Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Contagion (2011)

Make sure you go to this movie when you are free of the flu, coughs or sneezes as you will scare the other patrons.  Basically the tale of a pandemic, this one is stylishly filmed, well written and not overly dramatic.  I liked its pared down style, although Jude Law with his Aussie/English/Irish crazy accent and funny tooth was a bit cheesy,  Gwenyth does a good seizure and Kate looks good even without any botox and a series of frumpy jumpers.

Matt Damon again plays a serious role, a dad trying to save his daughter from being infected which gave the story a personal touch, and made it seem realistic.  So if you never thought of slathering yourself with antiseptic hand wipe before you saw this movie, you might want to stock up on the way in.  Oh and a few pair of gloves as well might come in handy, and a face mask.  4/5


Hereafter - DVD (2010)

This movie entwines three stories, a French journalist who survives an amazingly filmed Tsunami, a London schoolboy who loses his brother and a psychic who doesn't want to use his gift.  Matt Damon looks disturbed for most of the movie, although I do enjoy seeing him in more serious roles as opposed to running around avoiding being shot.

I do admit to being a bit lost by the point of the story, I would have liked to see more of the psychic and schoolboy, and less of the boring journalist story which had subtitles.  2/5

Two Kisses For Maddy - Matthew Logelin

Two Kisses For Maddy - Matthew Logelin (2011)

I first heard Matthews story on either the Ellen or Oprah show, but basically Matthew and his high school girlfriend Liz were in love and spent many years together travelling the world.  When they settled down, got married and bought a house, the next step was to get pregnant.  However the pregnancy was difficult for Liz and due to complications, Matthew is left with a newborn daughter to raise.

With the help of family, friends and strangers all over the world, Matthew started a blog about bringing up his daughter alone.  Then, as all good bloggers find out, they get a book deal and become even more famous.

A good sentimental memoir, of the kind that feels like a guilty secret - I did enjoy it and thought it worthy of a 3/5.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Dovekeepers - Alice Hoffman

The Dovekeepers - Alice Hoffman (2011)

This is one of the few books that I have read recently that I haven't wanted to end, and could have carried on reading more chapters.  Four women, all of whom arrive in the Jewish stronghold of Masada by different means.  There they are set to work in the dovecoates, one of the lowliest jobs, and it is there that we learn the stories of how they arrived there with their families.  We are also with them when the Roman armies arrive, thousands strong with thousands of Jews who have been enslaved by them.  Realising their fate, choices must be made.

So hard to describe, but I loved every bit of this book, and am happy to give it a 5/5.  I am sure that it won't be to everybodies taste, but I can be sure that with only a month left in this year, that it will be my favorite book of 2011.

Let Me In

Let Me In - DVD (2010)

I'm feeling guilty that I needed a wee blogging break, and now have lots to catch up on.  I did see this movie two weeks ago, and have only got around to posting about it now.  I don't think that anyone is reading the blog anyways.

So, this is the story of a young bullied teenager who realises that there are strange happenings going on around his apartment complex, and he realises that it maybe something to do with the girl who moved in next door.  I liked that the movie focused on the kids, with only a little adult input and that it took quite a while to actually figure out what was happening, rather than being the usual predictable bable.

I did have to tell my 13 year old nephew that he may have to come outside with me to put the rubbish out, and at one stage I wasn't sure I wanted to sleep alone, he might have to camp on the floor of my room.  But I was ok, by the end I wasn't scared anymore.  Wouldn't be good for my besties though, cos they are screamers when there is any horror movie on.  4/5 - just because it is more memorable than most I have seen all year.


So I gave in this week and bought myself a kindle.  I got the new version and it didn't take too long to figure it out.  It's light and small and will be great to fit into my bag and take to work.  I do get a bit sick of lugging a big book in every day, although I do tend to prefer only reading one book at a time so we will have to see how that goes.  After a weekend travelling with a huge book, I can see this will be much easier.

So lots of bonuses, however I did discover a few annoying things.  In NZ we are stuck with only being able to buy off Amazon. com.  I much prefer Amazon UK, as they have good book deals, for example a daily deal with a best seller for only 99p.   The Pacific/Asia customers seem to be being ripped off with the book prices for kindle which I fail to understand, as it is not as though we are actually buying anything different than US/UK customers.  For example one book I saw on the UK site was 99p, and  in the US they were being offered it a $2, but the cheapest I could get it for was $8, which sucks.

Can I see it replacing my library books - no.  I still continue to use the libraries almost free service, as I really can't afford to buy books all the time.  In the past 2 years I have bought only five books, and I enjoy that I can get loads of new books so quickly at the local library, so that will be my main supplier.  However for weekends away and holidays it will be nice not to have to jam a huge tome in my satchel.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Tourist

The Tourist - DVD (2010)

All I could think was that Miss Jolie is in great need of eating some carbs and that the makeup artist must have got a bulk deal on some cheap eyeliner, oh and found a book of 1960s hairstyles.  Old Johnnie boy was a bit wooden, and looked like he had a bit of a forced accent.  Still they went to Venice, it was pretty but I'm not so fussed with the boat chases and gun fights, so a 2/5 from me.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Secrets of Eden - Chris Bohjalian

Secrets of Eden - Chris Bohjalian (2010)

Chris Bohjalian is one of those authors who are consistently entertaining, and when I opened the book and read the first page I was immediately stuck into the story, which I love.  I want to be in love in page one, not page twenty or one hundred. 

Reverend Steven Drew begins the story by telling us how a local girl is orphaned after her mother and father are killed in a murder suicide.  This begins to make him question his faith, and life changes for him.  I would have preferred to follow one narrator throughout the story rather than switching between the pastor, the lawyer and the daughter, I found it somewhat distracting, especially as I am somewhat put off by lawyer genre books, just not my thing.

It did make me laugh reading the book group questions at the end of the book, it made me think I hadn't understood the book at all, it was like they were reading secret messages in the book, or reading it backwards like playing records the wrong way round.

Anyways, so a 3/5 for me, and a good sick bed read.

Sliding Into Home - Kendra Wilkinson

Sliding Into Home - Kendra Wilkinson (2010)

It has been a secret pleasure when at my brothers house, or when I house sat last summer to sit and watch sky TV (I only have poor peoples tv - no cable), and catch up on marathon sessions of Kendra, the Kardashians, 16 and Pregnant and all the other quality reality tv.  Otherwise I never see it.  I had glanced at this book at the Warehouse when I visited and was surprised to see it sitting at the library, I decided to check it out.

Now I wouldn't recommend you buy it for your 15 year old to read, as Miss Kendra was a bit of a naughty girl.  Skipping school to take drugs, lots of underage sex, becoming a stripper and then moving into the Playboy Mansion with Hef, all before she was twenty.  Still it is was an interesting journey and in this world of pseudo celebrities she has certainly turned her life 360, getting married and becoming a mother, and living a domestic life. 

So I give it a 3/5 - more entertaining than I thought it would be.

Radioactive - Lauren Redniss

Radioactive - Lauren Redniss (2011)

It is hard to explain the beauty of this unusual book, without seeing it.  I chanced upon it at the Unity bookshop here in Wellington, and then went and searched it out in the library catalogue.  It tells the story of Marie and Pierre Curie, their work and life together.  The star of the show though is the lovely handwritten typography and original illustrations, part graphic novel, that somehow makes the blend of romantic story and physics work together harmoniously.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I Love Kelly Rae Roberts, and was lucky to be able to buy an original from her a couple of years ago.  I have a box full of craft papers and art supplies, and need some inspiration to start playing.  They have sat in their box for the past year - I have lost my craft mojo, and I'd like it back.

So, after some spring cleaning, and I can get to my desk in the spare room, I hope to be able to start fiddling around and do some pictures.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Florence Flash Mob

I know I am late to liking Florence & the Machine, but it's getting a lot of play on my ipod lately.  I can't ever remember seeing my mum and dad ever dancing - isn't that sad.

Friday, November 11, 2011


Murmuration from Sophie Windsor Clive on Vimeo.

What an amazing video.  I saw this on http://www.designmom.com/ tonight when I get home.  I'm off to bed, and hope I dream of birds tonight.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

I Believe I Can Fly

I Believe I can Fly ( flight of the frenchies). Trailer from sebastien montaz-rosset on Vimeo.

Wow - I'm scared of heights, so it might not be the best hobby for me, but this is an amazing film coming out on 11.11.11.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Downton Dollhouse

Check it out, these girls have recreated Downton Abbey in their dollhouse - thus Downton Dollhouse.  So funny!!


Tv is seldom something to write about, but there is nothing like finding good shows buried at 11pm.  After watching a repeat of Happy Endings, which I only discovered half way through the series, I came across Shameless.  I hear it is a US remake of a UK series, but still it was good.  A father who is an alcoholic with a gang of kids, who are more or less bringing themselves up.  There was a fair amount of sex and drugs, so I guess that was why it was hidden at late o'clock, and this is only the first episode - so we'll see how it goes.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

The Silent Girl - Tess Gerritsen

The Silent Girl - Tess Gerritsen (2011)

More missing girls, an murder from the 1970s that doesn't seem right, Chinese fables, and a mystery character floating around with an ancient sword.  All lead to the solving of several mysteries and my all time most hated thriller ending, when the lead detective is abducted by evil  murderer.  I always find that with Tess Gerritsens characters Dr Maura Isles and Detective Jane Rizzoli, that I get them confused, but I enjoy the backstory of their families and relationships.   Still, it was a fun book to read in the sun while ignoring the weeding and washing - 3/5.

No Strings Attatched

No Strings Attatched - DVD (2011)

Oh no, another Dromedy - you know, it is almost a comedy, but sort of tries to be a drama and sucks at both.  Seriously who writes this rubbish?   Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher are both super attractive folks, neither of which would be stuck for dates in any real world.  The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that this is a propaganda film made  by twenty year old guys - to encourage girls to be more loose, because you know, Natalies character only wants lots of lots of sex, and that got her Ashton in the end.  They make him such a sap too, I mean guys like him know that they are magnets, and they don't sit around moping about the girl who got away.

It seems that rom com writers need a kick up the backside from the sex and the city team (the series - NOT the movies).  If you are going to make it funny, keep it funny, don't do the serious weepy side - please.  So a big 1/5 for me.  That means borrow this DVD, don't buy it or pay for it on itunes or at the store.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz - Denis Avey

The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz - Denis Avey (2011)

I went to pick this one up at the local library, and ran into one of my friends who did suggest that this may not be the book to break into on the day, which is true.  I always do like a memoir and I had read about this in blogland.

We get to hear about Denis growing up before war intervened, and his service in North Africa.  As a prisoner of war he found himself working in a factory in Poland alongside concentration camp inmates from Auschwitz.  Wanting to see conditions for himself, on two separate occasions he swaps uniforms with a prisoner and is smuggled inside.  Witnessing the terrible conditions of the prisoners, when he returns to the UK, he never speaks of his ordeal with friends and family, and tries to forget the horrors that he has seen.

Now in his ninties, he realizes that he has the opportunity to speak up for all those that had died, and writes his memoirs which gained considerable publicity in the UK.  For me the book was very readable and another reminder of the craziness of war.  4/5

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Love & Other Drugs

Love & Other Drugs - DVD (2010)

2011 is officially the year that I have had the most bugs ever, and this week I am featuring cold/flu number six in a row.  Not it has crept to my sinuses leaving me barely half a nostril to breathe with, making me scared to sleep in case my respiratory system shuts down entirely overnight, and I am eaten by my cat - thus it is why at 1.50am I am sitting in the lounge thinking about this DVD.

I had splurged it up at the library lately, taking out a whole five dvds in a fortnight, which nearly blows the entertainment budget for the year, such is a lowly paid hospital workers excitement.  I'd seen this one advertised last year, but little can now entice me into the mainstream movie palace, which seems to pander to the under thirties, and smells of teenage hormones, unwashed skinny jeans and hamburgers.  These ones I save up for DVD watching with the girl pals, or like this week, home alone on the couch.

I don't have a lot to say about the movie.  Truly I can see a pile of Hollywood producers smugly thinking that they would make a movie, about the drug explosion of Viagra, with a sleazy male drug rep, an arty/quirky girl love interest with good hair, better throw in a coffee house, ohhh and some plain looking people as relatives/neighbours/co-workers, show a lot of sex (not usually of plain people though, only the good looking ones), have some tears,and have a happy ending (true love of course).

So for that I would give it a 1/5 , but I upped it to a 2/5 - just for Jake, cos he's a hottie.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

The Affair - Lee Child

The Affair - Lee Child (2011)

Awww Jack Reacher, I swore that if you ended up in another small town walking this way and that way, that we would have to break up for good.  I mean Boyfriend, we know that it would be a cheaper movie to make, but can't you just go to a city every now and again?  The only saving grace that you went to this small town in 1997, and you were still in uniform, sort of, and so I enjoyed that little distraction.  Your author kept mentioning in the last two books about the incidence in your past that ended up with your discharge, so it was nice to find out what you did.

Now back to the Tom Cruise issue - Big NO!!  He is all wrong, too old and too little.  I am thinking you would be more Sam Worthington, big and broody.  If they make a movie and do it wrong it will be all over again Jack Reacher, it's feeling like you're skating on thin ice.

So, back to the book.  It was an ok read - Lee Child is a good author, with great flow, punchy smart and intelligent dialogue and characters and I am sure I won't be able to think of a big train passing the same way again.  I am however, as you can tell still peeved that he seems to have spent the last four books wandering around small derelict towns walking up and down tarmac, and for that I can only offer you a 3/5.


Unknown - DVD (2011)

Awww Liam Neeson, it was nice to see you roaming around looking concerned, it seems to be what you do best in this and most of the movies  you have been in lately.  Arriving at a hotel for a conference, he realises his briefcase is missing and returns to the airport to retrieve it.  On route, a car accidents sends him spinning into the river with a head injury and returning to the hotel, neither his wife nor colleagues recognise him.  So in trying to find out who the impostor is pretending to be him, he gets chased by lots of guys with guns and does a lot of  dangerous driving.

I was especially impressed that this tall fellow keeps finding just the right fit of clothes, every time his own outfits get torn up.  Awesome.  By the end I had kind of lost interest in the plot and story and fast forwarded to the end.  I'm a bit over the He was a hitman but didn't know it scenario - time for another theme Hollywood.  2/5