February 29, 2016

Film Review - Jurassic Park Ultimate Trilogy By Director Steven Spielberg

Jurassic Park, The Lost World and Jurassic Park 3 are all action packed adventures showing man up against the ultimate prehistoric predators, in the battle for life and death.

 In the Jurassic Park Ultimate Trilogy the groundbreaking film making and special effects make it the ultimate movie marathon. Anne

February 22, 2016

Film Review - Lola Versus By Director Daryl Wein

Seeming to have the ideal relationship Lola is shocked when dumped by her boyfriend 3 weeks before the wedding.

In Lola Versus she decides to throw herself back into life with the help of her close friends and goes through a series of adventures filled with love, loss and human heartache. Lola's chaotic journey towards the big 3-0 gives her a renewed faith in herself and she learns lessons that will last a lifetime. An enjoyable movie, lighthearted and entertaining. Anne

February 19, 2016

Book Review—Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter

A widowed Ted Hughes scholar and his two boys try to cope with grief and are visited by Crow, the eponymous figure from Hughes’ Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow. Crow tells the father early on that “I will only stay as long as you need me”, and so beings a multi-voiced narrative, moving between Crow’s musings about the family and the pleasure he finds in grief and Dad and the Boys coming to grips with their grief and Crow in their lives.

Grief reads much like a collection of poems within the frame narrative of a widower and his two boys. Much like grief it lacks coherence, moving between frenzied memories, the drudging inactivity of everyday life that slowly becomes the new normal, and the voices one adopts, sometimes little more than an inexplicable kraah, other times fanciful tales that mix memory and desire. Crow acts as therapist , trickster, substitute, scapegoat, and healer. As in Hughes’ work, it celebrates the uncertainties of the figure, taking sombre pleasure in his multitude of roles in different mythologies, all highly personalised in Grief, with Dad and the Boys coming to realize that this unfathomable figure in their lives is grief itself. There are no answers beyond that, because beyond its existence there is nothing certain about grief.

As alluring as it is distressing, Grief is the Thing with Feathers traverses the territory of sorrow without attempting to simplify its intricacies.

February 15, 2016

Film Review - Fat Kid Rules The World By Director Matthew Lillard

A depressed and suicidal high school student gets adopted by a high school dropout. They form a punk rock band together even though he has no idea how to play the drums becomes the drummer. The film has two lovable main characters and over time the hard cop father softens up.

One of messages in Fat Kid Rules The World is to take a chance in life and be brave. Another message is that going on a diet isn't the only way to happiness if you're over weight. I enjoyed the film and especially liked his imaginings at times of stress. 

February 12, 2016

Film Review—Ex Machina

Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson) wins a rare opportunity of a one week session at the home of Nathan (Oscar Isaac), the reclusive internet billionaire who founded Blue Book, the company for which he works. Once he arrives he realizes just how isolated the home is, with the only other person being Kyoko (Sonoya Mizuno), Nathan’s maid who does not speak English. Nathan explains the need for this seclusion: he has been working on an AI humanoid called Ava (Alicia Vikander) and needs Caleb to perform a Turing Test (where an AI must convince its tester that it is human). Over the course of his chats with Ava she expresses her longings and desires, as well as revealing dark secrets about Nathan. Caleb’s thoughts become blurred by the effectiveness of Ava and the realisation that Nathan is not completely honest with him, leading to decisions that have unexpected consequences.

Vikander’s performance leads the film in style and content. Being a skeletal machine with the exception of her face, the expectation is for something cold and calculating, but instead the humanity seeps through the small window. The film has a stripped back yet highly polished design, laying bare the actors and the writing, leaving no room to hide. Added to this is the film's working within neo-noir conventions, with Ava the alluring femme fatale to Caleb’s sole detective, and Nathan as the corrupt, untrustworthy authority that holds all the cards. As each hand is dealt and each truth revealed another turn diminishes those assertions until the unexpected results take their toll. All the ideas swirling around, from the nature of intelligence to role of inspiration, longing, desire and the deliberateness of actions, work within this thriller framework.

Suspenseful and highly intelligent, Ex Machina makes the most of its minimalist setting with ever expansive ideas. 

February 08, 2016

Film Review - Hatha and Flow Yoga for Beginners By Director Andrea Ambandos

This DVD contains two Yoga programs. The Hatha session relieves stress and promotes relaxation, static poses are used with a strap, belt or towel to aid stretching. The Flow stretching uses poses from Ashtanga yoga and the poses aid in weight loss, balance and mental focus. The workouts can be practised individually or together.

Hatha and Flow Yoga for Beginners is very relaxing and gentle, it will definitely become a standard in my exercise routine.

Movie Club—Rebel Without a Cause

This month the Movie Club will be screening the original film of teenage angst Rebel Without a Cause. Directed by Nicholas Ray, the film stars Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo and James Dean in a career and generation defining role.

Jim Stark (Dean) is new in town, but even before he attends his first day at school he is picked up by police on a drunkenness charge. His parents come to get him out, and the juvenile division officer learns of Jim's anger at the constant bickering of his parents. There he also meets Judy (Wood), who gets herself into trouble to try to connect with her seemingly disinterested father, and Plato (Mineo), who comes from a broken home and was arrested for shooting puppies.

At school things don't improve. Although Plato becomes fascinated with Jim and tries to befriend him, and Jim tries to connect with Judy, her boyfriend, Buzz, and his gang don't take to kindly to Jim, resulting in a knife fight. Buzz eventually decides to settle this with a chicken run. From there all three find themselves becoming involved in ever more problematic behavior spiraling out of their control.

The film's power lies in its seeming inability to describe what is causing the youth to 'rebel'. There is an uncertainty that permeates all the actions, with questions "why do we do this?" or "what can you do when you have to be a man?" All attempts at answers are unconvincing, with some giving up simply by admitting "I don’t even know why I do it", and others attempting to provide weak although compelling reason like "you've gotta do something."

The film will be screened on Wednesday 10 February at 6pm at Narellan Library, Corner of Queen and Elyard Street, Narellan. Tea, coffee, and biscuits provided, but BYO snacks are more than welcome. Stay after the screening to chat about the many uncertainties and questions the film leaves unanswered. Share your thoughts or use the discussion questions.

February 05, 2016

Book Review—Peru by Gordon Lish

At the tender age of six, Gordon murdered Steven Adinoff in Andy Leiblich’s sandbox. After witnessing scenes on the television of violent acts from a prison in Peru, Gordon begins to remember this event. But as he remembers, as he interrogates whatever details his memory is willing to conjure, his thoughts take on a new form, until the very murder at the centre of Gordon’s reminiscences becomes uncertain.

Unlike other memory narratives where the process involves the clich├ęd “peeling an onion” technique, where removing layers of details reveals the truth, Peru works the opposite way. “There is nothing I will not tell you if I can think of it”, Gordon promises us, and so he circles around the facts of the matter as well as seemingly inconsequential details that will not yield. The flurry of repetition both immediate (“Steven Adinoff is not even the half of it, Steven Adinoff is not even a smidgen of it. For instance, for instance—speaking of the cellar for instance”) and in recurring passages (the coloured man and the Buick, the matriarchal nanny, Andy’s sister in the cellar, the hoe striking into Steven Adinoff’s head) all add to this swirling around that both confirms as it casts doubt. To add to this blurring of the real and the false Lish, the author, uses his real given name (Gordon) for the protagonist and dedicates the novel not only to his real family but also and the fictional(?) deceased boy. Even the basic assumptions of what is ‘real’ and what is fictional are not guaranteed.

Frightening with its allure of the obsessiveness of memory, Peru is a haunting look at a gruesomely twisted childhood nostalgia.

February 01, 2016

Film Review - That Sugar Film By Director Damon Gameau

"A definite must see"
-Jamie Oliver

With all the hype about our diet and sugar at the moment this is a very important documentary to see.
Damon Gameau takes us on a journey documenting the effects of a high sugar diet on his own healthy body. He uses only foods that are seemingly seen as healthy.

That Sugar Film is a witty and informative documentary, something the whole family can watch. It is very eye opening and the high sugar diet results are not surprising. An enjoyable and thought provoking film.