Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Cabin in the Woods

The Cabin in the Woods (2011)

Woohoo - happy 1001 posts to me!!

It was a rainy winters afternoon today, perfect to sit through two film festival movies in a  row.  The other two I have been to I have felt like one of the young ones in the crowd, as it has been filled with retirees.  This movie crowd was different, it was all freeks and geeks and fifteen year old school boys in their uniforms (and the old middle aged ladies like me).

So you know the story, five nubile young college age students head off in a RV to the remote cabin in the woods for a weekend away.  Being a Joss Whedon movie though, there are a couple of twists, making it more than your average horror.  In our audience, there was a lot of cheering and lots of laughter.

There was lots of running around in the movie, axes and blood, lots and lots of blood.  If you don't like horrors maybe stay away.  It may be perfect for your zombie, freak loving teenager however.  3/5
Your Sister's Sister (2011)

Oh happy hipsters, dig out your flannel shirts, and black rimmed glasses, bring your sensitive sad boyfriend in his skinny jeans, floppy hair and converse sneakers.  Grab some popcorn and an organic coffee and you are ready to head to see this movie.

You sort of know the story.  Sad sweet friend (who is a boy), is sent by his sweet best friend (who is a girl) off to the family holiday home to regroup and recover.  Lesbian sister is there with a bottle of tequila. Sweet sister turns up with a bag of groceries and lots of baggage.

Without giving too much away, at first I was a bit annoyed by the mostly improvised dialogue (I guess), it seemed a bit lazy and felt like it was going nowhere.  Somewhere half way through though I was charmed by the characters, and thought that they did a good job of being likeable.  I have been a bit over characters full of angst.

It's a 3.5/5 from me.  I know my besties would kind of like it, and it did have the best ending I have seen in a while.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Music Night - Carly Rae Jepsen + Call Me Maybe

Farewell My Queen

Farewell My Queen (2012)

Today was my first day of the film festival for me and you don't feel guilty about heading to the movies at 10:30 am on a dreary winters day.  Building up my stamina slowly so that I can see if I can handle two or three tomorrow.

So, this one is the story is about the first days of the French Revolution.  Queen Marie Antoinette and King Louis are holed up  in Versailles, but there are whispers in the hallways, as rumours of disruptions, starvation and hangings are beginning to reach the royal hanger onners.

 The story is told by one of the Queens ladies, whose main job is to read to her from her extensive library.  She is confused by the chaos around her, as she finds friends and confidantes seek to escape, and in the end feels betrayed by the Queen, who uses her to help her favourite escape.

I do usually enjoy me a costume drama, and the few gowns we got to see were amazingly done, but I didn't really enjoy this movie.  It seemed to jump around in it's story telling, and I didn't really connect with the characters.  Both of the female leads were awesome, but I felt that the others were a bit just thrown in, and a bit one dimensional.  In some places I could feel the direction, when the lead was in the hallway, and the everyone was milling around gossiping, felt to me a little like a school play.  For this, I can only go a 2/5.

On the Outside Looking Indian - Rupinder Gill

On the Outside Looking Indian - Rupinder Gill (2012)

Rupinder Gill has written her memoir about being born in Canada to Indian parents, and spending most of her childhood studying, doing chores and lots of time in front of the television.

When she turns thirty she decides to do all of those things that she felt she missed out on as a child.  Going to camp, learning to swim, going to Disneyland  amongst the adventures.

As well as going about these adventures, we hear about her search for identity as a young adult, dating and career choices, which made it an interesting read.  I have known a few girls like this, who after having very protected childhoods, really branch out and bloom as adults.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Magic Mike

Magic Mike (2012)

Mum had considered texting her bestie and asking if she wanted to go and see Magic Mike tonight, but thought it might not be classy enough for her.  Luckily - her bestie had the same idea and texted mum first!!  Haha.

They went and had tasty pizza at a new woodfire authentic pizza restaurant, and had a nosy around the bookshop.  At first the movie cinema seemed empty, but it soon filled up - with lots and lots of ladies.

Mum said the movie was a bit of a laugh, and surprisingly had a bit of a story.  Channing Tatum - well he is a bit of a star.  I kept thinking he would be an awesome Jack Reacher - one the ladies would like to watch, instead of Tom Cruise - bluch!!

Anyways, you might want to leave the men folk at home and take your girly friends.  4/5

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Orange is the New Black - Piper Kerman

Orange is the New Black - Piper Kerman (2010)

In her twenties Piper Kerman makes some bad decisions and becomes involved with a woman who is working with drug mules and smugglers.  This results in  ten years later being sentenced to just over a year in a women s prison.  I thought that was a bit harsh, as she hadn't smuggled any of the drugs herself, and had to wait years for the courts to make a decision, crazy business.

I had to admire her ability to deal with going to prison in such a calm way, even the thought of it stirs my stomach up.  Instead she was able to form friendships, gather up a supply of books and enjoy the many families and friends who visited.

So it was a good chance to hear about being locked up in a pretty low security prison and would be enough to scare some girls onto the straight and narrow.  3/5

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Lifeboat - Charlotte Rogan

The Lifeboat - Charlotte Rogan (2012)

Grace is just twenty two and  newly  married to rich banker Henry, when sailing to New York in 1914, their Liner sinks forcing the women, crew and some men into lifeboats.

Overcrowded with only limited water and crackers for food, and no sign of rescue, it becomes a fight for survival.  With three weeks stranded at sea, the chances of rescue are becoming more and more distant.

I found it easy to picture the story in my head as I was reading although I was a bit confused at the end and had to reread the last pages several times.  3/5

Objects of my Affection - Jill Smolinski

Objects of My Affection - Jill Smolinski (2012)

Lucy is an author on organising,  but her own life is falling apart, without a job and  she has sold her house in order to send her teenage son to rehab in Florida.  Taking on a new job to help and elderly artist clean up her horder house to meet a new deadline.

Cranky and difficult to deal with, Lucy has to win her over in order to get her to part with piles of her stuff.  Of course there is the sexy on site builder to deal with, and the sexy ex boyfriend.  Which to choose?  Such a dilemma.

For me it was a bit of a cliché, I didn't really connect with Lucy and somehow you knew she would fall on her feet and everything would work out. 2/5

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hello My Pretty

Ohhh I found this lovely bed set on Anthropologie website yesterday just before my evening shift.  When I win lotto I'm going to sleep under this quilt.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Trapeze - Simon Mawer

Trapeze - Simon Mawer (2012)

After my last failing to get me into the spirit of the second world war, I found this one drew me into the world of soldiers, spies and gas masks straight away.

Our young heroine is bought up bilingual and is selected to go on a secret mission into France, and make contact with a young man from her youth, who is important to the war effort.

I really enjoyed the beginning and end of the book, but I got a bit muddled in the middle, as for me I couldn't imagine the France that it described and there seemed a collection of fleeting characters that I couldn't picture.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Restoration Dreaming

I made the mistake of checking out the Restoration Hardware website.  I'm in love with the lamp in the top left hand corner of the picture, but the one in the bottom right corner could be my boyfriend also.  For sure they're not cheap, are too expensive for me and probably don't ship to NZ (I didn't even want to check and see).

So tonight I could dream about them, if I were lying under these two bed with either a Belgian Linen duvet or washed chambray duvet cover.  We only seem to be able buy budget duvet covers here in horrid combinations of polyester, sequins and shiny horrid stuff.  Bluch!!

A girl can dream.  If I win the Lotto I'm off for a trip to Restoration Hardware.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mr Churchill's Secretary - Susan Elia Macneal

Mr Churchill's Secretary - Susan Elia Macneal (2012)

Maggie Hope has returned to London to sell her dead aunts house, settle the estate and visit her parents graves.  Sales are slow, so she finds herself looking for employment and finds a job as a secretary at the War Office and working for Mr Churchill himself.

As well as worrying about the approaching Germans, there is terrorism within the UK to worry about as well.  Spies are everywhere!!

It is a time period that I often like to read about, but I failed to really connect to any of the characters in this novel.  I feel bad for giving it only a 2/5, as I wanted to love it more than I did.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Empress of the Seven Hills - Kate Quinn

Empress of the Seven Hills - Kate Quinn (2012)

I am sooo glad that I discovered Kate Quinn, her three books of Rome can transport me in an instant to a land of togas and soldiers.  For me, I was a bit distracted as this was my work Kindle read, and I only could read it during my half hour lunch breaks, so it was several weeks of broken reading.

Vix was my favourite of the narrators, and I would have been happy to just have his story told, and I was a little bit distracted by all the voices.  I love me a big strong centurion.


A Royal Affair

A Royal Affair (2012)

A young woman leaves her native England to travel to Denmark and become the Queen to a young prince.  Told that he is handsome and smart, she finds that he is unstable and demanding and she is trapped in a loveless marriage.

The arrival of a new physician leads to a secret love affair, which they try to hide from the court.  Leading social changes across Denmark, the stepmother and her cronies become suspicious, and the affair is about to be revealed.

A lovely movie, although the Danish language and a warm cinema almost lulled me to sleep in the first half hour, however the story was great and I enjoyed the lovely visuals, both the scenery and the amazing costumes.

A great winters evenings watch 4/5.

Share It Maybe - Cookie Monster

Mr Cookie Monster is trying to get us to share the cookies - awesome!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Amazon Kindle Ripoff

Same book - same day.  UK readers can buy this through UK amazon for their Kindle for 20p or 40c NZ.  We get charged a pacific/asia rate of $9.91(US), which for us is around $12 NZ.   A ripoff me thinks.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Dying to Be Me - Anita Moorjani

Dying to Be Me - Anita Moorjani (2012)

Anita is in her early forties and is in the end stages of Lymphoma, when her husband and mother take her to the hospital.  Doctors admit her to the ICU, and although they do all they kind, they advise the family that she is likely to die very shortly.

Although intubated and in a coma Anita has a near death experience, and is able to recall all the treatments, and even discussions that were held outside her room.  She is able to recognise staff that treated her, and remember everything that went on in her room.

She also recalls being connected with her dead father and having a great sense of peace and wellbeing.  She is able to understand what has made her sick, and how to heal.  She is given the choice to stay with her father or return to her body, and sensing a need to continue she returns.

After awakening from her coma, doctors search for signs of cancer and are unable to find any, leaving them puzzled.  Many are interested in hearing her story and with the internet her story becomes well known and leads to a publishing deal.

I like near death experience stories and I liked here explanations about religion and death.  An interesting and thought provoking read.  4/5

That Woman - Anne Sebba

That Woman - Anne Sebba (2011)

This book is a biography about Wallis Simpson the Duchess of Windsor, who was involved in one of the biggest scandals of the 20th century.  I enjoyed reading about her early life, much of which I didn't already know.

Although much of it was interesting, I found that there would be a few odd things that just seemed to be thrown in.  There seemed to be quite a few paragraphs devoted to her masculine appearance and rumours about both her being sexually frigid and then her sexual prowess, that seemed to be included to provide shock value.

It seemed to gloss over their later years, and in the end I just felt sad for the both of them.  2/5

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Le Havre

Le Havre  (2012)

We'd considered going to see this one several weeks ago, but were first put off as it was described as a childrens movie and we weren't in the mood for that.  Today, although lovely out in the direct sunlight, it was still getting chilly as the sun went down.  We went to the Lighthouse cinema in Petone, which has a little ten seater cinema, so the session was packed out.

There is something about a French movie in a heated cinema which puts me to sleep, so I have to admit to snoozing on and off in the middle of the movie.  Basically it is the story of an elderly shoe shine guy in a port town, who comes to the rescue of a young Aftrican boy who has been smuggled illegally into France.  In trying to help him find his mother in London, he has to avoid the local police who are searching for the fugitive.

It was very slow, and quite French, and I couldn't really seeing it appealing to my own niece and nephew, I am sure they would have been very bored and be wondering where the car chases, aliens, vampires are.  2/5

Friday, July 06, 2012

Blue Asylum - Kathy Hepinstall

Blue Asylum - Kathy Hepinstall (2012)

Iris is  the wife of a Virginia plantation owner, who in the middle of the civil war diobeys her husband, is taken to trial and then sent to a lunitic asylum on a sunny island.  Once there she forms friendships with a woman who eats everything, a depressed soldier and the superintendents confused young son.

I know the author has done a stellar job, when I can picture the characters and the scenery in my head, and I could visualise the  poor women in their big hooped dresses wilting away in the heat in their rooms with barred windows.

It is challenging as a reader, to think of a time when as a woman you had no say in what happened in your life.  That you might be married off to someone your family approved of, and that would then make you the property of your husband, and that you may have no say in what goes on around you.  You can't help but feel for Iris, and how trapped she was, and how hopeless she feels being sent away.

A 4/5 - I am so glad that I found this book on my library shelf.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Dirty Secret - Jessie Sholl

Dirty Secret - Jessie Sholl (2010)

In her twenties, the author Jessie begins to come to terms with her mother who is living in a house crammed full of stuff and is a compulsive horder.  She begins to realise how her mothers hording is affecting her own life and relationships and begins to resist the urge to go into her mothers home and help clean.

A lot of the book is devoted to the itches that the family suffer after going to the house.  They all spend months suffering from scabies, which made me itchy too.

It does make you want to clean out the cupboards, which I do need to do.  For a person living alone I have more than enough stuff, and am trying to get rid of clothes I haven't worn, read magazines and old lipsticks.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

I'll Scream Later - Marlee Matlin

I'll Scream Later - Marlee Matlin (2009)

Goodreads has made me have a huge collection in my wanting to read pile, as of last night there were at least 430 books piled up inviting me to read them.  I seldom just go to the library to browse, I do all my choosing sitting on the couch.  Cold and chilly nights are making me head to bed early to read too, which is much more relaxing than trying to choose what rubbish to watch on tv.

Marlee Matlin was a  unknown deaf actress who won an oscar at 21 for Children of a Lesser God.  I enjoyed hearing about her growing up and her career in acting, although I was a bit surpised by her being in such a bad relationship for so long with her co-star William Hurt.

I like that the memoir reveals what a normal person she is, that her head hasn't been turned by Hollywood fancies, that she lives a normal life with a policeman husband and four children.  3/5

An Apple a Day - Emma Woolf

An Apple a Day - Emma Woolf (2012)

Emma Woolf is 32 when she decides to tackle her anorexia head on, and try to start eating again.  With the help of her boyfriend, her goal is to gain enough weight to be able to conceive.

On her journey we get to join her from eating only an apple and low fat yoghurt a day to being brave, and tasting chocolate after a ten year break and eating carbs.

I admire her bravery for allowing others to read about her battles as she does look at all the reasons that may have caused her eating disorders and allowed it to rule her life for so long.  Having seen it in someone I know, I know how hard it is for them to face their demons, to eat enough every day, to eat with friends and family and discuss their issues without retreating.

For myself, I now weigh too much and have my own issues with food as most of us do.  A long time ago, in my teens I spent a crazy year with eating.  I survived on 500 situps , and a diet of an apple,  crackers  and a cup of chicken noodle soup a day.  The weight slipped away, and for a brief time, my size ten miniskirt could be spun around my hips.  I was seduced by being skinny for a moment, and enjoyed seeing bones that had been hidden.

I can see how easy it would have been to stay in that place, with a feeling of control and order.  It's easy to put rules in place, and punish ourselves for straying.  We all have our own issues, those things we won't eat, judging other by what they eat or my own favorite or judging people by what they buy in the supermarket.

So a good read - a 4/5 from me.  Worth picking up if you no someone who is struggling, to give you an insight into their lives.