Bride and Prejudice (2004) Film Review


Essentially, this is an English-language Bollywood version of Pride and Prejudice. I can’t tell you how close to the original text they have stayed because (shock horror) I’ve never read or seen an original Pride and Prejudice. I know the basic premise from things like Lost in Austen and various referential things, so I know where it was going.

I really enjoyed it. All the singing and dancing and amazingly beautiful clothes and styles – and the mum – she was fabulous. Ah, let it wash over you – it’s fun times. Would I watch it again? Nah, probably not. I don’t think I’d go out of my way to see it. If it was on television, perhaps. Especially if I turned it on during the market scene. I really liked that one!



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Auggie and Me by R.J. Palacio – Book Review


This is kind of a sequel to Wonder, but not really. The author explains at the start that she never intends to follow Auggie on his journey for many reasons, including that many teachers use Wonder as a springboard into creative writing exercises that allow students to discover the many different paths Auggie and his friends go on. Instead, she wanted to look at three characters who only play small roles in the first book and investigate the types of journeys they are going on.

First is Julian, the nasty bully. His story takes him to his grandmother’s house in Paris, where she tells him a story from World War Two that causes Julian to rethink his attitude. I felt like certainly Julian needed someone to give him a kick up the bum, but this seemed like major overkill. Mind you, perhaps that is just the point – that it might take more than you’d expect to get through to some people. Second is Christopher, Auggie’s old friend who moved away, and who we know of, but don’t really spend any time with. Christopher is dealing with the guilt that he feels over an accident his mother had – she survived, but he is aware of how close it could have been, and finds it difficult to find his place in all of this. I liked this story – the feeling of being out of depth, and wanting to change things, and not knowing how to deal with divorce and so much else. Finally, there is Charlotte, who is one of the three kids chosen to buddy with Auggie by the principal, and who stays friendly but distant from him. She’s trying to deal with the world of girls and friendships, and how things can seem to be totally different within a few moments. This one I think I related to the most, remembering school and the want and need to be liked whilst still trying to be true to yourself.

This is a nice collection of stories and it was nice to be back in their world briefly.

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A Common Thread (Brodeuses) (2004) Film Review


Claire (Ariane Ascaride) is a seventeen-year-old who has accidentally fallen pregnant and decides that she will have the baby and adopt it out. She lives alone, and takes sick leave from her supermarket job. She doesn’t want anyone to know that she is pregnant – not her family or colleagues. She loves to embroider, and takes a job with a seamstress who has recently lost her son in an accident.

This is one of those films where kind of not a lot happens. It’s slow and beautiful and the craftwork is amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed being part of this small world for an hour and a half.

A Common Thread won the Critics Week Grand Prize in 2004

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A Million Little Pieces by James Frey – Book Review


The biggest scandal on the Oprah show. This book, already a bestselling autobiography, became the Oprah’s Bookclub Book of the Month, going on to sell many, many more copies. And then it became known that it was, in fact, not biography. In fact, it was made up. Oprah grilled him and then, sometime later, had a special show as a whole interview telling what it was all about. Apparently, it was all marketing, and he never claimed that it as true and what a disaster.

So, whether it is fiction or non-fiction, the big question: is it a good book? The answer? I loved it. It’s horrific and gross yet poetic and wonderful. It’s the story of a very broken twenty-three-year-old who ends up, after years of addiction and abuse of alcohol and a variety of drugs, in rehab.

What did I like? I think James Frey’s writing is extremely poetic even in all of its horror. While I didn’t like the story, I also totally loved it. What didn’t I like? I had a few issues with the fact that this main character is such a turd who won’t listen and you just know that his life is going to turn to shit. And yet, I really liked him and wanted him to get through. And I hated the relationship with Lily that seemed so wrong and destructive, and yet the character needed it. Overall, I’ve decided that I really liked it. Although, to be fair, liked it definitely not the right word. Appreciated. And I am really glad I’ve read it.

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Black Mass (2015) Film Review


Whitey Bulger was a criminal in Boston who managed, despite horrific crimes, to avoid being caught and prosecuted for anything. Eventually, it came out that he was an informer to the FBI – or was he? Til the day he died, Bulger denied being an informant. A recent documentary didn’t clear anything up for me – but then, that was a badly put together documentary.

Is this film the truth? I don’t know. I wasn’t all that engaged, despite the sterling cast. There was so much heavy and not very well done make-up and prosthetics to change the main actors appearances throughout the film, whether it was to make them look more like the characters that they were portraying or to age them or whatever – it was distracting and I found it really ruined a lot of the actual film for me.

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High-Rise (2015) Film Review


Set in a strange kind of 1970s-Clockwork-Orange-style world is an apartment building. It rises in the middle of a large car park seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Laing (Tom Hiddleston) has just moved in, and is unsure of where he fits between the lower floor dwellers who are in overcrowded apartments struggling to get even basic rubbish collection, and the elite up the top. And then things get… weird.

I can’t really say what happens in this film. There are so many strange things, and it is so bizarrely stylised and beautiful, and some keys parts seem to have been skipped. And yet I really liked this film. I liked its weirdness and that I wasn’t quite sure where it was going and what was happening, and even where it ended. Strange, odd and fabulous.

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Tickled (2016) MIFF Review


David Farrier is a journalist – the type of journalist who does short television reports on the quirky and unusual in New Zealand. So when he hears about a competitive tickling competition, he is intrigued, and only more so when his enquiries are met with a number of mysterious, homophobic and aggressive correspondences from the organisation. Then threats of legal action, including three representatives flown over from the US to put him and co-film maker Dylan Reeve off the story. And then the story becomes so much more than tickling.

If you like strange stories that veer off in unexpected directions, check this out. It’s funny, but also strange and, at times, hilariously unbelievable.

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