Tuesday, September 28, 2010
The Secret in Their Eyes - DVD (2009)
I have been busy reading and doing lots of stuff, so somehow their has been less time for movies and tv. In fact due to the wind blowing the rest of the aerial out of alignment, I am left with only one channel and am stuck watching Prime TV. I must admit to enjoying Ladettes to Ladies, it does make me giggle and cringe at the same time.
I had heard a couple of recommendations for this movie, but like a lot of captioned movies, I find them hard to watch on tv at home, as I am easily distracted. The story of a lawyer and his search for the murder of a young woman 25 years ago, is still compelling to watch. I did find it long and am sure I lost the point half way through. 2/5
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Valentines Day - DVD (2010)
You suck ,you big puff ball full of pretend Valentines day love, where all the relationships seem plastic and dried out bits of emotion. Lots of cameos of famous faces, all of whom prance around looking in need of a sandwich, and a lesson in love.
Give me Bright Star any day, over this Hollywood vanity piece. 1/5
A Song for Jenny - Julie Nicholson (2010)
A song for Jenny is a personal story written by her mother, starting on the day of the London bombings, when Julie realises she can't get a hold of her daughter. As the day progresses, more members of her family become concerned, before they all realise that she is missing presumed dead.
We follow along as Jennys death is confirmed, and finally her remains are returned to the family in preparation for her funeral. Ultimately though, this is Julies story, and much of it is very touching, as she searches to find out where her daughter was in the days she was in the bombed out remains of the tube train, even going so far as to view the police pictures. She also views her daughters body, in order to anoint it before her funeral.
I know with my mothers death that the days waiting for the funeral are stretched out and go so slow, yet the time just seems to slip away, but after a few years the dying part and the grieving pains lessen, and I can now just remember mostly all the good parts, forgetting about the pain and stress. In this book I can still feel the pain and loss that Jenny feels from losing her daughter, but somehow I think her pain clouded her sense of loss that others in her family and group of friends had.
Still - I can see that this book can help others who suffer the loss of a family member in tragic circumstances, how they will be able to see how some one makes it through the tough times, and goes on . 3/5
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Alcestis - Katharine Beutner (2010)
This was one of those books that dragged me to bed early on windy and cool spring nights, and I enjoyed reading during a rushed lunch break, every minute snatched reading was good. Alcestis is the son of a local king who has lots of suitors. The king thus raises a challenge, and offers her in marriage to the victor.
So married at 15, she finds herself with a husband who owes to the gods. So they come after him, offering him death, and she chooses to go in his place. Without giving away the wholes story I enjoyed the melding of historical and mythical fiction, and thought this book did both parts of the story well, and made me interested in Greek mythology again.
A solid 4/5.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Monday, September 13, 2010
The Glass Room - Simon Mawer (2009)
Mainly set in Czechoslovakia in the 1930s, this story starts with Liesel and Viktor, a wealthy newly married couple meeting an architect on holiday in Venice. He plans for them the most modern of houses, a flat boxed one with a spectacular glass living room. It becomes a showcase and topic of conversation for many in the area, and when war intervenes the young couple now find that they must leave in order to avoid the advancing Germans.
Leaving with their friends, they find themselves first in Switzerland, and then they try to reach the US. Meanwhile the house is looked after by staff and is then taken over by first the Germans as a lab, the Russian and then the Czechs as a Gymnasium.
A clever mix of a war story that is not really about the war, but a story about the house and how it affects all those who live in it and how that connects all their lives. 3/5
No Place Like Home - Pen Farthing (2010)
Pen Farthing is a UK marine, who when posted in Afghanistan forms a bond with a couple of stray dogs there. Determined to get them back to the UK, he ends up forming a charity to help other soldiers and dogs in similar situations. This book is about what happens upon his return, how the dogs settle in and the amount of time they and the charity chew up.
I think I have just about overdone it on the animal/owner stories this year, I'm feeling a bit jaded with all the bonding tales. 3/5
The Green Zone - DVD (2010)
Being a middle aged woman, I can profess to being not the target audience for this Iraq based drama. Matt Damon plays a serious soldier who begins to question why the US is in Iraq looking for weapons of mass destruction, and yet are not finding any proof of their excistance.
I can also admit to skipping through the last 20 minutes and not paying much attention to the last half of the movie. I know it had an important story to tell, but I just didn't really care in the end. 2/5
Thursday, September 09, 2010
Iron Jawed Angels - DVD (2004)
Iron Jawed Angels is a DVD that I heard about on blogland somewhere. It is the story of the suffragettes in the US, who fought for many years to give women the vote. Eventually after imprisonments, hunger strikes and force feeding giving bad press, the government relented.
I enjoyed the movie, finding out about the characters involved, although I am sure it was much less glamorous than appeared on the screen. I was a bit distracted by the music though, which seldom happens. However it was a movie set in the 1910 period and yet the movie was full of modern music that somehow seemed a little bit out of place. Like someone said "how do we make this movie appeal to teenagers and sell a soundtrack". For me it kind of ruined the ambience, and made it seem a little less real.
Anyways it was worth a 3/5, for it is an important story to tell that mamy women could do with seeing.
Girl in Translation - Jean Kwok (2010)
Kimberly Chang and her mother immigrate from Hong Kong to New York, finding themselves forced to work in an aunties factory to pay back debts and pay the rent. Kimberly also has to find time to go to school, but helps work with her mother in a Chinatown sweatshop at night for pennies.
I felt moved by a few things in this novel, the teacher expecting the kids to come to school and discuss current events, when Kimberly didn't have a television and could not afford newspapers. My own upbringing was easy in comparison, but my parents ran a 6 day a week business, and as at high school I worked each day before and after school, Friday nights and Saturdays and still had to get my work done.
So I think this one deserves a 4/5.
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
The Hurt Locker - DVD (2008)
Hmmm, I am on the fence about this one. I am sure it moved a lot of people and possibly it's impact was lost on me on the small screen, this may have been one best viewed at the cinema. To tell the truth, I am a bit over sitting with talkative annoying 19 year olds who text and call on their cells during the show, so I avoid the mainstream movies, and also the DVDs are a bit cheaper.
I get that for some, being in combat is about family, about being valued, doing their duty and living on adrenaline. I just want to know - where are the movie makers thinking about what would happen if some others got on planes and landed in the US, wouldn't the Americans be defending their turf, killing the invaders? I don't mean to get all political and stuff, but the whole situation seems crazy to me.
Sunday, September 05, 2010
Virgin Widow - Anne O'Brien (2010)
Anne Neville was only fourteen when she was married to a prince she grew to hate, all the while thinking of her first love, Richard. I enjoyed this story of a girl who grows up to be queen, a character I knew nothing about, and thought about how much has changed, when there was a time when womens lives were controlled by fathers, brothers, sons and kings.
Saturday, September 04, 2010
Date Night (2010)
Tina Fey I like a lot, but sometimes I get quite annoyed by Steve Carrell, although in this movie it was one of his better roles. A suburban pair go to the city for their date night and end up in several crazy predicaments, you get the jist of it.
It was ok, some bits were funny , others a bit lame, but it sure beats watching NZ TV for the evening- did I tell you it sucks?
The White Ribbon - (2009)
This one had a good simmering review on the Paramount website, but I tried to not read too much about it, so that I could just enjoy the story for what it is. However I just got home after seeing it, and don't feel much, besides being slightly puzzled about what happened.
In a small German village, the school teacher tells us about the goings on in the years before the first world war. Small acts of violence and arson occur, and we get to see the inner lurkings of several of the local families. All I kept thinking was how cold it must have been in the winter, and how glad I am to have not grown up with such strict fathers and mothers.
In the Valley of Elah - DVD (2007)
I think I got this one out on DVD before, but ran out of time to watch it. However as NZ TV has turned into the Adam Sandler show, I am catching up on reading and DVDs. In fact it has been quite refreshing to watch what I want and ignore the rubbish that is played on our tv. Here comes the rant, but the Batchelor - really - who watches this rubbish? I hate that 20 desperate horny Barbies are fighting over one guy who is making out with all the girls. Also, he hasn't settled down yet, doesn't his history make him a player? Gross.
This dvd essentially tells the story of a father who is searching for his soldier son. Recently returned from Iraq, he has gone missing and no-one is answering questions. Tommy Lee Jones I think does an amazing turn as a stiff upper lip father, just holding it together. A sterling performance in a slightly grim movie. 3/5
PS - we are all fine, we live a long way from the earthquake that rocked Christchurch NZ this morning. Looks like there has been a lot of destruction, but thankfully not too many injuries.
Friday, September 03, 2010
Invictis - DVD (2009)
Rugby is the most popular sport in NZ, so we all know how this story ends. I guess it is meant to be inspiring and show how sport can save the world, but I found it a little bit of a snooze fest. Morgan Freeman, as always is awesome, and his awesomeness cannot even eclipse that of Nelson Mandela, but I missed his norma accent. A voice that can send you to sleep as there is so much rhythm in his speech, he could read the phone book and make it seem like Shakespear.
Lucky it was raining, and there wasn't much else to watch. 2/5
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
Edge of Darkness - DVD (2010)
I guess Mel Gibson had a bit of a bad year. I don't really remember seeing this one being advertised at all, but thought it looked interesting at the video store. Mel is a Boston cop whose daughter is murdered, but all is not as it seems, and he becomes involved in finding out her killers.
A bit of a thrill ride, and a few things surprised me, but I enjoyed the pace, and thought Mel did some good acting, making a realistic grieving father. A 3/5 for me.