Friday, July 30, 2010
John C Reilly, plays John a lonely guy who on his ex wifes advice, gets off the couch and heads to a party. Drinking a bit much, he meets Molly and they share a couple of nights together, but she always ends up rushing home. Later we see that she is heading home to her son Cyrus, who at 22 doesn't want mom to have a date.
I liked all the characters in this movie, and at the beginning it started with a few laughs but it did dip into the dreaded comedy/drama where it can't commit to being only one genre. Too be honest too, Molly was a bit of a sappy mother, and I wanted her to stand up for herself a bit more. 3/5
Dead Like You - Peter James (2010)
Peter James is becoming my favorite thriller/detective writer. Although I was a little unnerved by the topic of rapists and abductions, it was only once I was lhalf of the way though, that I thought I knew which of the three main suspects was the killer.
I applaud the authors ability ability to avoid the noncense that many writers adhere to at the moment, of having their main character, police investigator or coroner, becoming a victim of the murderer, being abducted or captured. Detective Superintendant Roy Grace instead just works on the case, and doesn't get all crazily involved like Kathy Reichs or Patricia Cornwells characters.
This instead is quality writing, with a constant pace, just as good at the end as it was at the beginning. 3/5
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Tinkers - Paul Harding (2009)
Tinkers describes the last week of George Crosbys life. Surrounded by his family, on his deathbed he expects his last memories to be a linear pattern of his life, but instead it is a mosaic of events that formed him.
We hear about his father Harold, who was a tinker providing the essentials of life to men and women isolated in their homes and farms, long before the rise of cars and malls. How Harold suffered from epileptic fits that forced vast changes on his family. Georges memories swirl around, as his body begins to fail him, and through his clouds he feels his family beside him, talking and tending to him.
As I reach my middle age, I found myself drawn to books about the end of life, the closing down, the loss of memory and function. 4/5
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Did you Hear About the Morgans? - DVD (2009)
Did you Hear about the Morgans? It's a super cliched city types go to the country side to hide from mobsters. You can tell how they are relaxing and getting into it by the progression of SJPs hair.
I guess there is an audience for this sort of movie, me not so much, I fast forwarded through a lot of it, so I guess the whitty dialogue and moving sentiments may have been lost on me. 1/5
Well, it must be disappointing to retire from the French Pork products factory and only receive a jigsaw puzzle. So Gerard Depardieaus character takes to the roads to search down tax certificates to supply to the pensions department, to prove his working history. Along the way, this pensioner encounters old workmates and family and begins to discover himself, in a very French way too.
A bit grainy and slow, and of course I nodded off so it I did miss some of the finer points. 2/5
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
A Prophet (2009)
I'd watched Kate Rogers TV3 review of this movie this afternoon, so I'd heard about the gruesome razor blade scene. It did make me look at the carpet when it happened, and there were cringes from most of the audience, with most people a bit disturbed by the violence I would say. It had got rave reviews, and although raw and gritty, I wasn't thinking I was seeing anything new watching this movie.
A young Arab lad Malik is sent to prison for 5 years, and once inside is thrust into committing a crime in order to win the protection of the men who rule the prison. Gradually gaining their trust Malik finds himself involved in drugs when he gains access to the outside during day release and gets caught up in more crime.
It certainly made me think that French prisons are grim places to be, the only bonus is that they get to have a nice baguette every day. I think Hollywood versions make prison seem like day camp, where Jim Carrey can convince them to let him continually escape (in I Love you Phillip Morris) or in prison break, where good looking fellows stay all buff and fit, and still manage to escape. French prison looks tough! 2.5/5
Monday, July 26, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
I Love You Phillip Morris (2009)
I must admit to being in the camp of people that are generally annoyed by Jim Carrey. There are only so many kooky voices and silly faces that I find funny, and he usually uses and abuses them by mid way through the movie. In this new film he is somewhat restrained, as he plays Steven who starts off being married, a father and a cop, and yes Gay. So we then get to see him decide to move to Miami, and dress flashy and to support his new lifestyle he defrauds his employers.
The law eventually catch up with him, and Steven finds himself in a Texas prison, where he meets the love of his life Phillip Morris, played by my secret boyfriend Ewan McGregor. Although I laughed in the right places, in the end the whole thing fell a bit flat for me as it seemed to not be able to decide if it was a comedy or a drama, and seemed to fluctuate between the two somehow not doing either particularly well. There was also that feeling of not quite believing the two leads, their playing camp not quite the real deal. 3/5
This is a very adult type of comedy, so don't be taking the kids to this one or getting them the DVD, no no no, you might be having to answer some awkward questions.
Certified Copy (2010)
Hmmm, hard to describe this one, but an English writer comes to Italy to promote his new book and is taken out journalist, who offers to take him on a tour of a small Tuscan village. That's what the blurb said. To be honest, I nodded off pretty quickly in this one, and the parts of the movie that I did see didn't really float my boat.
I thought it a poor imitation of the Before Sunrise genre, where two strangers meet and the story is held by their conversation and discovery of each other. Juliette Binoche is beautiful, but an award winning preformance, I am not so sure. So 2/5 for this one, and yes it did make me want to move to Tuscany and marry a young and handsome Italian man.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Leonardo is all grown up with wrinkles and stuff in this movie, why he no longer looks 12. He leads a team who solve I guess you could call it a mystery, but going into everyones dreams into a world they have each created and peel back the layers to find out the secrets.
Thats the gist I guess, especially since I fell asleep in the middle. It was ok - just a bit too action scene long for my liking, when I would have preferred time and money to have been spent on the script. 3/5
I love a bit of costume drama I do, however many of the toga classics that have played recently have been a bit overblown and boring ,Alexander and Troy come to mind. This story however still has plenty of fighting and violence, but I think its redemption is that the main character is a female. Rachel Weisz plays Hypathia, a 4th century philopher in Alexandria, where she tutors her male students in Science and Maths.
At the time, we see the rise of the Christians, who were once abused, take power and treat others so poorly. The Jews are forced from the city after the ransacking of their homes and businesses, and the Greeks and Romans are forced to kneel to the priests if they want to stay in power.
So an interesting story about the Philospher and her slave, and a background of a religious struggle that seems to carry on today make this a worthy dramatic watch. 3/5
The Misfortunates (2009)
So we started off the weekend film festival viewing with this little gem The Misfortunates. Gunther is 13 and growing up in Belgium, with his single postie father who likes a bit to drink. He also has to share his home with three rowdy uncles and a sweet wee grandmother who tries her best, but mostly this young teenager just follows the four men around.
Funny and sad in equal measure, it is a very adult film with violence, bad language and sex scenes, but still worth a 3/5.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Spooks - DVD (2005)
I'm working my way through the series slowly. As you may know, NZ television sucks at the moment. It is rare to find anything worth watching, so most of my friends are instead choosing to watch series at their own leisure instead of anything on the box.
Series 5 started off with a bang, but got a bit boring and repetitive towards the end. I have found that when you do watch a few series, you notice the same sets being used and similar characters keep reappearing. The loss of Colin and Ruth as characters was felt, and I didn't quite believe Adams descent into madness. Rozs constipated look became her only expression, and it didn't quite seem believable that she would so quickly be involved in major projects.
Still it beats Adam Sandler and Gordon Ramsey any day. 3/5
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
This is the beautiful Violets from Rozi Demant. Rozi is a New Zealand artist, who only exhibits every year or so, and the prices are way above anything I could ever afford.
Her pictures are so devine and dreamy and would be perfect art for a bedroom.
The Confession of Katherine Howard - Suzannah Dunn (2010)
Suzannah Dunn is an author who consistently produces a enjoyable historical novels, and I enjoy her writing, it seems to flow and I can disappear within the book easily.
In this novel, Cat, the cousin of Katherine Howard talks about their childhood together living as wards of the Duchess of Norfolk. When Katherines cousin Anne Boleyn becomes the kings new wife, their status is on the rise and soon Katherine finds herself as the Kings new wife. Once, a wife however her earlier transgressions soon begin to cause her trouble, and questions are raised about the men in her life.
One thing puzzled me throughout the book, in a world where reputation is everything and gossip is repeated in every corner by servants, family and friends, why were the girls not worried that this would be found out? Still I guess, she was only a teenager when things happened, and we know that they are not the most discreet. 3/5
Oh my gosh, I think this must rank up in the five of the worst movies I have ever seen. So much so that me and a friend walked out. Supposedly it was about the paraplegic co-owner of an Austin Texas second hand clothes shop.
What was bad about it, it was trying so hard to be hip, the characters were all blah, there was no apparent story, the ad lib script was terrible, no scenery, no decent music and nothing seemed to redeem any of the bad points about it. I could forgive just about everything it the story was good, or the characters likable. In general this one sucked, and I wish I could have got my money back. 0/5
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Book of Souls - Glenn Cooper (2010)
I read his earlier book, Library of the Dead last week, and wanted to follow it up with this sequel. In this one the last missing book of the Vectis Library comes up for auction. Hired by two ex area 51 workers to find the secrets associated with the book, ex FBI agent Will has to leave his new wife and baby and puts every one in danger once again.
I enjoyed these books, which intertwine action with history much better than Mr Brown has lately, and sets it at a fast pace, and with a satisfying ending. I'll be thinking of this book if I am lucky enough to live til 2027. 3/5
Monday, July 19, 2010
Four Lions (2010)
It is hard to describe this movie without using words that will land you on some FBI watchlist around the world. Maybe just mentioning the movie will do that - who knows. It was a very British watch, one in which I could never see the Americans making any sort of remake.
Four English guys, who lets say are very religious decide that they should go the distance and make themselves martyrs. Like any group of chaps who get together, they can seldom agree on anything and their bickering and indecison often supply many of the comedic moments in this movie. The audience lauged throughout, and it was one of the few movies I have seen lately that manages to mix comedy and drama together well, without turning into cliched boy humour, or sour dramedy when neither works .
The two sixty year old ladies next to me chuckled the whole way through, which was surprising and even in its saddest moments it still managed to hold together well.
4/5 - for this truly modern British tale.
Departures - DVD (2008)
This was one of the movies at last years film festival that I intended to go and see, and somehow it never happened. Daigo finally has his dream job of being a cellist with a Tokyo orchestra, when lack of audiences force the owner to dissolve the group. So, with his wife he ends up returning to his late mothers home and making a life in a small town.
Replying to an advertisement in the local paper, he attends a job interview and finds himself working with a boss, preparing dead bodies for the undertaker. Rather than being gruesome, the Japanese traditions of washing and clothing the body for their placement in the coffins is gentle and beautiful and involves the whole family and friends. Something we in the west have lost, and I think are poorer for, as we have forgotten the rituals of mourning, of letting go and saying goodbye and accepting death as an inevitable part of living. 3/5
I didn't expect to be quite as moved as I was by this movie. My own mum had planned her own group of girlfriends, including her hairdresser to go to the funeral home and get her dressed, do her hair and makeup which I thought was nice. We then had her at home in her coffin for the four days preceding her funeral which was comforting.
Movies about dying and funerals always get to me, and there are always tears. There were also tears looking at the choice of tv I get on the two channels I could see, Adam Sandler as Zohan or more CSI - grrrrrrrrrrr!!
Awwww - I still love the Cure 26 years later. It makes the 15 year old in me smile to still hear them today. I have never heard them unplugged before, sounds different with the bongo drums. Dig the hair too Robert. Looks like you need some straightners buddy.
The Forest makes me go week at the knees. I LOVE this acoustic version more than any other, even if it has a long self indulgent guitar solo.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
These pictures are from my new fave ETSY artist Sarah Wyman. I LOVE this one - so much that I might have to treat myself. Bittersweet 5 x... - this Bittersweet angel just sings to me. I am touched by her contemplative glance at the lotus flower, her small wing and her drapey dress. Perfection.
Wood Mount Print -... - Twinkle draws me in with the perfect coloured backdrop. A dreamy girl set against a dream star filled sky. Perfect art for beside the bed.
Wood Mount Print -... - Impossiblity, I love the blue/mauve/grey sky and the floral dress with the tears of rain falling down.
Subterranean 5 x... - I love her green grey dress, the lace collar and the bob and her spidery hands.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Women Without Men (2009)
I don't know how I feel about this one, I guess slightly confused describes it best. This movie focuses on the stories of four women in Iran in 1953. As the shah rises to power, there is unrest in the community and these ladies find their lives changing.
Each is trapped into a life that they don't want, a marriage to a senior soldier, a prostitute and a single woman whose brother is forcing her to get married and her best friend who secretly yearns for her friends betrothed brother.
For me I didn't really follow the stories, although each of the main characters was compelling, they all seemed sad and depressed, and for me that just ended with me feeling down and confused. 2/5
So it was nice to come home and watch Kevin McCloud doing his Grand Tour through Europe on TV. Of course you may know he is my secret boyfriend, in fact so secret that he did not invite me to go travelling with him.
Now that his show has finished, the TV has turned into Channel CSI, woe is me. More model victims and cliched murders, all solved and wrapped up in an hour. Luckily I have a pile of books to read.
Friday, July 16, 2010
I Killed My Mother (2009)
Tonight was the start of this years film festival. I'll admit to being a bit wiped out from work and did my usual nod off to sleep a couple of times. Tonight was the first of a collection of movies that will entertain or depress us.
This one was a bit of a strange one. A self indulgent spoilt French boy begins to detest everything about the single mother who raised him. He hates her driving, how she decorates the house, her makeup and clothes and how she eats. So he shouts at her, and demands that she let him move into an apartment. As things begin to fall apart, he begins to reavaluate their relationship.
I don't know, it seemed to try and project this cooler than cool dope smoking, homosexual, 80s hairstyle, arty wine drinking teenager full of poetry and angst. Not the most endearing of main characters and all a bit too cool for school for me. 2/5
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Lovers and Newcomers - Rosie Thomas (2010)
A group of friends who hung out together in their twenties, get together in their late fifties to live together in a large country house. As they come together they all begin to look differently at their relationships, and some partnerships end and others begin as they all respond to each other. We also get to meet some locals, and the children who all bring new people to the story.
It was a nice ensemble piece, but in the end I didn't feel invested in the characters and found it a bit too long. 2/5
Monday, July 12, 2010
This one came courtesy of reading Dooce this weekend, which I had about a months worth of posts to read. Loaded it up on my ipod and repeated it a bijillion times on my Sunday walk in the crisp sun.
Spooks 4 - DVD (2005)
Seeing the 12 years olds have chosen the tv selections at the moment with reruns of every horrid Adam Sandler/Will Ferrell movie and banal choices like Desperate Housewives and the fiftieth reruns of Friends. The only NZ shows are police 10/7 and horrid rescue programs, things that don't float my boat.
So I am continuing to watch series of Spooks that I started with a year or two ago. It's intense viewing and I love the characters and their interactions and the stories seem to have gotten better by this their 4th series.
I'd be no good at lying, I couldn't keep the stories straight and would press the wrong buttons on the gadgets, I could be a good Ruth though, better stuck in the office checking on the computers, not so much running around, I'm no good at the running stuff.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Hello Dubai - Joe Bennett (2010)
This is one of those travel books, that isn't really about travel. It explores the city, its history and tries to uncover why so many people flock to Dubai. Joe Bennett has travelled their before, but returns to find out what Dubai is really about.
For me it became a bit of a hard sell. Once you get past the mcmansions and the flashy cars and jewellery, their are issues that ensnare Dubai and make the funny stories a bit less palatable. I don't think that the Philippine and Indian workers really enjoy the benefits of working in Dubai, Joe doesn't really find out how much they earn or think about their working conditions. The bevy of women of many nations who are are dancers in bars, one wonders if it is just a modern form of sexual slavery and how trapped they are so far from their home countries.
I don't think that Mr Bennett managed to really capture the reasons why so many people clamour to Dubai other than earning the quick tax free buck. In the end I wasn't interested either, and it made me think it was one place that I have no need of visiting in my lifetime. 3/5
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Buying the large fizzy drink at the cinema didn't do me any good today, my middle aged bladder was busting for the last half of the movie, and I didn't fancy falling down the stairs in the dark or missing any action in the movie. I needn't of worried though, for I could have missed most of it in the bathroom and not really noticed.
After years of watching Friends/Bones and most silly drama/comedies we have been bombarded with the will they/won't they get together scenario that I am beginning to find this one a bit tedious and repetative. Mr Jake, just keep the shirt off and the ladies will find you.
Looking like one long extended music video, the movie was just more of the same as New Moon, but without the good soundtrack. I certainly won't be rushing out to see this one again at the movies, but will probably surcumb to buying the dvd. 2/5
Valentino - the Last Emperor - DVD (2008)
I never got to see this one at the 2009 film festival, so was glad to hear that it was finally out on DVD. I enjoy a bit of reality filming, and had this been fiction one would hardly believe the story or characters involved.
Valentino is beautiful, gorgeous and engaging. The behind the scenes look at the fashion world was amazing, especially the Amazon models, the relentless press asking inane questions and of course the infighting. He certainly had amazing homes, and I loved the little peeks of things like spray painting patches on the grass lawns green before a big party, and making the pugs have their teeth brushed and breath spray - poor dogs.
A 4/5, and a good Friday night dvd watch, certainly outdoing the crappolla festival that is New Zealand tv at the moment.
Friday, July 09, 2010
mermaid necklace - a very pretty dark Laguna banded agate. I would love this one for winter wear.
Sugilite in Textured Sterling Silver Ring - I love a touch of purple and love the simplicity of this ring.
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
Library of the Dead - Glenn Cooper (2009)
This reminds me of a Dan Brown type thriller book, with a bit of a twist. After a slightly stilted beginning we learn about the Doomsday Killer who is sending folks postcards telling them the day their life will end.
FBI agent Will Piper is assigned to the case with his history of solving serial killer cases. With a new partner, he seeks to find who is murdering on the streets of New York City.
Of course, I figured out what was going on half way through, but it was nice to see how it played out.
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
I found this Antique Victorian Iron Table Top Pharmacy Apothecary Prescription Paper Holder c 1890 - on ETSY on Saturday night, and sadly it was sold by Sunday morning. Wouldn't it have looked cute with an old photo on it, and great sitting on my mantle.
It was described as: A very unusual metal and cast iron base antique Victorian 1890 vintage pharmacist's or apothecary's prescription paper holder so the pharmacist could read the ingredients while keeping hands free to grind the prescription, this has a few old 1930's prescriptions with it though the holder is much earlier, the drug store was closed later, base is 3" diameter and holder approx 5 1/2" high with a turnscrew mechanism for the papers, original finish, great piece of early pharmaceutical equipment.
As one of my good friend often chooses to remind me - You snooze - you lose. I guess I was too slow this weekend. Oh well.
Monday, July 05, 2010
Sunday, July 04, 2010
To Defy a King - Elizabeth Chadwick (2010)
Elizabeth Chadwick remains one of the best writers in historical fiction, specialising in the medevial times and in this her latest novel, she continues on with a tale of William Marshalls daughter Mehalt.
Married at 13 into the Bigod family, Mehalt must quickly learn to declare her loyalties and choose her side. In the meantime, King John is taking hostages and stealing gold and property across the county.
A good winters read book, perfect to snuggling into my quilted bed with. 3/5
Thursday, July 01, 2010
And When Did You Last See Your Father? - DVD (2007)
I'm having a little Colin Firth mini film festival at the moment. This movie was recommended by my boss, and we have had a few talks about it lately. Perhaps because it reflects a realistic relationship between a son and his father and we all can see in their story echoes of our own dealings with our parents.
How a father who is a bit of a laugh, a joker, a womaniser, likes to be the centre of attention, how he alienates and embarasses his son. How the son, doesn't just brush off the insults but instead treats his father as a bit of a joke, and realises maybe too late that he hasn't taken the time to understand him. How we are all dealing with our own view within the family, and sometimes fail to consider what is going on with others. When a family member is dying or dies it can make you realise how much went unsaid, and all the little falling outs didn't really matter in the end.
Sweet without being soppy - this one is worthy of a 4/5.
Gone - Mo Hayder (2010)
Mo Hayder is an author that constantly is able to thrill and scare you in her books, as skill that some suspence/thriller authors have forgotten how to do, often victims of their own success, they become lazy and churn out the same old version of a story.
The subject matter for this one is a bit iffy for me, I am not a big fan of the child abduction scenarios, and would always try and avoid the child rape/murder books. It felt a bit edge of the seat for me, as I couldn't really see what was going to happen next until two thirds of the way through, and even when I figured out who the baddy was, it didn't have the ending I expected which was a nice touch.
So a solid 3/5 for this little thrill.