Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (audiobook read by Caroline Lee)
Set in the fiction Sydney beachside suburb of Pirriwee , Big Little Lies investigates a death that happens during a school trivia night at the local primary school. However, it’s revealed in gradual dribs and drabs, first introducing the colourful cast and then eventually reveal who dies, how and why. It’s fabulous. The audiobook reading by Caroline Lee is wonderful – she brings the characters to life in a fabulous way, each separate and perfect. I found the book a very funny read, even though when I mentioned the humour to friends who had watched the show, they said that it definitely wasn’t a comedy. And it’s not, but it is very funny!
When I heard that the show was set in the US, I was surprised because, to me, it feels like a really Australian story. But with all that juiciness, it was going to translate well.
Big Little Lies (TV Review)
There were a lot of little things that I didn’t like being changed in this adaptation – like the fact that the book starts on Madeline’s 40th birthday. It’s not a big thing, but it’s important. Then there is the whole “Avenue Q” thing, which I didn’t see as being a great addition, and then the French au pair takes a backseat, and that for me, was a delightful addition to the tension in the book. I also didn’t like the changes to Jane – in the book, she is initially in denial about the events of the night when she conceived Ziggy, but the film has her with far more of a need for closure/revenge, and I liked her as someone still dealing with her trauma. One thing that translated beautifully was the Celeste/Perry situation – very, very hard to watch and a massive hats off to Nicole Kidman. I also really liked that there were some characters who, in the book, were quite flat that were really filled out in this. Did I love it? Yes, I loved the book, I loved the show, I’m quite concerned that they are going to squeeze another series out… will it work? I don’t know.
It’s the 70s. Minnie (Bel Powley) is a teenager whose mother, Charlotte (Kristin Wiig) has come out of a long-term relationship with a man who restricted her freedom. She now has a boyfriend, Monroe (Alexander Skarsgard) and together they regularly get drunk and high and have a great time. Then Minnie starts having sex with Monroe without her mother knowing. And she loves this secret, despite feeling ugly and terrible.
It’s an odd film. I hate the idea that this man takes advantage of this girl, but yet he ultimately seems more unhappy and basically effed up than anyone else. But is him feeling a bit crap any real punishment for his seducing this young, innocent girl? The fact that both she and, ultimately, her mother come out better at the end doesn’t really make up for his sleazy behaviour… does it?
I love the occasional use of animation, and the fact that the girl is ultimately stronger than she thinks, and despite her mother, you feel that she’s got a good future at the end. I think I liked it; I definitely likes Bel Powley as Minnie and look forward to seeing more from her.
The Japanese have come up with a synthesised blood that has allowed vampires to ‘mainstream’. Some are like Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) wanting to be a part of society. But there are others, and that causes a lot of trouble over a whole heap seasons. The show is told mostly through the eyes of Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), a young woman who welcomes the excitement of vampires and gradually learns that she is a lot more than she ever thought. Then there is her brother Jason(Ryan Kwanten), her boss Sam (Sam Trammell), her mate Tara (Rutina Welsey), her sometimes friend and co-worker Arlene (Carrie Preston), and my fav, chef and Tara’s cousin Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis). And then the vampires – Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard) and Pam (Deborah Ann Woll) and heaps of others.
It starts well, and then gets more and more ridiculous as it goes on… and I loved every moment of it. It’s sexy and sleazy and ridiculous and insane and wonderful. It’s a shame it’s over, though god knows where it would have ended up if it had not finished here.
Lars von Trier
I remember promising myself after watching Dancer in the Dark that I would be very careful of watching films by Lars von Trier. It was such a difficult film, so incredibly painful and horrible. Melancholia is not as heart wrenching, but it is certainly an extremely emotional journey. If you let it be.
The film starts with a series of ultra slow, beautiful images which were wasted on my small television screen. Then we meet Justin (Kirsten Dunst) and her new husband Michael (Alexander Skarsgard) in a stretch limo that is struggling to negotiate a narrow and windy road; it’s amusing, but seems like a very clunky metaphor for a failing relationship. Finally, they arrive at the party and everything seems fabulous. The bride and groom are laughing and socializing. There are awkward moments with her parents and boss, but it seems perfectly normal until it gradually becomes clear that she is suffering from some kind of debilitating depression and that their relationship is not all it is set up to be. Justine winds up staying with her sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and brother-in-law John (Kiefer Sutherland).
On top of this, there is a mysterious new planet, Melancholia (the name being a metaphor being one I appreciated a lot more than the stretch limo) which has been hiding behind the sun. It has emerged and appears to be heading toward Earth.
It is certainly a beautiful film that I wish I’d seen in the cinema; it is almost impossible to get a good sense of the beauty of the cinematography on a small screen. I often find that films with character such as these who are quite annoying and make poor decisions, I get very annoyed. But instead, with Melancholia, I was drawn in and wanted to know more.
I have become totally obsessed with the opening sequence. I find it totally hypnotising and mesmerising. I even found it on youtube to watch whenever I like. Here it is: