What I’ve Been Watching
The Rewrite – Hugh Grant plays an Oscar-winning screen writer down on his luck who goes to the east coast to teach writing. This was an ok romantic comedy, and Hugh was back on form. Marissa Tomei stars as his love interest, and she is always lovely on screen.
Miss You Already – is a good little dramedy about two friends, Toni Colette and Drew Barrymore. Both are great onscreen, but it is not the best movie I have seen. A nice light, leave your brain at the door flick.
Love The Coopers – another big star, Christmas movie, about a family coming together over their issues for Christmas! Diane Keaton and John Goodman were great as the Mum and Dad, whose marriage is falling apart. It had it’s moments, but ultimately was only just ok.
Sisters – with Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. This was awful, why did they bother, they are talented, classy comedians, but this showed neither. I just do not understand!
Zoolander 2 – this was a lot of fun, not at good as the first, but still pretty good. Stiller and Wilson were as good as ever, and the supporting cast, large and superb. I loved the clever little bits with Sting, that made me crack up. Funny and silly, clever and ridiculous!
Everest – is another blockbuster, that was ok. I guess you know the outcome, but it was well acted, and had a great cast.
The Lobster - is my movie of the month. Very unusual and difficult to explain, but basically single people are sent to a special place to meet other single people but if they do not by a certain time they are hunted (by the remaining singles) and turned into animals. It is a little bit more complex than that, but unique and clever, and I was mesmerised, especially with Colin Farrell’s lead performance. Great supporting cast too.
The Durrells – this was a lovely 6 part remake for tele that encompasses all three of the The Corfu Trilogy by Gerald Durrell. It was perfect in casting, set beautifully on Corfu of course, was funny and glamorous and enchanting. If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading The Corfu Trilogy you must, there are the memoirs of Gerald and his family moving to Corfu between the wars and after their father passed. As young boy, he was in his element, collecting animals and exploring the island, all the things that obviously led him to be the great conservationist he ended up as.
Offspring – the new series of Offspring was a slow burn, without the original people behind it (creators, writers etc), it lacked a certain je ne sais quoi. BUt as the series moved it did build to a lovely crescendo. Most of the cast was back, but it did that awful jump the shark thing of adding new cast members that just did not work. It was still good, but not quite at it’s height.
The Affair S2 – this followed the first season. It’s a complex story with great acting, but really no redeemable characters. I think I just enjoyed the cleverness of the story and they unique way they presented it. The show’s premise is an affair, but there is much more to it than that, including an intriguing mystery. It looks like there will be a third series, but to be honest I think that is stretching it!
The Code S2 – I’m not as into The Code as I was the first season, something is lacking in this season and I cannot quite put my finger onto it. Maybe too many cast members, too much subterfuge, it’s good, but S1 is great!
Ahn Do’s Brush With Fame - this lovely little doco series shows Ahn’s incredible genius at painting portraits, mostly in oil. Incredibly gifted, not only as an artist, and a comedian, but as an interviewer, getting the most out of his subject. Essential viewing!
Great American Train Journeys – really enjoying this SBS series, of travelling the east coast looking at the old railway journeys of the past and how the lines have changed over the years. Not just about railways, but more about the areas, starting in New York and moving down the coast.
History Docos – I’ve been watching a range of docos on tele, The Romanovs, Tsars, and Versailles. All beautifully presented and interesting.
What I’ve Been Reading
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver – I listened to this on audio book, read by the author, and it is one of the best books I have ‘read’. I knew it had won a lot of awards and was a book of note, and it happened to come through my hands at work not long after finishing The Lacuna. It is the story of a southern family moving to The Congo as missionaries. It is told from the story of the minister’s wife and their 4 girls. The story was compelling, the characters remarkable, the sense of self/voice utterly unique, and just a commanding package. It is funny and heart breaking, and complex and frustrating, and the story spans over many decades. This truly is a must read if you love books and great stories. It will probably enter my top all time favourite stories.
Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence – well I had never read this and whilst I knew it was known as a spicey book, I did not expect it to be as spicey as it was. Oh My! This was another audio book, and I don’t mind saying there were times I was lucky I didn’t crash my car. It is definitely a melodramatic story, but well written and an eye opener for the time.
Talking to My Country – Stan Grant – this is a must read for all Australians, part memoir, part commentary of indigenous life today. Stan writes with a deep, open heart and considerable passion about the stories and challenges of his family and about his own life and the change he wants to see within his country.
Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms by Anita Heiss – This is a different style of novel to what we have come to expect from the wonderful Anita Heiss, and it is a great surprise. I’ve always enjoyed her chick lit and sense of humour, and whilst that is still evident, she has moved to historical fiction with romance at the centre of the story with this one. I enjoyed this change of direction thoroughly. Set against the backdrop of the Cowra Outbreak, it also tells the story of the aboriginal settlement there, and Mary a young aboriginal girl who helps look after one of the Japanese POW who escaped. A romance forms, and whilst this is at the heart of this story, it is the history of the area that forms the real strength of the story.
What I Have Been Listening To
A Version of Now – Peter Garrett – this is the first solo album from Garrett and its good, but it does lack the oomp of MIdnight Oil, which shows what collaborating can achieve. But it is worth listening to.