December 19, 2016

Book Review - “Blue Is The Warmest Color” By Julie Maroh, translated by Ivanka Hahnenberger

“Blue Is The Warmest Color” is a graphic novel that follows the protagonist, Clementine, as she moves through the motions of growing up, while trying to make sense of her infatuation with Emma: the girl with blue hair. Throughout the story Clem challenges the idea of her own identity, family and friendships.

“Blue Is The Warmest Color” is a great entry point into the graphic novel genre. The text is structured around diary entries which act like traditional chapter breaks, which makes it easy to read. The written text is fast-paced, while the images offer a tender unfolding of Clem’s life. All of this contributes to a story that is exhilarating and emotive.
*This graphic novel contains explicit content and is intended for an adult audience.

December 14, 2016

Book Review - Women in Workboots : Inspirational stories of women who have broken through the barriers in male dominated industries By Lynette Gray

This book contains some great tips and secrets from women who have succeeded in male dominated careers. Author, entrepreneur and business leader, Lynette Gray has created Women in Workboots  for women to have more of a voice in these industries, her aim is to inspire, encourage and educate women.

Some of her tips include-
  • Do what you enjoy
  • Do it with your full heart
  • Don't think, just do it!
  • Have fun while you are doing it!
  • Laugh, have your cups of coffee and enjoy your work
The book contains 13 chapters and it is filled with great inspirational stories, my favourite being about Eleni Mitakos, chapter 5 the 2013 Telstra Business Women's Awards Nominee. Anne

December 11, 2016

Movie Club—It's a Wonderful Life

This month the Movie Club will be screening It's a Wonderful Life, starring James Stewart and Lionel Barrymore, and directed by Frank Capra.

George Bailey (Stewart) is a good sort. He saved his kid brother drowning, he stopped a depressed druggist from accidentally poisoning someone, and he gave up his dreams to continue his father's savings and loan business to stop the old Scrooge-like Henry F. Potter (Barrymore), from gaining a complete monopoly of the town. But George is at a crisis, and contemplates ending it all one Christmas Eve, until Clarence, an unlikely guardian angel, shows him what the world would be like without him, and the vision is more hellish than he could possible imagine.

The film is one of many sentimental dramas by Capra, but it is perhaps the most complete. The film itself has gone on to become the quintessential Christmas movie despite the fact that Capra himself never wanted the film pigeonholed as a "Christmas picture" and instead wanted it to celebrate the lives and dreams of ordinary American citizens. It has nonetheless had a long life after its initial release with countless TV reruns and DVD/bluray purchases. The film itself is well directed, perfectly cast with Jimmy Stewart's "awshucks" good fella routine serving him well and Lionel Barrymore clearly having a great deal of fun as the miserly Potter.

The film will be screened on Wednesday 14 December 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 share your thoughts about the film and join in a discussion about the many wonderful moments in the film.

December 07, 2016

Book Review - Cognitive Behaviour Therapy : Your route out of pertectionism, self sabotage and other everyday habits with CBT By Avy Joseph

CBT is recognised as one of the most leading, evidence-based talking therapies. It places alot of emphasis on currently held beliefs, painful emotions and problematic behaviours that can effect us getting a fuller experience of life. In this book you will be shown how to use CBT to set yourself up for success and overcome those beliefs and habits that sabotage your life.

'People are not disturbed by events but by the view they hold about them' Epictetus, Stoic philosopher AD 75.
Containing exercises, examples and tips throughout, you will be confident to practise CBT techniques in a number of different situations.
This updated second addition is written by professional CBT practitioner Avy Joseph, the book is aimed to help you reach your goals and maintain a positive outlook no matter what life throws at you. The book is well set out and easy to read, I really enjoyed chapter 3-Setting your goals. Anne

December 02, 2016

Book Review - Braids, Bunches and Pigtails for girls by Jerry Strebe

Jenny Strebe a professional hairstlylist and educational director has more than 15 years experience working between Los Angles and NZ.

 Away from the spotlight Jenny is a mum of two and decided to create Braids, Bunches and Pigtails for girls that gives step by step instructions and lovely illustrations demonstrating over 50 different hair styles, with a style to suit every occasion. " There's never a bad hair day with this book by your side." Anne

November 30, 2016

Film Review - Just go with it By Director Dennis Dugan

Starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston this romantic comedy is full of laughs. To cover up a lie involving a wedding ring pick up line, Danny Maccabee decides to pretend that his assistant Katherine is his soon to be ex-wife to impress the new love of his life.

In Just go with it when the lies get deeper everyone ends up being involved. The kids end up tricking him into taking everyone on a fabulous holiday to Hawaii only for the situation to get more complicated. Filled with laughs, who will Danny end up with? Anne

November 25, 2016

Book Review - Country Houses of Tasmania By Alice Bennett and Georgia Warner

Travelling through the beautiful wild landscapes of Tasmania there are a number of beautiful historic homes. The homes in this book are privately owned and the author has been granted special permission to access them.

In Country Houses of Tasmania from a thorough history on each house and beautiful full size colour pictures the book is a delight to read. My personal favourites are Douglas Park and Quorn Hall. Anne

November 18, 2016

Book Review - Eat, Move and Thrive : The 5 Secrets of very healthy people By Pete Newman

Pete Newman is an exercise, nutrition and wellness coach who has written Eat, Move and Thrive to clarify health and fitness topics and to help you be proactive in obtaining great health.

The book has 5 chapters from Understanding the food industry to creating a culture of health. Filled with great information and guidance, with a strong focus on exercise and creating a healthy lifestyle.

November 16, 2016

Book Review - Mountain Men : Stories from the Australian High Country By Simon Cubit and Nic Haygarth

This book looks at the lives of ten men who chose to venture into the northern high country of Tasmania from the 1870s to the 1990s. These Mountain Men all contributed to its development of natural tourism and development in their own ways and each has a special story to tell. From hunters, mineral prospectors to horse riders they all had one thing in common, which was a true love for the Tasmanian high country.

I especially enjoyed the biography of Ray Miles the battle scared survivor, the resilience of these men was amazing. Anne

November 14, 2016

Book Review - The Lady in the Van By Alan Bennett

Based on a true story, The Lady in the Van is about a homeless old lady Miss Sheppard who in 1974 moved her broken down van into Alan Bennett's driveway as a guest.

An eccentric and difficult old women, she stayed there for over 15 years much to the shock of the Bennett's. A funny and uplifting story which has also been made into a movie. Anne

November 11, 2016

Book Review - Chicken Soup for the Soul : Create your best future, inspiring stories for teens and young adults and making the right decisions By Amy Newmark and Dr Milton Boniuk

The stories contained in this book in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series celebrate the very best in human spirit and even though it is aimed at teenagers and young adults, it is worth reading for all of us.

The book contains 10 chapters with a number of stories which are based on topics such as :
-Choosing to be your best friend
-Developing self-esteem
-Accepting and asking for help
-Reaching out to others

A very enjoyable read for myself and my tween. Anne

November 04, 2016

Book Review - Beautiful Minds - A Journey of Self- Discovery for Teenage Girls By Marina Passalaris

Marina Passalaris author of this beautiful book has worked as a make-up artist, grooming and department educator in modelling agencies all over the world.

 She realised early on that there was more to learning about our outer beauty, girls need to be taught about inner beauty too, that's how this book Beautiful Minds came about.
The book is a tool that young girls of any age and background can read to help enrich their lives.
The book contains 32 short chapters and has a beautiful cover and illustrations throughout. Anne

November 03, 2016

Movie Club—Do The Right Thing

This month the Movie Club will be screening Do the Right Thing, written and directed by Spike Lee and starring Lee, Danny Aiello, and John Turturro.

On one of the hottest days in the summer, tensions in a racially mixed neighbourhood in Brooklyn start running high as the temperature rises. Mookie (Lee) works as a pizza delivery man for Sal (Aiello), and Italian-American who has been running the business in the neighbourhood for decades. When Buggin' Out (Giancarlo Esposito) questions Sal for only having Italian-Americans and no African-Americans on his "Wall of Fame" the confrontation that follows becomes the first sign of many culturally run-ins that the day has in store. With personal tensions coming to the fore and the frustrations of clashing cultures stewing, the day comes to an explosive end.

The film has been noted as "a polemically charged portrait of contemporary race relations" and "became a subject of controversy at the same time that critics praised its allusive imagery.” (Monaco, J. How to Read a Film: Art, Technology, Language, History, Theory. Oxford, New York, 2009. p. 410). It features a colourful set design and many tumultuous cultural explorations while being a solidly crafted ensemble piece and saw Lee shift from an independent filmmaker to become one of Hollywood's main iconoclasts.

The film will be screened on Wednesday 9 November 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 share your thoughts about the film and join in a discussion about the many though provoking moments in the film.

November 02, 2016

Book Review - The next happy : Let go of the life you planned and find a new way forward By Tracey Cleantis.

" A bold, brave and incredibly relevant book". Lee Woodruff, New York Times Best selling author.
Tracy Cleantis classes herself as the Dr Kevorkian of dreams. Through The Next Happy she helps people work through grief and emotions related to failed dreams.

She covers the stages of grief in detail and supplies some self help points at the end of each chapter, which are very helpful. She takes a different point at looking at failures in life and helps you to refocus on what new opportunities you may have.
A great uplifting book. Anne

October 21, 2016

Book Review - The Dalai Lama on what matters most : Conversations on anger, compassion and action By Noriyuki Ueda

'The type of competition that says I am the winner, and you are the loser must be overcome. But a positive competition allows us to lift each other up so that everybody ends up on top' I think that this quote is invaluable in these times, with the pressure to be at the top.

This is just a sample of the quotes contained in this book. This small book written by anthropologist Noriyuki Veda from his conversations with the Dalai Lama, can be read from start to finish or can be opened at any page for some quick inspiration, where you will find great wisdom on what matters most. Anne

Book Review - El Deafo By Cece Bell

'I love El Deafo! It's everything you could want in a book : funny and touching and oh so smart.' R.J Palacio, author of Wonder.

El deafo is based on the childhood of Cece Bell who was classed as being profoundly deaf after suffering an illness at 4 years old. The book is based on her life as a child being deaf, her childhood friendships and experiences at school.

The conclusion that she comes to as she grows older is that with a little creativity and dedication, any difference can be turned into something amazing.
The book is set out like a graphic novel, colourful and easy to read. The book helped me to develop more empathy and understanding for those dealing with hearing loss. Anne

October 20, 2016

Book Review - The Everything guide to Flipping Houses : An all inclusive guide to Buying, Renovating and Selling By Melanie Williamson

House flipping has become popular on TV, although these show's make it look easy, real flips can take months. The The Everything Guide to Flipping Houses covers the process from A to Z showing potential benefits as well as the pitfalls. 

The book contains 20 in depth chapters from conducting inspections, working with a realtor to managing multiple flips. Appendix A and B also contain helpful inspection checklists.
A very informative book set out in an easy to read format. Anne

October 19, 2016

Film Review - Trainwreck - By Director Jason Moore

Starring Amy Schumer and Judd Apatow. In Trainwreck Amy has a love/hate relationship with her father, who has greatly influenced her view on monogamous relationships from a young age.

When Amy meets sports doctor to the stars Aaron Connors, those beliefs are challenged. She works for a sensationalistic magazine and has to decide how authentic to be when writing an article on the doctor, who she is falling for. Could it be possible for her to have a healthy grown up relationship with someone she really likes? A very funny and enjoyable movie. Anne

October 06, 2016

Movie Club—Lost in Translation

This month the Movie Club will be screening Lost in Translation, written and directed by Sofia Coppola and starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson.

Washed-up Hollywood actor Bob Harris (Murray) is in Tokyo to film ads for Suntory whisky. Not knowing the language and not being familiar with the culture, he finds the exercise difficult, with the translations lacking. In the hotel he meets Charlotte (Johansson) a recent graduate from Yale with a degree in philosophy who is accompanying her photographer husband, John, who is in Tokyo on assignment. Charlotte has not found her purpose in life, and is stranded in the hotel while John is out working. This leads Charlotte to explore what Japan has to offer, but she often finds these experiences have little impact with her, reflecting after one visit that she "didn't feel anything". Together Charlotte and Bob make the most of their situation and find that they develop an especially strong bond that both need even if they can't explain it.

The film received much acclaim when first released, with 95% on Rotten Tomatoes and going onto many critics best films lists. It has the rare quality of a film that is both sincere without becoming over sentimental or sappy, maintaining a clear eyed, yet compassionate look at its subjects. It features subtle and stellar performances from Murray, revealing an ability to handle poignant as well as the more humours tone of his earlier career, and newcomer at the time Johansson, who was only 18 at the time of filming. 

The film will be screened on Wednesday 12 October 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 share your thoughts about the film and join in a discussion about the many heartfelt moments in the film.

October 05, 2016

Film Review - The year Dolly Parton was my Mum - By Tara Johns

Elizabeth an average 11yr old impatient to grow up, finds out she is adopted through a genetics class at school. When she confronts her adoptive mother things don't go well.

In The year Dolly Parton was my Mum Elizabeth takes matters into her own hands and takes off across country to find the truth. An intense at times, coming of age movie. Anne

September 21, 2016

Film Review - The Joneses - By Director Derrick Borte

Starring David Duchovny, Demi Moore and Amber Heard. In The Joneses the story is based on a designer trend setting seemingly perfect family who have moved into an upper middle class suburb in the US.

The envy of their neighbours, they quickly become extremely popular in the neighborhood. When the truth finally comes out as to what they are really up to they are all forced to face some hard truths about themselves. Anne

September 07, 2016

Film Review - Mental - By Director P.J Hogan

From the same director as Muriel's Wedding and starring Toni Collette, Mental stars Shaz a hitchhiker with a shady past who is hired as a nanny to care for five teenage girls for Barry a philandering politician.

Their mother Shirley is on "holidays" at a mental hospital.
The girls are convinced they all have mental illnesses and the relationships of other family members and neighbours are explored with some hilarious consequences. This is a very funny and at times emotional movie.

September 01, 2016

Movie Club—Fargo

This month the Movie Club will be screening Joel and Ethan Coen's Fargo, starring Francis McDormand, William H. Macy, and Steve Buscemi.

Car salesman Jerry Lundegaard (Macy) dreams of becoming rich like his father-in-law, Wade Gustafson (Harve Presnell), by investing in a parking garage development. To do this, he needs cash, and the best solution he can devise is to have his wife Jean (Kristin Rudrüd) kidnapped so that he can collect the ransom money, knowing that her wealthy father would more than willingly pay it for her safe return. To do this, he hires two career criminals, Gaear Grimsrud (Peter Stormare) and Carl Showalter (Buscemi). But things go wrong from the outset, and as the body count rises the events spiral out of Jerry's control. Pregnant police chief Marge Gunderson must use all her police cunning to bring those responsible to justice.

The film has garnered universal acclaim after its release, with the reviewing duo Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel crowning it the best film of 1996. It has maintained its status, given its unique characterisations, offbeat dark humour, and exaggerated local colour.

The film will be screened on Wednesday 14 September 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 share your thoughts about the film and join in a discussion about the many darkly humourous moments in the film.

August 31, 2016

Film Review - Still Alice - By Richard Glatzer

In Still Alice a linguistics professor is deeply challenged when she is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease.

Her family comes to terms with it in their own way. The diagnosis proved to be even more challenging for some members due to genetic consequences. Alice decides to make the most of her remaining time to enjoy the simple things in life with the ones she loves. A heartbreaking but amazing story of strength, love and bravery. Anne

August 17, 2016

Film Review - Big Eyes - By Tim Burton

Big eyes is a drama about the life of painter Margaret Keane and her struggles for recognition as a painter.

It shows the legal difficulties and abuse she suffered at the hand of her husband who liked to claim credit for her work. It is beautiful to witness the journey of her coming into her own. Anne

August 03, 2016

Film Review - The Armstrong Lie by Alex Gibney

This documentary follows Lance Armstrong's rise and fall in the cycling world. From seven times Tour de France champion to being stripped of everything, this DVD explores through interviews the doping culture of Australian cycling.

Armstrong's former team mates were only too happy to talk and ultimately Armstrong's bullying and arrogance lead to his demise. The Armstrong Lie is eye opening, whether you love him or hate him, Armstrong is frank and direct in his interviews. Anne

August 02, 2016

Movie Club—Stand By Me

In August the Movie Club will be screening Stand By Me, directed by Rob Reiner and starring River Phoenix, Wil Wheaton, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell, and Kiefer Sutherland.

In Castle Rock, Oregon, 1959, four boys, Gordie (Wheaton), Chris (Phoenix), Teddy (Feldman), and Vern (O'Connell), come to believe that they know the location of the dead body of a boy who went missing from a nearby town. They decide to take a journey out of town and across the country to find the body and be celebrated as local heroes. While taking the journey the boys face many perils, some real, some only rumour. But what they really find along the journey is who they are and where they are going.

The film is based on a Stephen King novella, originally entitled "They Body", from the Different Seasons collection, which also contained "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption", which was also made into a film in 1996. Like The Shawshank Redemption, the film has become an audience favourite, and won the approval of King, who believes it to be one of the first accurate adaptations of his work. It has become the quintessential coming-of-age film, dealing with the loss of childhood innocence, death, nostalgia, and the uncertainty of growing up.

The film will be screened on Wednesday 10 August 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 share your thoughts about the film and join in a discussion about the many intriguing insights the film explores.

July 20, 2016

Film Review - Love and Mercy By Director Bill Pohlad

Love and Mercy is set between the 1960's focusing on Brian Wilson, the leader of the Beach Boys. The movie looks at his younger years and in 1980 twenty years later. During that time he ends up being diagnosed with mental illness and is put under the constant watch of an unprofessional therapist.

The DVD shows his music genius as well as his struggle through psychotic episodes and his fight to maintain his independence in life. He finds love with a chance meeting that helps to give him hope in life again. The movie is quite an eye opening account of Brian's life, the good, bad and his amazing talent. Anne

July 18, 2016

Film Review - The Cobbler - By Tom McCarthy

Starring Adam Sandler, The Cobbler is a unique movie that centres around a bored cobbler who stumbles upon a magical family secret allowing him to literally walk in other peoples shoes and experience their lives.

Answers to his fathers mystery disappearance surface and he decides to please his mother with a special surprise. A very original movie with some great scenes. Anne

July 13, 2016

Film Review—Crimson Peak by Guillermo del Toro

Edith Cushing believes in ghosts. Her belief was made certain after her mother visited her after she passed, giving her the warning to “beware of Crimson Peak”. Years later, she has completed the manuscript to her first novel, a ghost story, seeing herself as something of a Mary Shelley, although a potential publisher would prefer works of a more romantic sort. Edith’s father, a successful industrialist, is visited by English baronet Sir Thomas Sharpe, who is visiting America with his sister Lucille, looking for investment in a device that will effectively mine the blood red clay upon which their ancestral home, Allerdale Hall, sits. Not taken with the prototype or the air of privilege that surrounds Sharpe, Cushing refuses to invest. However, Edith is slowly becoming enchanted by the baronet, and soon finds herself his bride and accompanying him to live in Allerdale Hall, which in the winter is known as Crimson Peak, were dark secrets are discovered and threaten the new bride.

The story is less a frightening tale than a homage to several horror traditions. It makes direct references to the likes of Mary Shelley and Arthur Conan Doyle, an author as adept at creating tales of suspense as he is at inventing a super sleuth.  But its strongest link is with the Gothic fiction tradition, particularly Edgar Allan Poe. Contrasting the decaying, inescapable past that is England with the hope for promise that is American, as well as featuring an old, ancestral house made up of as much history and sorrow as it is mortar and succumbing to the weight of its trouble (ala “The Fall of the House of Usher”), the film is clearly enamoured with this rich trove of literature, and knows how to use its tropes. But director Guillermo del Toro takes yet another horror tradition, from the very medium of Crimson Peak itself. With its rich colour palette (especially blood reds, emerald greens, and deep blues), as well as the dense melancholic haze of its atmosphere, and its melodramatic tone, it is as much a tribute to the 1950s and 1960s film adaptations of Poe’s work, as well as the Hammer Horror films. Yes, this does mean much of the film is overwrought, and the links with the aforementioned film traditions may possess some creaks of campiness, but it nonetheless delivers a rich, mesmerising development of those traditions.

While its frights may lack the chills one may expect, Crimson Peak’s rich tone, striking visuals, and astute use of its varied influences will leave many very pleased with its macabre tale.

July 11, 2016

Movie Club—Taxi Driver

This month the Movie Club will be screening Taxi Driver, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, and Harvey Keitel.

Travis Bickle (De Niro), an honourably discharged Marine, suffers from chronic insomnia. To help alleviate this he becomes a taxi driver, working the night shift, 12 hours a night, 6 nights a week. This doesn't help his insomnia, and his loneliness and depression become ever stronger. Added to this is the insight into how corrupt, sleazy, and dysfunctional New York City really is. All this leads Travis to desire to do something, to clean up the streets, to give his life meaning, leading to ever more deranged and self-aggrandising thoughts and actions.

The film has courted controversy numerous times. It was immediately criticised for its violence (some going so far as to call it a "stupid orgy of violence", even though almost all the violence happens in a 10 minute sequence right at the end), and has even been linked with John Hinckley, Jr.'s attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan. However, with the films rich technique from one of the form's masters (Scorsese) and its intriguing thoughts of violence, heroism, loneliness, and desire, it is certainly more than a "stupid orgy".

The film will be screened on Wednesday 13 July 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 share your thoughts about the film and join in a discussion about the many intriguing insights the film explores.

July 06, 2016

Film Review - Rosewater By Jon Stewart

An Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari gets caught up in civil unrest in Iran. As a result he is imprisoned and accused of being a spy. He is incarcerated for 118 days and is brutally interrogated. He survives the ordeal by having visions of his late father which seems to give him the strength to keep going.

In Rosewater Bahari is mostly blindfolded while under interrogation, and his interrogator's distinguishing feature is that he smells of rosewater. Well shot and intense it makes you appreciate the freedom we have in Australia to speak our mind. Anne

June 22, 2016

Film Review - The Longest Ride By Director George Tillman

The Longest Ride focuses on two amazing love stories- one - Luke a champion bull rider and Sophia an Art student. As their lives are worlds apart the strength of their love is tested. Second - They are inspired by Ira, an old man they meet in fateful circumstances. They are deeply moved by his captivating love story and also the devotion he had to his late wife. A very enjoyable and sweet movie. Anne

Book Review—Better Living Through Criticism: How to think about Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth by A.O. Scott

Before we being the review proper, let’s just savour the fact that this review is an exercise in meta-meta-meta-criticism—a critique of a text that critiques common criticism of criticism. Scott’s central thesis is the ever elusive link between art and criticism, and how they respond to and influence each other. This, as is the title, is certainly ambitious in its intent and nebulous in its parameters, covering a discussion of art, pleasure, beauty, and truth all through the prism of criticism.

It broadly falls into a category of works that promote the idea of art as self-help, much in the vein of McCall-Smith’s What W.H. Auden can do for you, or De Botton’s How Proust can change your life. But Scott’s approach is altogether more rigorous and larger in scope, and his conclusions are less directly palatable and less definitely inclusive. Although the body of the text carries over much of the nebulousness of the title, it does delve as it expands, usually with the aid of likes T.S. Elliot, Hesiod, and Rainer Maria Rilke. The ground covered is certainly vast, with its examples sometimes straining to reel-in its intent.

For Scott, the act of creation stems from the same urge that spawns criticism. Again, as Scott’s reading list attests, this is nothing new, but reminders of the concept can be timely and welcome. It takes the broad view that “everyone’s a critic”, not as some dismissive notion, but as an enlivening assertion that everyone responds to things they watch, read, and hear. But this comes with a caveat: although art is democratic (at least in today’s society), accessible to all, that does not mean that all will be overcome by Rilke’s indictment that “you have to change your life” based solely on the fact of having seen, or read, or heard a work of art. In short, artworks are readily accessible, but experiencing them is altogether more elusive, a fact that prompts criticism in the often vain hope of sharing those experiences with others. A critical condition indeed. 

June 13, 2016

Book Review - Manage your pain : Practical and positive ways of adapting to chronic pain By Michael Nicholas

Over 10% of the Australian population suffer persistent pain. Manage your pain : Practical and positive ways of adapting to chronic pain uses a combination of approaches, which are the bases upon the well established and successful ADAPT program at the university of Sydney pain management and research centre at the Royal North Shore Hospital Sydney.

The book was very informative and I found chapter 10- Stretching and exercising to be very useful. Anne

June 10, 2016

Film Review—Pulp Fiction by Quentin Tarantino

Tarantino’s pop culture fueled, non-linear, black comedy crime drama. Divided into several loosely interconnected vignettes, the film revels in the colour of L.A.’s dark underbelly. We have Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) and Vincent Vega (John Travolta), two hitmen who are running an errand to retrieve a brief case for their boss, Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames). Marsellus in the meantime is discussing the fall boxer Butch (Bruce Willis) will be taking in an upcoming fight, as well as negotiating with Vincent to take his wife (Uma Thurman) out to dinner to curb her loneliness. Add in a couple of small time robbers (Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer), Vincent's dealer (Eric Stoltz), Jules’ friend who helps them in a tight situation (Tarantino), Marsellus’ "cleaner" (Harvey Keitel) and Christopher Walken as a Vietnam veteran bearing heirlooms, you have a film that celebrates its pulpy origins.

What distinguishes Tarantino is both his eye for phenomenal set pieces as well as his ear for highly entraining dialogue in all his films. It may seem trivial, spurred by the everyday, the mundane, but therein lays its value, and never more than in Pulp Fiction. The entire film can be viewed as a mediation on meaning and value.  From the petty importance of a gold watch versus the mysterious contents of a briefcase, to a pastiche Bible passage, to the significance of what the French call a Quarter-pounder with Cheese to only be told that in America names don’t mean anything. The dialogue creates an ironic cycle where things that mean nothing are given vital importance by the interlocutors, only to be relegated as meaningless by the fluidity of language, yet which in turn creates meaning for the audience, who then ponder the meaning of any of it.

An engrossing and richly vital film, Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction proves its place as one of cinema’s finest achievements, with flawless writing, perfectly executed pacing, and its colorful yet relatable characters, all of which gives it sensational rewatch value.

June 06, 2016

Book Review - The complete guide to a good nights sleep By Dr Carmel Harrington

20-30% of the Australian population have a problem sleeping according to The complete guide to a good night's sleep. The book discusses the latest research on-

  • anxiety and depression and its relationship to sleeplessness
  • lack of sleep on health
  • sleep apnoea
  • issues related to women

The book is a great guide to help you create and implement a plan to sleep peacefully at night. Anne

June 03, 2016

Movie Club—The Bridge on the River Kwai

This month the Movie Club will be screening The Bridge on the River Kwai, directed by David Lean and starring Alec Guinness, Sessue Hayakawa and William Holden.

The story is set in a Japanese P.O.W. camp where a new band of British troops, led by Colonel Nicholson (Guinness), are instructed to help build a bridge as part of the Burma Railway that aids the Japanese war effort. Saito (Hayakawa), the commandant, instructs that all prisoners, officers and enlisted, will perform the manual labour in the construction of the bridge. As he says, "for it is they [the officers] who betray you [the enlisted] by surrender. Your shame is their dishonour." This aggrieves Nicholson, who maintains that the Geneva Convention prohibits officers from being forced to undertake such duties. This leads Saito and Nicholson to numerous confrontations, with Saito questioning Nicholson's honour and Nicholson attempting to maintain his pride and the order of his troops.

The film went on to win numerous awards, including the Oscar for Best Picture, Best Director for Lean, Best Actor for Guinness, Best Music, Best Adapated Screenplay (from a novel by Pierre Boulle who also wrote The Planet of the Apes), Best Film Editing and Best Cinematography. (Hayakawa was nominated for, but did not win, Best Supporting Actor) The film has subsequently gone on to have a following with many elements becoming part of popular culture, most notably the Colonel Bogey March. With its discussion of honour, pride, cowardice and madness, the film has become a unique war film, one "that focuses not on larger rights and wrongs but on individuals", and where by the end "we are less interested in who wins than in how individual characters will behave.” (Ebert, [April 18, 1999], The Bridge on the River Kwai [Review]).

The film will be screened on Wednesday 8 June 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 share your thoughts about the film and join in a discussion about the many classic moments and intriguing insights the film explores.

May 30, 2016

Book Review - Creative Confidence : Unleashing the creative potential within us all By Tom and David Kelley

In  Creative Confidence we are encouraged to look at creativity as a mindset and a way to find new solutions to problems.

The book instills in us that we don't need to be an artist to be creative, we can adopt a creative mindset to solve problems and positively contribute to our workplaces and personal lives. The book contains a number of creative challenges to work through which are very interesting and beneficial. Anne

May 23, 2016

Book Review - Managing depression growing older : A guide for professionals and carers By Kerrie Eyers, Gordon Parker and Henry Brodaty

Managing depression growing older : A guide for professionals and carers offers a systematic guide to identify and combating depression in older people.

The book contains many examples and case notes from chapters on growing older to aging and coping with care. The book offers guidance on support in the home or aged care facility, the importance of exercise, diet and attitude in recovery.
This is definitely an informative book and essential reading for anyone who cares or works with the elderly. Anne

May 16, 2016

Book Review - Mini Cross Stitch - By Michael Powell

If your like me and enjoy having an embroidery project on the go, this book is for you. Mini Cross Stitch is filled with funky and distinctive designs ranging from cupcakes with love hearts to bright and colourful daisies.

The book contains 20 mini cross stitch designs which can be used for multiple occasions. The book includes stitching notes and a colour code for each work.
Great uncomplicated embroidery projects which you can complete at your own pace. Anne

May 09, 2016

Book Review - Home for Dinner -Mixing food, fun and conversation for a happier family and healthier kids - By Anne K. Fishel, PHD, forward by Michael Thompson

Anne Fishel encourages all families to prioritise their mealtime. Besides enjoying a good meal it's also a great opportunity for family bonding and is a time to all sit down together and share stories about each other's day. She provides strategies for this ritual such as-

  • meal ideas
  • getting everyone to help
  • creating gratitude
  • communicating with ease

This ritual shows a number of psychological benefits such as increased resilience, increased self-esteem, forming a healthy relationship with food and better family relationships.
Home for Dinner was an enjoyable read and helps you to realise that a few small changes at meal times can have a huge positive impact on your family. Anne

May 07, 2016

Movie Club—Unforgiven

This month the Movie Club will be screening Clint Eastwood's elegy to the western, Unforgiven. Directed by Eastwood, he also stars alongside Morgan Freeman, Gene Hackman and Richard Harrison. Made at a time when the popularity of the western had long since gone, Unforgiven nonetheless won Academy Awards for Best Film and Best Director for Eastwood. What's more, it has provided very striking commentary on the western tradition as a whole from one of its most recognisable faces.

A pair of cowboys disfigure a prostitute, Delilah Fitzgerald (Anna Levine), in Big Whiskey, Wyoming. The local sheriff, Little Bill Daggett (Hackman), is a former gunfighter and extracts harsh punishment on any transgressions in his town. But with the cowboys his concern is not for the disfigured prostitute, but for brothel owner Skinny Dubois (Anthony James) and the financial losses of having a "cut-up" prostitute. This leads the other prostitutes led by Strawberry Alice (Frances Fisher) to gather $1000 for a bounty on the two cowboys. This brings all manner of former and current gunslingers to town, including English Bob (Harris), the Schofield Kid (Jaimz Woolvett), and Ned Logan (Freeman) and William Munny (Eastwood), leading to violent confrontations with Little Bill as he tries to maintain the order of his town.

The film has all the hallmarks of a classic western, from the hardened gunfighters to the striking but harsh landscape that establishes the human toil. But all of these are questioned, from the nobility of violence to the increasing commercialisation of the west where the moral absolutes and the belief in violence as a solution are made entirely ambiguous.

The film will be screened on Wednesday 11 May 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 share your thoughts about the film and join in a discussion about the many intriguing commentaries the film makes. 

May 06, 2016

Book Review—The Elephant’s Journey by José Saramago

João III, the king of Portugal, has a dilemma: the wedding gift to his cousin, Maximillian of Austria, at the time of his nuptials seems insufficient. But a solution has been discovered in the form of Solomon the elephant. In the king’s possession for many years, it has hardly garnered the attention such a creature demands, and so sees it not only as an option to dispense with an overlooked royal asset but also to give a stunning gift. This means transporting the beast from Lisbon to Vienna. At each new location the elephant inspires the fascination of the locals, with all viewing the elephant as a different being of elation, concern, or utility.

The use of an elephant is no coincidence. Although an elephant did indeed cross Europe in 1551, the aptness of the creature is more intertwined with the narrative that is less about the historical than the anecdotal. Wherever Solomon is seen he becomes the proverbial elephant in the room, those thoughts that hitherto words were incapable of giving form. Thus Solomon becomes a contingent object, being added to a family cress, or being prayed on to remove a curse, or an umbrella stand. But equally he becomes an object that, although now a source of fascination, will one day simply become a memory, something shared in a reminiscent glance with a fellow witness, or a colourful yarn regaled to strangers. Like Queen Catherine of Portugal who, when asking “whatever happened to Solomon?”, will feign innocence and manufacture amusement at being given news of his whereabouts. It is all a testimony to the fact that “memory, which isn’t anyone’s strong point, is best not overburdened with too much detail.”

The Elephant’s Journey is a rich, whimsical tale filled with humour, solemnity, and the truth of the circumstantial.

May 02, 2016

Book Review - Get Commando Fit By Steve Willis

If you are looking for a no nonsense, no excuses guide to getting in shape,  Get Commando Fit is for you.

Featuring the Get Commando Fit exercise program with detailed colour pictures demonstrating each exercise and including a beginners, intermediate and advanced program. The book has plenty of delicious recipes and nutritional advice. All the tools you need to look and feel great are contained in this book, conveyed with Steve's straight to the point attitude. Anne

April 29, 2016

Film Review—Martyrs by Pascal Laugier

A young girl, Lucie Jurin, is found wondering around an abandoned industrial estate. Her body shows signs of malnutrition and physical abuse and police discover that she has been held captive and ritually abused, but her captors and their motives are never discerned. Lucie spends the next 15 years trying to adjust to the outside world and to make sense of her ordeal while being haunted by a ghoulish creature. She eventually tracts down those who held her captive and exacts her revenge, much to the shock of Anna Assaoui, her one friend who has been trying to help her. Anna tries to cover up Lucie's actions, but in the process discovers more about Lucie's captors and the horror that will soon be unleashed upon her.

The film is certainly brutal, and its ending, with its ambiguous nihilism, does not ease its impact, and for many this will immediately remove it from their viewing list. But the violence is not from some voyeuristic viciousness. It forms the heart of the narrative, where pain provides an avenue to something less profane and approaching the sacred, yet having an unbearable cost on the victim and those sanctioning the torture. What allows the film to achieve this is what is surprising of a film this brutal: its restraint. This is especially in the last act. Where cheaper films would see it as an opportunity to unleash a litany of sadistic rites of ever escalating severity, Martyrs establishes a routine of beatings and deprivations. It is testament to the much neglected role of repetition in art, seeing the violence become an ordeal and not a spectacle, to which the audience is forced to bear uncomfortable witness and share in the guilt of the tormentors.

Uncompromising yet executed with admirable restraint, Martyrs is not an indulgence in violence but a meditation on its consequences, both for the victims and the audience.

April 25, 2016

Book Review - Why Mindfulness is better than Chocolate : Your guide to inner peace, enhanced focus and deep happiness By David Michie

Why mindfulness is better than chocolate : Your guide to inner peace, enhanced focus and deep happiness explains the benefits of meditation and mindfulness. The benefits include-

  • Reduced stress
  • Lowers high blood pressure
  • Boosted immunity
  • Reduces health costs
  • Helps manage chronic pain
  • Reduces mortality
  • Helps people suffering from chronic inflammatory conditions
  • Helps manage and prevent anxiety
  • Promotes good help
  • Increases self compassion
  • Helps you break bad habits

With all these benefits David Michie uses Buddhist teachings and contemporary science to discuss and explain a number of related topics in detail.

"David Michie demonstrates the knack for capturing the essence of this important topic and presenting it in a fun and accessible way." Dr Timothy Sharp, The Happiness Institute.

A very insightful and informative read. Anne

April 22, 2016

Book Review—The Adventures of Holly White and the Incredible Sex Machine by Krissy Kneen

Holly and her three childhood friends believe that True Love Waits. She is reminded of this every time she looks at her hand, with a silver ring, identical to those of her friends, inscribed with this mantra. This becomes ever more necessary as it becomes the stern contrast to the phosphorescent blue secretion from her groin whenever she becomes aroused, something that has been happening a lot recently. To excise or revel in this moment she has joined a book club that explores the many staples of erotic literature. Parallel to Holly’s discovery are the adventures of Nicholas, told in surreal sci-fi adventures, who embraces his sexuality from a young age and shares Holly’s luminous sexual energy.

Each chapter is named after a different erotic classic, from Andre Breton’s Nadja, to Nabokov’s Lolita and Angela Carter’s The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman (which Kneen singles out with the title as well featuring very significantly in the work). These texts both feed Holly’s awakenings as well as provide fodder for Kneen’s interplays, with a mischievous wink here and a cheeky nudge of the elbow there. Switching between the more recognisable world of Holly and the seemingly fantastical one of Nicholas, with its grand battles and talk of the Orgone through the teachings of Wilhelm Reich, adds to the quirk of the story, and further exasperates the unfamiliar regions of sexual exploration within a sci-fi milieu. Where it does leave one unsatisfied is in its restraint, not regarding its erotic scenes, but its tone. What could have made for a raucous over-the-top tale that spared no bizarre contortion or delicious predilection often falls flaccid, with the sci-fi adventure aspects being a needed blue pill to garner interest rather than the gleaming blue lubricant that enhances the disreputable absurdities.

Even if it does not make the most of its sordid ridiculousness, The Adventures of Holly White and the Incredible Sex Machine is wickedly amusing and without a shred of subtlety.    

April 18, 2016

Book Review - The Yellow Elephant : Improve your memory and learn more, faster, better By Tansel Ali

Written by two-time Australian memory champion Tansel Ali. In this book Tansel explains how he turned his average memory into an extraordinary one. In The Yellow Elephant the practical exercises and provided tests help you to learn and build techniques to improve your memory quickly.

The benefits of an improved memory enable you to learn faster, reduce stress, save and improve your focus. I found that the section on brain training for kids was very interesting and easy to apply in Chapter 8. Also the Mind mapping information in Chapter 5 was an interesting concept. Definitely an informative and beneficial read. Anne

April 11, 2016

Book Review- The Careers Handbook By Editor Richard Gilbert

The Careers Handbook contains information on career paths, skill guides and job descriptions offering practical and inspirational advice on more than 400 careers.

The book is concise, comprehensive and useful, whether you are about to finish university or make a career change. The book is informative and has been contributed by over 100 professionals. The book is well set out and colourful. I especially like the job description on page 272 for a Librarian. Anne

April 07, 2016

Movie Club—Casablanca

This month the Movie Club will be screening Casablanca, starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and Paul Henreid, and directed by Michael Curtiz. Based on the play Everybody Comes to Rick's, a thinly veiled cry for America to become involved in World War II in opposition to the isolationist policies prevelant at the time. The film was green-lighted shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbour and released the following year, with many rewrites to the original script.

Casablanca, in 'Unoccupied' Morocco, has become a haven for many trying to flee the ever encroaching terror of Nazism in Europe. The centre of night life is Rick's Cafe Americain, run by Rick Baline, a American expatriate with a tumultuous past. Despite the suffering and longing surrounding him, Rick prefers to avoid entanglements and proudly claims that he sticks his "neck out for nobody". All this changes one night when Ilse, the woman he loved in Paris years before, comes to town with her husband, the Resistance leader Victor Laszlo. Rick must choose whether to place his emotional turmoil aside and help Ilse and Victor escape the clutches of the local Nazi officer, Major Strasser, or to turn his back on the woman he loves.

The film was just another movie when it was made, as "no one making 'Casablanca' thought they were making a great movie." (Ebert, R. [September 15, 1996] “Casablanca [Review]”) But as time has passed the film has gathered new generations of viewers, with its quotable dialogue (some of the most quoted and certainly the most misquoted line in film), but also for its great use of lighting, cinematography, and the pitch-perfect casting. 

The film will be screened on Wednesday 13 April 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 share your thoughts about the film and join in a discussion about the films many classic and affecting scenes. 

April 04, 2016

Book Review - Dreams: What your Subconscious Wants to Tell You by Rose Inserra

How do we know what our dreams mean?
How do we interpret them?
 Dreams : what your subconscious wants to tell you is a comprehensive guide by dream analyst Rose Inserra.

Inserra helps people to-

  • recognise the most common dreams
  • identify themes
  • understand recurring dreams and nightmares.

Rose Inserra is a member of the Internation Association for the study of dreams and contributes regularly to print media and radio.
I found Chapter 5- 10 common dreams explored to be very interesting. I enjoyed the book and found it very insightful. Anne

April 01, 2016

Book Review—The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma

Benjamin and his three older brothers go fishing in the nearby river in Akure, the town where they live. Ordinarily Omi-Ala, the river where they have gone fishing, is off limits, believed to be cursed. But they have the freedom to go there each day after school thanks to their father having moved to a faraway city for work, leaving only their mother to care for them. But one day the boys encounter Abulu, the village madman who wonders around naked and has garnered a reputation for fatal predictions. His words strike Ikenna, the eldest brother, who is told that he will be killed by a fisherman, one of his brothers. This causes a rift in the family, with Ikenna wanting to distance himself from all of his family, with his health, faith, and mind slowly succumbing to the horrid madness and his family all becoming victims to the madman’s words.

Told by the adult Benjamin as recollections from his childhood, we gain a sense both of the fruitful potential and as well as the squandered promises, with the lives of the family mirroring the political disintegration of Nigeria after the annulled 1993 M.K.O. Abiola election. Where there should be hope and progress there is instead turmoil, squabbling, and biblical struggles between brothers, African superstition in evil places, and curses that invade these promises and send those involved into a cycle of madness and death. Nothing is secure, nothing is innocuous, in this country where words, like locusts, can transform “from harbingers of good things into the heralds of evil”.

The Fisherman is a striking debut of the turmoil of a family and the sorrow of a nation.

March 28, 2016

Film Review - The Bourne Legacy By Director Tony Gilroy

The thrills and action in this movie centre around the events in the Bourne Ultimatum.
 A reporter writes a story to expose the Black Ops Treadstone and Black Briar and the ones responsible are concerned.

In The Bourne Legacy they decide to shut down the program with deadly consequences to those in the field. They fail to take out Aaron Cross, he survives against the odds. He seeks out Dr Marta Shearing and they team up to survive. All the program subjects take medications but he has run out and they embark on a death defying journey to get his meds, preserve their lives and outsmart their persecutors. This movie is action packed with a great motorcycle chase and shoot out scenes. A very enjoyable action packed movie. Anne

March 18, 2016

Book Review—A Very Normal Man by Vincenzo Cerami

Giovanni Vivaldi is a very normal man. After leaving his parent's destitute farm and doing his military service he started working at The Ministry in Rome, where he has worked for thirty years and has become a mid-level bureaucrat. His plan is to soon retire and fix up a dilapidated shack in the countryside with his snarky wife, Amalia. But before that can be done he must complete his life’s achievement: helping his son Mario, a newly qualified accountant, to get a job at The Ministry, so that he along with his generation can lead to better things. But this is no simple matter. With 12,000 candidates applying for 2,000 positions and an oral and written exam to face, Giovanni must perform strange rites to secure his son’s future. But all his efforts prove pointless due to one man, and Giovanni dedicates his efforts to revenge.

Giovanni is an odd character. He is the victim of circumstance but is more than willing to exploit this same master for his own ends when it suits him. This is aided by a society that mixes the detachment of bureaucracy with the ritual of faith and superstition: the files Giovanni must formulate day in and day out, to the church around the corner where Amalia replenishes her supply of holy water, to the extravagantly calculated yet mundanely received Freemasonry ceremony are all par for the course. The normality lies not with the man, but with his responses. Nothing is too bizarre, no act too incomprehensible, no loss too irreconcilable. All are simply the acts one must perform in life, and this is simply normal for a man.

As darkly hilarious as its conclusion is troubling, A Very Normal Man shows the peculiarities that disrupt the notion of a normal life.

March 14, 2016

Film Review - Transformers- Age of Extinction By Director Michael Bay

Five years after the Deception invasion of Chicago, the Autobot's have gone into hiding after the government deemed all Transformers to be threats.

 In Transformers- Age of Extinction the government is aided by another transformer who is searching for Optimus Prime. Cade Yeager is a truck mechanic and robotics expert who buys an old truck thinking it maybe a transformer. On closer inspection it is Optimus Prime who turns to Cade and his family for help with the remaining Autobots. This action packed sci-fi adventure has great special effects and is a great escape movie to watch. Anne

March 11, 2016

Book Review—Room by Emma Donoghue

All his life Jack has lived in Room. He lives with Ma, along with Bathtub, Wardrobe, Bed, and Egg Snake. Jack has no conception of an outside world, with the only links being TV, which he believes is all made up, and Old Nick, the man who kidnapped Ma and has been keeping the two of them. Old Nick comes into Room most nights while Jack sleeps hidden in Wardrobe and rapes Ma as he has for the last seven years. Ma learns that Old Nick has been unemployed for several months and fears that if he loses the house he will kill her and Jack. She makes plans to escape, but getting Jack and herself out is only the beginning of the challenge, as she learns to live again and Jack must completely redefine his sense of reality.

Told entirely from Jack's perspective the voice sets the novel as a work of exploration and discovery rather than a dark study. Although dealing with difficult subjects it uses these as catalysts for celebration, a celebration of life and the world despite the dark elements that often take hold and don't let go. We are transfixed by Jack's wonderment of life even while still in Room, and like Sofie Laguna's The Eye of The Sheep, which also gave a child's fantastical expression to troubling situations, Room utilizes this child's fascination to give these scenarios a rich, human quality that makes the difficulties more poignant without diminishing their impact or slipping into sentimentality.

Despite its dark origins Room is a surprisingly uplifting story of a life most unique and touching.

March 04, 2016

Movie Club—The Shawshank Redemption

In March the Movie Club will be screening the much celebrated The Shawshank Redemption. Based on a Stephen King novella (in fact, King lists it as one of his favourite adaptations of his work) and was directed by Frank Darabont (who also directed The Green Mile and The Mist, two other adaptions that King lists among his favourites). It star Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman.

Wrongfully convicted banker Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is sent to Shawshank State Penitentiary to serve two life sentences for the murder of his wife and her lover. Despite the injustice of the situation, Andy realises the futility of pleading his case once within the walls, and attempts to make the most of this unavoidable situation. While in prison he meets Red (Morgan Freeman), one of the prison's contraband smugglers, who ponders Dufresne's unusual personality. Dufresne puts his talents as a banker to good use, and becomes Warden Norton's (Bob Gunton) money launderer. This has many benefits for the prison community, as Dufresne's favour with the warden and the guards allows him to rebuild the prison library. Little know to all, although stoically accepting his changing life in the prison, Andy harbours an unquenchable hope for his freedom, and makes efforts to see himself living a new, tranquil life beyond the prison walls.

The film did not perform well at the box office, but has subsequently become highly regarded. It currently holds a 91% "Fresh" Rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and in 2015 the United States Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the National Film Registry, finding it "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". But the film has also become extremely popular with audiences who connect with its main characters and the triumph of hope and freedom over a crippling and unjust position.

The film will be screened on Wednesday 9 March 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 share your thoughts about the film and join in a discussion about the films many powerful moments.

Film Review—Slow West

Jay Cavendish (Kodi Smit-McPhee), a young Scottish man, has come to the American West to search for his love Rose Ross (Caren Pistorius). Along the way he meets bounty hunter Silas Selleck (Michael Fassbender) who agrees to accompany him along the way to Rose in exchange for a nominal fee. What Jay doesn’t know is that Silas is also looking for Rose, hoping to collect the $2,000 bounty on her and her father’s heads.

The genre of the Western gives the film a set of conventions to play with, both to utilize and subvert. This is done mainly with its setting in Colorado although being filmed in New Zealand. This gives it some hallmarks that resemble the cinematic iconography of the western genre but gives it a distinct flavour that clearly demarcates it.  It lacks the extreme harshness expected of the setting, but is by no means less striking. It allows for rapid shifts in the environment, both by changes in landscape itself but also by cinematic shifts in lighting, that directly affects the story. The west is not a bland setting, but can be both a place of violence and suffering or of dreams and toil. “Love is universal, like death”, young Jay is told, and these two extremes, perfectly twined in the western setting, are in full force in Slow West.

A land of beauty and bleakness, Slow West treks this manifold landscape with masterful skill.

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.