The adventures of a cardboard box

This is really cute.  A little boy and his sister find lots of wonderful things to do with a cardboard box.  Reminded me of when my kids were little and the fun they had with moving boxes and the like.

“Filmed entirely on a cell phone, this short film relates the adventures a child can find from just a cardboard box and an imagination. Filmed in Bergen, Norway by Temujin Doran. (via Laughing Squid)”


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The King’s Speech – a truly great movie

It isn’t very often that I see the award winning movies before they win their awards but this one, and quite a few of the winners of Golden Globes this year, I did.  We went to it the other night and had a truly good movie experience.  The acting is just superb.  All the actors are perfectly cast, and they give performances which are out of the box.  Colin Firth as the poor Bertie, terrified of being King and supported by his loving wife Elizabeth, crippled with a debilitating speech impediment which leaves him terrified of speaking publicly.  This movie is moving and gripping. The relationship between the speech therapist and his unusual ways and his wonderful attitude to the royals and particularly Bertie is just grand.  This movie is really a parade of fabulous actors doing wonderful things.  Everything about the movie is right.

The story of Wallace Simpson and Edward has always interested me and this is explored a little bit during the movie – I’d really like a new movie about this relationship. I love stories about human frailties and imperfections especially when they are about royals who are somewhat mysterious to us and about whose lives we are only allowed snippets of information.

This is a movie to own.  Don’t wait for the DVD, head out to the movies, enjoy the atmosphere, the costumes and the sheer power of fabulous acting.

Loved it to bits.

Website for the film is here.

Burlesque – the movie

Last night a group of lovely women headed off for a big night on the town to see this movie.  We were most excitable, not so much for the movie but more for the Burlesque show that preceded it.  Drinkies at Pequeno – love that bar!  Then we headed to the show.  A bunch of beauties strutted their stuff, waggled their wobbly bits and tittivated us with their – well you know what bits.  It was fun, it was classy and they were really good.  We watched the movie then headed back to Pequeno for more laughter and chats.  An excellent evening.

Now on to the movie, well luckily the first scene was by far the worst.  It couldn’t get any worse than that opening scene to be sure, horrible very bad acting.  I thought I might have to harm myself if the whole movie was going to be that bad, why on earth didn’t they re-do that scene?   The costumes are amazing, Christina Aguelera certainly has a grand old voice on her but I think she should probably sing for her living rather than act.  Cher is – well she is Cher, exactly the same as she always is in every movie, but likeable as always too.  Stanley Tucci is just lovely and he alone is worth the price of the ticket.  Some of the songs in this are downright ordinary and very long, but for a girls night out it was a ‘just fine’ movie.

If you love campy costumey musicals this will be a must, do not expect great drama, but it is a bit of fluff which is fairly fun.  You will see every single cliche rolled out and you will have the story figured out in about the first 10 minutes, but what the hey, it is a frothy frilly thing!


“Lucky finds himself in a bind, and he’s going to have to pull off more than a Houdini act to get himself out of this one.”

Watch this video!  It is very full on!  Excitement all the way!  The music by The Sleepy Jackson is excellent, and the writer and director is Nash Edgerton it is produced by Brooke Wilson.  He is Blue Tongue films who did Animal Kingdom which I am so desperate to see, and there are a whole bundle more clips on their YouTube channel and they are very entertaining watching.  I recommend.

Luis – creepy sinister and mysterious

This is so sad and beautifully sinister.  This movie recently won the big YouTube competition. The film-makers (Luis (2008) by Niles Atallah, Joaquin Cociña, Cristóbal León) are Chilean and this is the second of their films featuring Luis.  Turn your sound up so that you can hear the breathing.

I’ve just read a book called The courage consort where the main character in the book hears screaming nightly from  the forest where the house she is staying in is located, this video was in my mind when I was reading it.

SYNOPSIS: Luis talks about his life in the forest and his relationship with Lucía. He appears in charcoal on the walls of a room filled with broken objects that constantly shift around. Little by little the room clears up as the objects return to their proper places.


If you are a fan of the action movie, one which toys with your mind, one which keeps you guessing until the final moment as the credits start to roll, get thee to see this movie.  It is a high tension, sit on the edge of your seat and ‘did I really see that’ kind of movie.  On the way into the theatre the ticket seller told us she had seen it 5 times and was still seeing new things, we thought that a very good sign.

It is made by Christopher Nolan who made the last Batman movie which I also really enjoyed a couple of years ago,  I had dragged the boychild out for the evening and Batman was his movie choice,  I wasn’t expecting to like it myself at all.  So Inception has that same dark sinister feel, and cross that with James Bond and you are getting near how this movie feels.  Interestingly the characters are less important than the story and you could argue that they don’t acquire your sympathy very much at times, but I don’t think that is really a flaw in the movie, it feels like you have a kind of business like relationship with these guys.  My fave was Joseph Gordon-Levit I thought he was just so snarky cool, and beautifully dressed to boot. Loved the banter with him and the other guys.

Lots of folk have said that you need to concentrate and that it is difficult to follow but I didn’t find that.  I was completely tensed up and anxiety ridden and still haven’t figured out where we were at the end, but that is exactly what they wanted.  I was probably the target audience.  Excellent movie and I am going to see it again.

The Girl Who Played with Fire – the movie

It is a terrifying thing to go to the movie of a book you absolutely loved.  This book kept me up very late at night, I was totally engrossed in this book and the characters were so cool check the posting on it.  So, going to the movie was a bit scary, would it live up to my expectations?  Would they ruin it with cinematic tinkering?  No they didn’t.  I really enjoyed it.  I don’t know how you would cope if you hadn’t read the book, there is a lot of stuff happening in this and they certainly left out quite a lot of the detail, but man there is such a lot of detail in those books and I guess they had to.

Look it isn’t as good as the first movie, but it is a close second and I really liked it once I got back into the groove, and the fabulous woman who plays the main character is just perfect, when I grow up I’m going to be like her, great love scene too actually.

What really happened to the dinosaurs

This is the cutest little movie, show your kids, they’ll love it.  By Canadian Munro Fergusson it is called How Dinosaurs Learned To Fly.  It is one of quite a few available from the National Film Board of Canada, there are others that are really worth watching too.  Go check them out at the animated ones are here.  The one about the girl who hated books is really good too.

Sorry the embed code for this isn’t working.  Click here for the video.

Red Riding Hood as you haven’t seen her before

This fantastic little film came to me via Books for Hotties which is a very cool blog with a penchant for all things Grim Brothers at the moment.  Check it out it is fantastic, love the photos of grim characters in this post.  I’m rapidly becoming very keen on short films, seen quite a lot of them in recent months and have posted some on here, like this one.  Maybe that will be one of my goals for next year, to watch 100 short films.  Anyway enjoy Red Riding Hood, find out how a human eye is constructed, the nutritional value of Riding Hood’s basket and other most interesting stuff.  I think it most cute!

The animator is Tomas Nilsson
The music:

A Single Man

Colin Firth is marvelous in this film, even if you only ever thought of him as a romantic comedy guy this film will make you see that he is indeed, a real actor.  The opening scene of a man in a suit walking very assuredly toward a man who has obviously been thrown from a car and killed, and lying down in the cold snow beside the body is totally spare and moving.  The film is the story of George Falconer, a professor of English,  whose partner has been killed and who can’t face life without him.  He has given up hope and has decided to kill himself.  His dear friend played by Julianne Moore is a drunken expat Brit who has that tired air about her.  She drinks all night and sleeps all day and bemoans her life.  These two depend on each other.  The whole movie is sad and there is an air of anger about it.  The absolutely best moments are when George lectures his students on the subject of fear.

Tom Ford has made a movie which is beautiful and arty to look at, but at the same time very accessible and not self indulgent.  Excellent, I look forward to his next movie.

Mary and Max

This is a wonderful claymation movie.  Two of life’s misfits connect by accident and friendship ensues.  This lovely Australian movie with the gorgeous voices of Barry Humphries, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Toni Collette made me smile and made me sad.  A lovely way to spend an evening.  I loved the way the characters were so unattractively fabulous and am determined to try a chocolate hotdog!

Boy – NZ film at it’s most accessible

This is the must see movie of the year for all New Zealand.  Believe the hype, this is just so cool.  You will walk out of the theater with a smile on your face and you will be humming along to a lot of the songs you remember from the early 80’s – if you are old enough.  This is the story of a young boy called Boy, his brother Rocky and their Dad,  Alamein, who returns to their small town after an extended absence in prison.  Everyone has to get used to each other and learn about each other, Boy has built his Dad into a hero, but the reality is slightly different.  Boy has been  left in charge of Rocky and  assorted smaller cousins while their grandma is called away to a funeral.  When Dad turns up with his two mates everything changes.  It is a story of finding out who you are, the truth about things you thought you knew.  There are some great scenes in it but the overwhelming feel of the movie is that it could only have been made in New Zealand.  I loved every minute of it.  Taika Waititi has captured something essentially feel good, and yet at the same time  moving and sad about the relationships in the movie it is totally gorgeous! Do visit the website turn up the volume on your computer and smile.

Top image from:

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Steig Larsson

Well, I’m done.  I’ve knocked the Millennium Series off now, and they great!  It seems that if you start talking about these books in a public place it makes it really easy to strike up conversation, everyone is reading them.  The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest is the third and final one – if you don’t count the unpublished one they have found on the authors computer, but can’t publish because of disputes over who should be paid the royalties.  Steig Larsson is dead now, no more fabulous books to keep me up late at night – till 2am a few nights, such a shame.

Actress Noomi Rapace who plays Lisbeth Salander

This third one I found, in the beginning, took about a 100 pages or so for me to sort out all the characters and get them ordered in my mind.  Lots of names all beginning with the same letters and sounding the same in my mind, but, this is the book that pulls all the threads together, you couldn’t possibly stop after the second book.  This one gives you closure.  You have been reading a story where lots is going on and there is so much action that you don’t need to think too much about how it all fits together, but in this one you get lots of ah ha moments as you find out exactly who was double crossing who and why.

If you want to watch a preview of this movie, which is out in Europe but a long way off here, given that the movie of the second one isn’t even here yet then go and have a look here (YouTube Link).  Have a look at Mary Whipple’s blog for lots of links to the videos and info.  I also like this interview with the actress who plays Lisbeth Salander.

There has been a bit of discussion at school about whether the books are too violent to have on the shelves.  I love this kind of discussion, and it’s great to get people talking about these kind of books because often it is the things that make some readers uncomfortable that also make them have to think about what it really is they object to.  In the case of these books it is the violence usually that they cite, but I also think that the frankly written sexuality in the books is something that makes people really uncomfortable.  Lisbeth’s fluid sexuality is really well written I think, and the fact that there is well written lesbian sex in the books – written by a man – makes some people really uncomfortable.  There is also heterosexual sex, violent sex and rape in the books, but if you ban the books for that reason then you are really missing the point.  These books, I think, are about power, control and manipulation by the state.  There is blatant, state sanctioned misogyny in the story as a kind of back story, the original title was Men who hate women, and the author had spent many years researching Sweden’s dark and seedy side. It seems that a lot of what he knew to be true, about how the State manipulated the media and managed to control the lives of ordinary citizens is written into these books as a fictional situation.  I imagine this is not particular to Sweden, and you have to remember that they are fiction.  Maybe fiction based on some real situations but fiction nonetheless.  See the post about the other one in the series here.

This is courtesy of boingboing

“Yelp is Tiffany Shlain and Ken Goldberg’s new short film that provides a glimpse at their work-in-progress, a feature documentary called Connected  about “what it means to be human in the 21st century.”

This is really interesting, and made me wonder if I could actually spend 24 hours without Facebook, email, and so on.  And actually I did this weekend.  But I was pretty keen to go online when I got home.  It is my first reaction these days to turn on my computer and check my facebook page when I get home, which is very sad as often nobody has commented anything on there and I am frankly not much interested in many of the things that flow through on my feeds, and as for Twitter, I am only using it for professional stuff anyway and can certainly have a break from that for any amount of time and although there will be dozens of links posted in there I will probably only look at about 20% of them.

The time taken up with my online life is certainly meaning that other things drop off.  This is bad, my house is grimy, my reading life is suffering and I need to get control.  So, I am going to back on track and get my reading the classics programme up and running again.  A quick squiz through my bookshelf this afternoon, and I have discovered a huge number of unread tomes to get started on.  – After I check my facebook page hahahaha!

The girl with the dragon tattoo by Stieg Larsson

I gave in, I bowed to pressure and I went to see the movie before I had a chance to read the book.  Wow did I have a good time.  It is brilliant, the acting is superb, the setting picture perfect and the tension is totally extreme.  In the theatre there was this huge intake of breath when the tension finally broke.  Yes it is a bit grim, very grim, it makes you squirm in your seat but you should all rush out and see it.  Blimmin fantastic.

In other related news tonight I start the second book in the series, straight to number two for me.

You know it’s Christmas when …

Love Actually is on the telly.  It makes me cry, every time.  I know, pathetic, but it’s one of my faves.  I really love the opening and the ending.  Here is the script of the very start.

Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world,

I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow airport.

General opinion makes out that we live in a world of hatred and greed

I don't see that.

Seems to me that love is everywhere.

Often it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy but it's always there.

Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives,

boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends.

When the planes hit the Twin Towers,

none of the phone calls from people on board were messages of hate or revenge,

hey were all messages of love.

lf you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around.'

In The Loop

This is my movie of the year so far.  Hilarious, witty, clever in the extreme.  America and Britain’s conniving politicians talking their double talk and playing their games kind of accidently on purpose prepare to declare war on the Middle East.  The language is so spectacular and the use of swear words is almost unprecedented but I goddammed loved it!

What makes people happy?

A documentary by filmmaker Lisa Cypers Kamen and her daughter, Kayla Kamen.  Together Lisa and Kayla explore the hypothesis that every person, regardless of socioeconomic level, age, ethnicity, career, health, or life circumstances, possesses happiness or the means to feel happy. Their endeavor to discover possibly universal keys to human happiness leads the duo on an entertaining, deeply touching documentary adventure. Watch this: