills.

Littered with celeb names, this book is fun but quickly dated due to those celeb relationships that have moved on since 2005. An easy reading 2/5/

Sunday, May 17, 2009

sTori Telling - Tori Spelling

sTori Telling - Tori Spelling (2008)
So I was reading another book that wasn't doing it for me. It was dull and I had given it 100 pages and invested enough time. I always feel bad abandoning a book, even a library book - maybe it will feel rejected, hurt it's feelings.

So while waiting for the Friday night pizza from the meditteranian wharehouse (yummy stone fired traditional style), I zipped to the library to grab my reserves.

It wasn't a hard read, and the part of me that likes goss magazines loves it, and likes Tori Spelling for putting it all in writing. The other part of me hates the airing of the dirty laundry, and is annoyed by her niave view of life, work, money and relationships.

So an entertaining 3/5 for me. At least it wasn't drawn out like all of those old style celeb bios from stars of the forties and fifties.

Driving Lessons

Driving Lessons - (2006)
Can it really be three years since I remember seeing the trailer for this movie? Boy time flies when you are busy. Anyway it was a sweet British film about Ben, a 17 1/2 year old boy who takes a summer job looking after an aging English actress, wonderfully played by Julie Walters, who encapsulates eccentric and kyphoitc so well.

Perfect for a windy wild night at home, and beats watching Jackass 2 or some old Bruce Willis movie, the only two options on my poor peoples tv.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Mommywood - Tori Spelling

Mommywood - Tori Spelling (2009)
Tori Spelling seems to be in all the gossip magazines this week as she has dropped some pounds and seems in vast need of eating several loaves of bread. I had seen this book at the local borders, and seeing it could be a short read I wasn't going to fork out the dollars for it, but borrowed it from the library.

In it, Tori basically tells the story about her two children Liam and Stella. She seemed likeable, and trying her best to fit in. I was a bit annoyed about some of her behaviour. I mean surely if you are going to take your kids out and about, practice with the stroller first. Don't just abandon it, cause you can't fold it up. I think though, she has done ok for a girl who has grown up with not the most down to earth upbringing. I understand her issues with her mother, but really grow up and get over it.

A quick and suprisingly entertaining read, so much so that I have searched out her first book so I can fill in on her earlier stories. 3/5

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Long Way Gone - Ishmael Beah

A Long Way Gone - Ishmael Beah (2007)
I was thinking about this book as I was loading the poster, and wondering if it would be a good book for boys to read at high school? I went to an all girls school, and I know we did Lord of the Flies, I think this would be a perfect book to follow on from that. Lord of the flies was about what happens when there are no rules, and choosing how to behave.

In Ishmael Beahs book, he is a young boy who is seperated from his family in Sierra Leone. At 13 he becomes a boy soldier and with gobys his own age, they are supplied with cannabis, speed and AK47s and then sent to fight the rebel army. Not only fighting rebels, I think this book tells horrible stories about what happens to civillians, women and children in a country where there was nowhere safe to hide.

3/5 for this book, and one I might think about buying for my own newphew to read one day. Especially when he complains about bored he is or how tough life is. I guess none of us really know how lucky we are.

Monday, May 11, 2009

8th Confession - James Patterson

8th Confession - James Patterson (2009)
Well I have to begin this by saying, please don't waste your money. If you must read it, be like me and get it from the library. I must admit to not having bought a James Patterson book in years, as I find them a quick and often unsatisfying read. Really, I wasn't thinking clearly, as I had sworn not to waste my time on the predictable drivel that is the womens murder club. Absolute time waster.

The story was rubbish, the characters pure stereotype and the murders weren't very thrilling. Personally I think he must go to a meeting, spend an hour on the plot development and leave his co-author to write it. Still we all need a bit of mindless reading while lying on the beach, or on holiday and I love me a bit of trash sometimes.

So never again will I pick up a womens murder club book. Never - and you heard it here.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Last Chance Harvey

Last Chance Harvey (2008)
Today was a day of blustery cold rain, that has collected in Antartic waters and come racing up to us in New Zealand, so when the invitation came to go to the movies came up, I hesitated at first. However it is always nice to meet a friend, especially on a Friday when everyone else is working.

We had lunch at a nice cosy pub, with the best meatloaf ever and then were lazy and drove to the movie theatre to avoid the rain. Last Chance Harvey is about a father who travels to London for his daughters wedding. Along the way he runs into Emma Thompsons character and their friendship starts.

A story based only over a weekend, I thought they did a superb job of capturing the loneliness many of us feel in our lives, but particularly in certain social situations. The looks, the fake smiles - I know I have felt the same way at weddings where I have gone alone. Anyways, I thought it was sweet and I enjoyed both Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, and I am going to give this understated and smart movie 4/5.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Gone Tomorrow - Lee Child

Gone Tomorrow - Lee Child (2009)
After not particularly enjoying the last three or so books of Lee Child, I think in this his 13th Jack Reacher novel, he has managed to return to the excitement and tension of the earlier books. This time Jack is in New York, and after witnessing an incident on a train he goes in search of the people involved.

His last book had him traveling back and forth, and back and forth on the same road, to the same two towns so it was refreashing to have a different backdrop with a whole new threat. 3/5

The Bucket List

The Bucket List - Dvd (2007)
Now the weather here has turned chilly, there should be plenty of opportunities for nesting and staying at home indoors. Therefore I have a mountain of books and tons of housework to get done.

Instead I decided to watch this movie, as I had seen the ads when it was on at the cinema. Was it really two years ago? I must be getting old. Anyways Jack and Morgan play roommates in the hospital, when each is diagnosed with cancer. From strangers they become friends, and decide to enjoy their last weeks and do some of the things they have always wanted to do. A bit cheesy, and predictable I still enjoyed seeing the old fellows doint their stuff, and probably more because they haven't had their faces done and their eyebrows tucked so far up that they can't close their eyes. Good on you boys, growing old gracefully!!

A quiet 3/5, maybe a good fathers day gift!! Except for my dad, he sure loves getting new undies (just joking dad).