Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Shoesday Happy Feet

This week's shoes are .... slippers!

Brought to you in honour of:
  1. My descent in to head cold-dom (but of course... it's busy at work!)
  2. The change of season - yes, autumn is definitely making her presence known by virtue of darker mornings and a little bite to the air in the evenings
  3. Peter Alexander's 25th birthday!
For anyone in Australia, Peter Alexander is basically the final word in adorable bedwear. Bed socks, saucy knickers, scented candles, quirky slippers and impractical-yet-fabulous ones-ies are his bread and butter - all luxuriously ensconced in boudoir inspired boutiques across Australia.

There was a time when I would flick longingly through each season's new Peter Alexander catalogue (wait! I still do!), and frankly any man who buys you PA anything (in the correct size no less) will definitely be on the Christmas card list... Or at least gain a spot on speed dial for a while.

What I love about PA is the quality of product (seriously, that flannelette lasts!), the whimsy of all the creations, and the unabashed flirtiness and sense of fun that infiltrates each ad campaign.

So here's to warm cuddly pyjamas, soft slippers and flirty frills.

And puppies of course! I was devastated when Peter's puppy - and face of Peter Alexander for many years - Penny passed away.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Slightly Underwhelming Mixed Bag of FIlms

A few weekends ago, I darted over to Taiwan for a friend's wedding, which not only meant a brilliant weekend in a foreign city that I've never visited before (that serves Michelin star dumplings no less!), but several hours of uninterrupted new release film-watching bliss.

Surrounding each of the films I watched, there had been considerable hype. So I was a little disappointed when I felt a little take-it-or-leave-it to the films (to varying degrees). I'm going to present the films in order from underwhelming given the hype to yeah.... it was pretty good. [Note: there's a good chance this had something to do with sleepiness, crap sound quality and a fingernail sized screen].

The Descendants
Yes, George Clooney is a very nice looking man. Yes, he has strong political beliefs. Yes, I believe he can act... However I felt that the understated elegance he went for here (he was, after all, playing the role of a man who was indifferent to his wife, his daughters and the enormous tract of pristine land under his control on the island of Hawaii), was at times at the risk of sucking the life out of his character, causing us to find him a little unbelievable in his emotionally stunted response to traumatic events. George plays a man who is confronted not only by a dying wife whom he is aware he has neglected, but also the news that his wife was in love with another man and had been planning a divorce. He also has a cantankerous 13 year old daughter and a wise-beyond-her-years, gorgeous teen with a somewhat odd-ball friend that she insists on dragging around with her. The children create the light in this film. Perhaps that was the point.

GC and the kids embark upon a journey to find the lover - amidst another key moment in GC's life: should he sell the beautiful nature reserve in Hawaii that his family has owned for generations to a developer, or keep it to ensure its natural beauty is preserved? The Hawaiian scenery is truly beautiful, and it was an interesting inclusion.

I was just a little distracted by GC's indifference. Perhaps I've adapted to what Hollywood ordinarily produces (i.e. OTT, emotional ending), but I was left feeling a little oddly hollow at the end. It's one of those Sunday afternoon, I-should-probably-see-this films. You won't be disappointed with it, but you also won't be overly moved. 3.5 stars.

Martha Marcy May Marlene
Elizabeth Olsen (and yes, she is the spitting - albeit much healthier - image of the Olsen twins) is truly great in this film.

Billed as a psychological thriller, I felt the understatedness of this film meant that it never quite reached its full potential. There were moments of beautiful tension, and the can't-quite-see-it-all elements of the film were certainly effective, but I just got a little lost in this one. Maybe I needed something bigger than my Penguin book-sized aeroplane screen to appreciate the enormity of the story? John Hawkes as the creepy commune leader was certainly excellent... Martha Marcy May Marlene is definitely in The Virgin Suicides territory. Enjoy this on a rainy evening with a bottle of red and your boyfriend film. 3.75 stars.

My Week With Marilyn
Eddie Redmayne - current Burberry pin-up boy - appears as Colin Clark, an enthusiastic young film buff who finds himself in the enormously lucky position of working on the poorly received (yet heavily starred with Laurence Olivier and Marily Monroe as stars) comedy The Prince and the Showgirl.

Michelle Williams is just so good in this - she presents the sexy Marilyn who breathily sang Happy Birthday as the creation of a woman who in reality is childlike in her neediness, insecurity and vulnerability.

The moments when she appears with the equally needy Olivier (performed so perfectly by Kenneth Brannagh it's not funny) are both amusing and cringeworthy. You really feel for this woman who seems at once so out of her depth, yet with an ability to nonetheless manipulate most situations to her own ends (which are certainly not malicious - she was thoroughly lovable).

This was my favourite film out of the bunch (perhaps because the subject matter wasn't so dark), and I just loved Michelle Williams so much in this. I also really loved seeing Emma Watson in her first role post-Harry Potter.

She was excellent, but really the show was made by Michelle Williams and Kenneth Brannagh.

This is definitely one to watch - with whoever. Just make sure they enjoy films. 4 stars.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Shoesday: Bright Spot

Last week, my friend called and asked if I'd like to go to Taiwan for the weekend for his wedding banquet. That's right - about 24 hours transit, for 36 hours on the ground.

Some insane thoughts ran through my mind - I almost convinced myself that my need to go to the gym in preparation for a ball the following weekend and various other things that were negligible in the scheme of things were more important than attending what would be one of the most amazing events I've ever been to.

Thankfully, that strange little voice in my head didn't dictate my actions. I let life take me on an exciting trip, rather than getting caught up in the mundane... Essentially, colour and excitement won the day!

It also gave my boyfriend an opportunity to surprise me yet again. In the past, the mere suggestion of my doing anything with another male (particularly this friend - friends for 15 years, he has always managed to intimidate my boyfriends) has always led to arguments, guilt, tears and me inevitably saying "no". Yes, I missed out on seeing Kylie Minogue's comeback concert after cancer because of one particularly miserable boyfriend. If I'm honest with myself, part of the reason I was creating these excuses not to go was because I was scared of a fight, and how it would make me feel.

Fascinatingly and surprisingly (for me, anyway....) he was fine with me going! More than fine - encouraging!

I'm glad I went - it was a crazy, over-the-top, lavish affair that was well worth attending. Most importantly, I shared in another special moment for a dear friend. And that's how it should be.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Happy Friday: This Time Last Year

Can you remember what you were doing?

I can. I was travelling alone in Brazil - meeting new people, seeing crazy new sights, learning new things... And here are some of them!

This video makes me completely speechless. And I yearn for that trip, because it was such a good one. *sigh* Travel truly is the best thing you can do for yourself...

And speaking of travel - I need to pack my bags for Sydney! It's not quite Carnival in Rio, but mardi gras in Sydney is also on this weekend! As well as a HUGE wedding for one of my oldest friends (we've known each other HALF our lives!), and seeing old friends - and meeting new ones! Very exciting! Off I trot!!