Monday, July 31, 2017

Summer 1993

Summer 1993 is a Spanish film about a young girl Frida, who after the death of her mother moves to the rural home of her uncle, his wife and young daughter Anna.  Told from her point of view, it is a sweet film about trying to fit in in a new home, and dealing with grief, how life can swing from moments of sheer joy to tears super quickly.  The young actress did a great job of her role, it never seemed like she was acting with a very natural performance and she left me remembering what it was like to be a five year old girl.  3/5

Sunday, July 30, 2017

A Crime In The Family - Sacha Batthyany

Sacha Batthyany , a Swiss/Hungarian journalist reads a newspaper article which tells a story about a party that happened at his great aunts home.  70 years ago as WWII was drawing to a close a dinner party at the rich estate in Hungary ends with some of the guests killing 180 laborers in the local village. 

So he decides to try and find out what happened and to see if he can find out any answers.  For me though although compelling, I found the story a little unsatisfying.   It seemed to focus more on him and his psychotherapy and his relationship with his father than the main story.  I would have liked to know more about the people killed, more about what went on in Hungary.

 Maybe there weren't any facts to find or people to talk to, as too much time has passed and the secrets will remain buried. 2/5

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Beatriz at Dinner

So this is another film festival movie.   My friend had booked this one and I enjoy the element of surprise in going to a movie I know nothing about, and also I can't be blamed if it is terrible.

This is another evening gathering like last night's movie.   Salma Hayek plays the lead Beatriz, a yoga/goat loving masseuse/healer living a simple life.  When visiting a client she finds herself invited to a dinner.  I won't tell you much more lest I ruin the whole story, but all I can think of is what would I do if forced into a dinner with President Trump and his cronies.  What would run through your mind?

I was a bit disappointed by the ending, it felt wrong for the story.  3/5.

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Party

So tonight was the first night of our cities film festival, so that meant there was freezing rain and wind.  The largest cinema was packed with more middle aged people than are usually allowed out on a week night.

We saw The Party, an English comedy about a group of people who gather to celebrate some good news.  It was an ensemble piece including Patricia Clarkson, Timothy Spall, Kristen Scott Thomas and a couple of others.

For me it felt a bit like a stage play and I felt like everybody was over acting  which made me somewhat annoyed, although most of the middle aged loves in the audience were laughing throughout.  3/5.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Nevertheless - Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin is one of those guys that is at times compelling to watch and listen to, and then can get annoying.  His book had the same effect on me too.  Like most biographies I enjoyed the early times, the growing up and school years and the early years.  Then it seemed in the later years that he had lots of falling outs and seemed to have what seemed to me lots of petty jealousies.  I got the sense that he felt his career was somewhat hindered and not what it could have been.  For us looking at him being a movie star, being on a successful tv show and now his own radio show it doesn't look so bad.

The book did redeem itself at the end as he talked about his new wife Hilaria and his four children.  It makes us like a man so much more when you can sense the great love he has for his family, 3/5

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Patient H69

In this memoir Vanessa Potter, who has a busy job as an advertising film executive and a wife and mother to two young children, describes her experience of becoming ill with a mystery illness.  Over a period of a couple of days she loses her sight as well as becoming numb over her body.  Doctors are not sure of the diagnosis and she spends two weeks in hospital having various tests and examinations. 

After her sight begins to return, she is allowed to go home, but this becomes a slow process as it doesn't return all at once.  She then begins to investigate the scientific part of her illness.  I did skim through the second part of the book, it got a bit too much for me. 3/5

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A Letter From Italy - Pamela Hart

Rebecca Quinn has left Australia to travel with her journalist husband to first world War Italy.  When he disappears on his own adventure she us left to file her own stories.

I really wanted to love this story, but it all felt a bit flat for me.  I didn't really like the main charactersite, nor could I picture the Italian scenery as I would have liked.  Such a shame as it had all the elements of a good story, but I never quite believed it. 3/5.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Desert Island Discs Love

I've written before about my love for Desert Island Discs from the BBC.  It has been running for 75 years - each week someone is interviewed by Kirsty young and asked to provide their 8 favourite tunes which they would take to a desert island,  which breaks up the interview into manageable parts. They usually all talk about their growing up and families and no matter who you listen to, poets or politicians, scientists or astronauts there is always something so heart warming about hearing about someone elses life.   I had had a wee break from listening due to my ipod breaking, but finally gave in and replaced it last week.  So the past week I have been catching up on the podcasts as I walk around the city or I sometimes play one while I do my dishes or cook dinner.

Today after a visit to the library I enjoyed listening to David Beckham  who came across much more witty and entertaining than I expected,  Stella McCartney who was candid about growing up as Paul McCartneys daughter and having a fashion empire, rugby referee Nigel Owens which was very moving and the amazing Tom Hanks.  If you  want to listen to the show, you can click on the names above, and that will take you to the BBC page.  On the photo of the celebrity you click the little symbol on the left hand corner of the page and it should play on your computer. 

Do you listen?

Saturday, July 22, 2017

This Beautiful Fantastic

It was a cold and stormy night in our city tonight, made better by a pub meal with good friends.   We then went to see This Beautiful Fantastic at the movies as we wanted something light.

Bella Brown is a reclusive young woman living in a small flat.  Her life begins to change after a run in with her grumpy older neighbor and the pressure starts when her landlord gives her a month to tidy up the ramshackle garden.

It is beautiful to look at, the actors were excellent and the movie quite sweet, but it didn't move me.  3/5

Thursday, July 20, 2017


Today I was lucky enough to get a day off, so after a few household chores and falling asleep on the bed while doing a soduko, a quick shower and lunch woke me up.  I walked to town and did a couple of jobs and then went to the movies.

It was the first day of screening here so there were a few people at the session.   It was quite the movie.  Reminiscent of the war movies of the 60s in its style this movie is the war movie we have been waiting for.  No need for cheesy patriotic back stories or crazy heroics, it is more raw and honest in its story telling.  With only limited dialogue it is the pictures, sounds and expressions that are used to let us know what is going on.  In fact I think it might have been 20 minutes before there is any conversations and I think that there were only 4 of the characters names mentioned throughout the two hours.

Worth the price of sitting in a cinema seat with the biggest screen you can find.  Young Harry Styles may have set the two young girls sitting next to me sighing, but I did like that there were a range of actors on screen that I didn't know were in the movie.  5/5.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Space Archeology

So tonight I got to watch another documentry about Egypt. Tonight's show was about discoveries made with Space Archeology.   Using satellite imagery and infra red filters are able to reveal unknown pyramids unknown until recently.

 Dr Sarah Parcak is the world leader in this field and I see she has a ted talk on YouTube that I might watch next - and the Internet tells me she was the winner of the 2016 Ted prize.

I figure this middle aged lady is never too old to learn stuff.  Maybe I could go back to school and study ancient cultures.  It is a pity I need my full time job to pay the bills.

Oh and it says it is 50 degrees Celsius I Egypt when they are there - far too hot for this Kiwi girl.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017


There seems to be a collection of documentaries on Egypt on free television at the moment.   Even though I have seen a lot over the years, there is still something so compelling about this ancient civilization.   Tonight's show us about the search for a secret chamber in King Tuts tomb.  Did it belongs to his step mother - Nefertiti?

You always learn something new and the treasures are beautiful to look at and have explained.  Especially with today's technology available, there seems to be so much being discovered each year.  Part of me wishes I had studied the Egyptians, Roman's or English history at University and became an author or an archeologist .  I am awe of those who are able to write extensively about these ancient times.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Music Monday - Glorious Macklemore

Such a lovely video.  The artist Macklemore arrives to take his 100 year old grandma out for the day.  Just perfect!!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Grace and Frankie

I signed up for a months free trial of Netflix as it was winter, and I thought I would have more time for viewing shows with cold and dark evenings.  For some reason I seem unable to read at the pace I once did, although this comes and goes over the years, I find that I can no longer concentrate on a book for two long and drift off to sleep after a few pages.

So the first show I started to watch on Netflix is Grace and Frankie.  Both wives of two lawyers, who confess to their wives and families at 70, that they have been in love for twenty years, leaving the wives to have to start living by themselves and come to terms with the new relationship.  Grace, played by Jane Fonda is prissy and uptight and finds it hard to live with the hippy dippy Frankie. 

After all the 20 year old faces forced on you on free tv, it is nice to deal with a different demographic and to enjoy a family comedy/drama that is smart and witty and can cause me to laugh out loud on occasion.  4/5.

Saturday, July 15, 2017


I gave this self indulgent odd movie 15.18 minutes of my time.  That was waaaaaaaaay too long.  0/5

Friday, July 14, 2017

Middle Aged Lady Night In - Tomorrowland

Yup my friends it is another Middle Aged Lady Night In.   After a chilly stormy couple of days and long evening shifts, it was time to ditch the uniform and put on some comfy clothes and sheepskin slippers.  The candles are literally and the snacks are gathered.

I have a stack of things to read and watch at the moment and the DVR is getting full.  So for Friday night I chose to watch Tomorrowland.   It is a bit of a George Clooney vehicle that I am thinking is a bit hard to explain, even after reading the Wikipedia explanation.  

In simple terms it starts with Georges character as a young boy who finds himself led into an amazing future, full of flying cars and spaceships.  Now in the present he us a recluse, living in a rundown house full of strange inventions.  Meanwhile a young girl Casey gets her own glimpse of the future, and this leads her to George and then lots of chasing and explosions occur.   Will they be able to save the future?  Can they prevent the demise of the world?

I am not sure I am clever enough to understand the plot, but I am sure most 12 year olds could figure it out.  Somehow I think that more time and money were invested in the special effects rather than the plot or script.  3/5.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Hidden Hours - Sara Foster

After the  publishing house office Christmas party, one of the bosses Arabella is found dead in the Thames.  Eleanor wakes up not remebering what happened, but was she involved in her death?

I don't know, I didn't feel especially drawn into this story.  As a thriller it felt a bit flat and lacking in any menace.  Eleanor was a bit boring and the whole back story around her growing up in Australia did not add anything to the story for me. 3/5

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Born a Crime - Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah tells us about his life growing up in South Africa.  Because his mother was black and his father white, his birth was considered a crime.  In a society where he didn't seem to fit into any racial group this gives him a unique perspective.   As he and his mother move from suburb to suburb he moves schools and into new social groups and finds it difficult to fit in.

Now as the host of the Daily Show, I have seen a few bits of the show on YouTube where Trevor comes across as an intelligent, funny and we'll informed man.  So inspiring to see someone do so well in their career and life, especially after you read this memoir and understand his background. 4/5