Thursday, July 29, 2004
muzing # 036: one review, one recommendation
The Stepford Wives
It's copped some harsh criticism, this latest version. Much of the criticism stems from those who have seen the original, and as I have not (yet), I can't comment on how this remake compares. What I can comment on is what an entertaining 90 minutes I had while watching this film. True, unlike the wives of its title, the movie is not perfect and does have some glaring plot holes, but if you can overlook those, there is much to be enjoyed.
I've heard the original movie falls into the thriller genre. While there are a few suitably creepy and eerie moments in this remake, a thriller it ain't. I'd slap it right into the comedy genre. In all honesty, I haven't laughed out loud so frequently during a movie in quite some time. Admittedly there were times I was the only person in the cinema laughing (references to actors from The Lord of the Rings and a particularly chuckle-worthy AOL quip are two instances that spring to mind), but I challenge anyone to not be at least somewhat amused by the film.
Performances are solid across the board. Nicole Kidman and Matthew Broderick are both adequate in their roles, though there was little if any chemistry between them. Sometimes it works for the film, at other times it's a bit disappointing. Bette Midler does her typical Bette Midler thing (which is perfect for her role), Christopher Walken is also his usual vaguely eccentric self, but it is Glenn Close who is most engaging as Stepford wife extraordinaire.
At a mere 90 minutes, the film fairly barrels along. Time enough, though things do seem to happen perhaps a little too quickly. I felt there was room for further exploration of the Stepford lifestyle, but the filmmakers may have feared boring the audience in redundant detail.
Good entertainment - my Mum enjoyed it too. :-)
If you've never seen this 50 minute, 1995 effort from New Zealanders Peter Jackson and Costa Botes, seek out a copy. I can't say much about it because it really is best viewed without prior knowledge, but I watched it in a uni class earlier this week and was obviously suitably impressed to blog about it. And even if you have heard about it but never watched it, give it a look in - I doubt you'll be disappointed. Brilliant!
Monday, July 26, 2004
muzing # 035: public transport adventures
It's been a while since I've used much public transport, so I decided to try out a new bus service from my uni to Chermside, where I needed to visit the Transport Dept to renew my license. (How ironic that I took public transport to get to the place to renew my driving license.) So that all worked out just fine, except that I now have a new license with an absolutely hideous photograph that I'm stuck with for the next FIVE years. :-(
Anyway, the problem arose when I attempted to catch a bus from Chermside to home. I used to do this on a regular basis but since the last time I did so, the bus stop has moved. Well technically the bus stop is still there, only now the bus I needed to catch no longer stops there. There are five stops at this particular bus interchange, so I investigated them all till I found the bus number I was looking for.
Along comes the bus, it's the right number, I jump on, flash my ticket, and away we go. I notice that the bus is travelling in a different direction to that which I wish to be travelling in! Panic! Not really, I actually waited patiently for it to stop. Thankfully it wasn't too far before we reached a stop, so I only had to walk a couple of blocks back to the interchange.
Turns out I had caught the outbound bus, when I had wanted the inbound. What a dope! Problem was, I couldn't find where to catch the inbound. So I called for a lift home.
I never did feel comfortable using public transport..
groovin' to: "In The Air Tonight" - Phil Collins
last movie viewing: "The Stepford Wives" [cinema]
Thursday, July 22, 2004
muzing # 034: reads, reviews 'n' random bits
Yesterday I finished up book 3 of Eric Van Lustbader's Pearl Saga. I had thought it was the final of the series (as epic fantasy often comes in threes) but upon completing it I found that I was mistaken. Most assuredly, there is more to come. I'm not sure how I feel about this. I really enjoyed the first two books and am enjoying the ongoing story arc. However, the third book read almost like it had been written by two different authors! Parts of it were filled with numerous sentence fragments, which I found incredibly off-putting. Not only did they not read well, but such a style wasn't evident throughout the earlier books. Hmmmm. Hopefully Mr Lustbader will drop that quirky style in the subsequent volumes.
Finally, I have remembered to write up some brief reviews of some of the movies I've rented recently.
A movie of two halves - the good half and the bad half. It started out with such promise. The setup had me intrigued and I was impressed with a number of casting decisions. There's a great pigeon panic scene (though if you're a pigeon breeder it would probably bother you) and for the most part it's interesting, but it all fell away in the second half as the intrepid crew ventured deep into earth to jumpstart its core. What should have been the best part of the movie was rather dull, hampered by average FX, and cursed with redundant death scenes that failed to move me.
I missed this quirky offering from Tim Burton during its cinema run, but it holds up well on a small screen. It wasn't quite as engaging as I had hoped, but it certainly wasn't lacking in entertainment value and charm. Visually stunning, it's a feast for the eyes, most definitely. I loved the story, and there were no weak players in the cast, so there is much to recommend it. It seemed to be missing something though, I just can't put my finger on it.
Loved this drama about an Irish family struggling to cope with the loss of their youngest member, starting a new life (with new struggles) in America. The story is told through the eyes of eldest daughter Christy, who I suppose is really the glue that keeps the family together. It's a beautifully moving film, and the performances are spot on, particularly from the delightful Bolger sisters, and also Samantha Morton who plays the mother. Most definitely worth a look.
The Sin Eater
Apparently sins taste like salted bread. Known in other parts of the world as The Order, I freely admit the main reason I rented this was because it teamed A Knight's Tale writer/producer/director Brian Helgeland with some of his cast from that film (a favourite of mine). I was interested to see how they all fared in such a different genre. Not quite as well, but I didn't mind this film. Unfortunately, a fascinating idea wasn't as well explored as it should have been, but there were some suitably creepy moments and a great bleak and moody look to the whole thing. Performances were good, though nothing remarkable.
Week 1 of semester 2 complete; prospects are good, this should be a worthwhile, challenging and interesting semester. Let's see how long my enthusiasm lasts - anyone like to make a prediction, go right ahead!
groovin' to: "Beautiful" - Christina Aguilera
bookworm currently enjoying: "Mission" - Patrick Tilley
muzing # 033: i was born in a small town
Yesterday, after my late morning lecture, I ventured into the City. It's so long since I was last in the City that I can't even remember when that was, but we're talking at least over a year. (I don't count my recent trip to the Museum and Art Gallery as they're on the other side of the river.)
Now, the trip itself was fun. I met up with my brother for lunch and a discount shopping expedition at Borders. Borders is brilliant, if I had more disposable income, I could happily spend a few hours shopping there! After that, I got a tour of my brother's place of employment, figured it was about time I saw where he worked considering he's been there for.. several years now. :-) I then had a brief wander through the Queen Street Mall before venturing a couple of blocks to my mother's place of employment for a surprise visit, which went over well.
But the day reminded me why I tend to avoid the City. It's so incredibly busy and bustling and crowded and noisy, and much too open-air, resulting in me inhaling far too much cigarette smoke for my liking. *cough splutter*
I'm definitely a small town girl. I've been living in Brisbane now for eight years, but I grew up in a small town and I can imagine the time will come when I'll retreat to small town life again.
Monday, July 19, 2004
muzing # 032: back to the grind
Day 1 of Semester 2. I'm killing time at uni. From next week I will have a tutorial to fill the two hour gap between lectures on Monday but today I have to sit here and twiddle my thumbs. Or type. Because typing is better exercise for the fingers.
I hate how it has only taken one 50 minute lecture to convince me that, no, I in fact have never been away from uni and have not just enjoyed five weeks of blissful slothdom. *sigh* At least now that the semester has started I can comfort myself with the thought that in only 13 weeks I will enjoy more holidays. Gee, what an enthusiastic start to the semester!
Actually, first lecture wasn't too bad. The lecturer looks similar to Billy Connolly and has a broad Scottish accent, so if I squint a little I can convince myself that I'm actually enjoying a session of stand-up comedy! Except it's not especially funny stand-up comedy.
I'm just babbling. Still an hour and 40 minutes to kill. Why can't they install some arcade games at the uni? Back in my days at Gardens Point campus there was a room full of arcade games, I wonder if it's still there. Kelvin Grove campus is lousy. I'm bored - dance monkeys, dance!
Yeah. So I imagine my muzings will gradually become more irregular as the semester progresses, possibly stopping altogether if I get behind with assignments. Talking about study isn't very interesting. Maybe a rat will dash across the floor in one of my lectures and I can jump on my chair and start squealing. That would make for an exciting blog entry! Maybe I could just pretend that I saw a rat dash across the floor..
Friday, July 16, 2004
muzing # 031: rats!
Evidently I have an alarmingly overwhelming fear of rats. I discovered this fear approximately fifteen minutes ago when, as I was seated here minding my own business cruising through other people's blogs, a rat ran across the floor right by my slippered feet.
Yes, not some cute little grey mouse but a BIG UGLY BROWN RAT!!!
Now, I'm not one for swearing but I let one rip as the rat scuttled under my bookshelf. Luckily my folks arrived home not two minutes later from their evening out to be welcomed by me with the words "I found the rat!"
See, we knew we had a rat. Or a mouse. Or some critter with lots of teeth that had tucked into a banana on our kitchen bench last night.
On our KITCHEN BENCH!
ew ew EW!!!
We managed to coax it out of hiding, at which point it took a leap off the top of the stairwell into the downstairs room. Then followed approximately ten minutes of my mother, father and I rigging traps and attempting to catch the rat. Actually, it was more like ten minutes of my mother and I standing on couches and tables, squealing "THERE IT GOES! EEEEE!" while my father grew increasingly frustrated with our lack of tangible assistance in trapping the cunning critter. (Though my screaming did send it scurrying in the opposite direction!)
This is the third rat that's been around here in the past few weeks. The first one my father and I saw lying dead in the gutter across the road, while the second was found lying dead in our garden. They're getting closer!!
I'm thinking of calling in the Pied Piper. Anyone know his number?
muzing # 030: i'll miss that cello theme
(side note: ooh, blogger has upgraded!)
Last night saw the show finale of Angel. I don't think it's quite hit me yet that there will be no more. After eight fantastic years of Buffy and Angel, it's just too difficult to imagine it's all over.
It's got me thinking how weird (but cool) it is to invest emotionally in a television show and its characters. It doesn't happen often that a show comes along that I look forward to watching every week. Even less does it happen that a show features characters I truly care about, and believe in, and feel like I know.
It hit me hard to witness the death of one of those characters, even though I had stumbled upon a spoiler weeks ago. Yeah, I admit, I shed a couple of tears for him. It was a moving death scene, and I've come to expect no less from this show. In fact, the 40 minute finale managed to cram in all those elements I've come to adore about the show - I cried, I laughed, I gasped in unexpected shock and I cheered (er, not outloud, it was late, others were sleeping).
For the most part it was a good wrap-up for the show, but I couldn't believe that final scene - it was like part one of a "to be continued" storyline! ARGH! :-(
Here's to five awesome seasons. Angel will be missed. (Thank goodness for DVDs.)
Thursday, July 15, 2004
muzing # 029: a man worth killing
..that would be King Arthur, if you've somehow managed to avoid the numerous previews of this latest retelling of the Arthurian legend. Or rather, the "true story" behind the legend, which of course has never been proven, or disproven as the case may be. I've been looking forward to this film since I first heard it was being made. As someone with slightly more than a passing interest in the evolution of the Arthurian legend, it certainly piqued my curiosity.
Countless less-than-complimentary reviews during the past week did not deter me from heading out to see this film today, opening day (which is unusual for me). I figured that at worst it would be a couple of hours of eye candy (and eye candy there was - nary a bad looking bloke at the round table).
Happily, there was far more going for the movie than the eye candy on show, in my opinion at least. Numerous reviews had commented that the movie was a bore, but I didn't find that the case at all. I actually wished it had been longer - the story could have used some padding, likewise character development. For the most part I couldn't fault the acting (although Clive Owen as Arthur seemed a tad deadpan in his line delivery at times) - even Keira Knightley didn't bug me as she has in other films. I very much enjoyed the jovial camaraderie between the knights, and Bors in particular is a source of light amusement. The cinematography is stunning, and the action set-pieces are impressive enough, though strangely bloodless. Now, I'm a bit of a sensitive gal when it comes to bloody battlescenes, but the almost complete lack of blood in the film (apart from the stuff smeared across the length of Arthur's sword!) was a bit odd. Apparently there was some serious editing to get this film a PG13 rating in the States, hence the lack of blood, but the DVD may change this and gorify (did I just invent a word?) the battlescenes. So I've heard anyway.
I will admit this film won't appeal to all, especially those misguided souls who've gone into this expecting many of the elements of the legend. Some of them are there, to be sure, but even those elements generally get only a passing mention.
If you like your battlescenes bloodless and your humour of the blokey "boys club" style, you can't go wrong with this one.
groovin' to: "Lucky You" - lostprophets
last movie viewing: "King Arthur" [cinema]
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
muzing # 028: it's... the claw!
While looking at a recent photograph of myself I was alarmed to discover that my hand took on a rather claw-like appearance. The reason I found this so alarming was that I have long considered my hands one of my most cherished and best physical features. I've been a pianist since age 5, and consequently have (what I had considered to be) long, elegant, piano-playing fingers.
Apparently not. I have CLAWS!
Although, the more I think about it, the more I am reminded that aesthetic appeal is in the eye of the beholder. Behold, my aesthetically appealing (read: menacingly creepy) hand!
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
muzing # 027: i wanna escape to the movies
And, in fact, I did! Seeing as it's my last week of freedom before classes resume, I decided what better way to spend it than taking in a couple of flicks. That's the plan for this week anyway. Today I enjoyed my second helping of Spider-Man 2. Oh how I love this movie, but I shan't bore you all by counting the ways. ;-) Suffice to say I think I actually loved it more the second time around! The jokes were still fresh and that train scene took my breath away again... and yes I sighed like a silly girly girl when Spidey and MJ were lounging on the giant web. *siggggh* How romantic, suspended high in the air on a huge spiderweb, the NY city lights providing a stunning back drop, the river boiling below.
I now have the setting for my dream date.
I'd like to spin a web and wrap you in its silver thread
(appropriate line from one of my favourite songs)
Ahem, moving on! I've been meaning to post some thoughts about some of the DVDs I've been renting lately. Consider this my post-it reminder to myself. Yep.
last movie viewing: "Spider-Man 2" [cinema]
bookworm currently enjoying: "The Cage of Nine Banestones" - Eric Van Lustbader
Monday, July 12, 2004
muzing # 026: a merry mid-year christmas
Yesterday I experienced my first "Christmas in July" celebration. Traditionally, the extended family has our Christmas get-together on Boxing Day. Last year, after yet another stinking hot and humid Boxing Day we decided to move our Christmas celebration to the cooler middle of the year. Oddly enough, it was so warm yesterday it almost felt like a mild summer's day!
As far as I could tell, all shared the opinion that it was a resounding success. It even felt quite Christmassy - with lots of wee kiddies (the next generation) frolicking around and being excited about presents, how could it not? :-) (Plus there was the delicious plum pudding my Grandma cooked up.)
And now I look forward to this year's Boxing Day, lounging in front of the tele with a fan and trays of ice cubes to keep me cool, recovering from Christmas Day overindulgence... and watching day one of the Boxing Day Test!
Friday, July 09, 2004
muzing # 025: i do believe in fairies!
Last night while waiting for the second last episode ever of Angel (thanks for nothing channel 7, making us wait till 11:05pm!) I filled my time by watching Peter Pan. It was my second viewing as I caught this film in the cinema, back on the 27th of January (yes I keep movie ticket stubs, what a geek!). I recalled that I had enjoyed it muchly when I saw it in the cinema, but watching it again reminded me just how delightful a film it is! It's a shame it hasn't had great success, it's such a fun adventure movie.
Jason Isaacs is just wonderful in the dual roles of Captain Hook and Mr Darling, and the DVD includes a positively hilarious section of deleted sequences featuring Mr Darling (quite literally) in the dog house! Jeremy Sumpter is at times an inspired Pan, at worst he is adequate. The other child actors/actresses are all a joy to behold. I did find myself thinking that Harry Newell (who played John Darling - see pic) would have made a decent Harry Potter (appearance-wise) - had Dan Radcliffe not been discovered. :-)
The DVD includes an alternate ending, featuring the lovely Saffron Burrows as grown-up Wendy. As the film stands, Burrows serves only as the occasional voice-over narrator, so it was nice to see this scene. I think it would have worked fine in the film, though it does drag the ending out, which I presume was the reason behind discarding it.
Peter Pan [DVD]
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
muzing # 024: he's got a huge.. talent!
I only watch Rove when there are guests who interest me. As it happens last night there was not one, but two guests I was incredibly eager to see: two actors who star in shows I adore: James Marsters ("Spike" in Buffy and Angel), and Ioan Gruffudd (of Hornblower fame).
First up was Ioan Gruffudd, who was there to promote the upcoming King Arthur, though there was, disappointingly, little discussion about it. Rove seemed more interested in talking about Hornblower's costumes. It was a rather unenlightening interview (standard Rove fare) but frankly I was happy enough just to listen to Gruffudd's easy-on-the-ears accent. ;-) However, the interview concluded on a high note, with Gruffudd revealing his "amazing talents" (a theme for the show last night). He was blessed with an unusually long tongue, with which he can perform some quite remarkable contortions...
... which resulted in some interesting muzings on my part, none of which can be repeated as this is a G-rated public blog.
Moving on to James Marsters, I can't much recall what he spoke about, as I spent the duration of his interview being amused by his somewhat manic demeanor. Apparently he was nervous, but I'm wondering if it was a nicotine patch high. I don't know much about such things, but I do believe the recommended number of patches to apply at any one time is one - Marsters had two. He did share some potentially exciting news for we Buffy and Angel fans (currently mourning the end of both shows) by admitting that he has signed on for a "Spike" telemovie. Apparently this is contingent on other cast members agreeing to a series of four telemovies, focusing on individual characters.
Fingers crossed for that! I think of all the characters in the Buffy/Angel 'verse, I'd be most interested in movies devoted to Spike, Drusilla, Wesley and Giles.
groovin' to: "My Immortal" - Evanescence
last movie viewing: "The Sin Eater" [DVD]
Sunday, July 04, 2004
muzing # 023: a wiggley party
Today was a glorious Winter's day. The sky was a vibrant blue, the sun warmed the air to higher-than-normal Winter temperatures, and a cooling afternoon breeze brought a refreshing end to the day.
I spent this glorious Winter's day in a wonderful way - at a Wiggley party! My impossibly adorable nephew Daniel celebrated his 2nd Birthday (he's growing up so fast!) and as he is a fan of The Wiggles, that was the theme for his party. My sister-in-law did an amazing job of amassing all kinds of Wiggles paraphernalia to decorate the place, and my brother made sure there was an endless supply of Wiggles music in the background. I think I am hooked. :-)
Much fun was had by all, particularly during the bashing of the (unbreakable) piñata! I also managed to wear three Wiggles party hats at the one time, a quite remarkable feat as far as I'm concerned. Unfortunately, Daniel seemed rather bemused by his Auntie acting so silly. Oh well. :-)
Saturday, July 03, 2004
muzing # 022: sleeping ugly
My favourite part of the day (in Winter anyway) is when I curl up under my warm blankets to sleep. I have this wonderfully warm and soft blanket with a print of a tiger's head on it; it's quite magnificent. Anyway, I just love that feeling of being cocooned in warmth, peaceful and relaxed.
The flip side of this is, of course, that my least favourite part of the day is when I have to emerge from my cocoon each cold morning. *sigh* It's not right that getting up is such a challenge.
If I were a fairytale character, without question I would opt to be Sleeping Beauty. And nevermind the beauty part, as long as I get to be the sleeping part!
groovin' to: "Well You Needn't" - Jamie Cullum
last movie viewing: "The Core" [DVD]