Monday, October 6, 2008

DVD Review

Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day
The Players: Frances McDormand, Amy Adams, Lee Pace, Tom Payne, Mark Strong
The Makers: Bharat Balluri (Director), David Magee & Simon Beaufoy (Writers), Focus Features.
Based On: Winifred Watson’s 1938 novel of the same name.
Run Time: 92 minutes
Extras: Making Of, Deleted Scenes, Commentary with the Director.

It’s hard to decide who is more perfect in their role: Frances McDormand as the reserved Guinevere Pettigrew or Amy Adams as voracious Delysia LaFosse. The two main characters of this film are wonderfully portrayed separately and as a duo. It’s 1939 in London and the war is about to break out at any second. Miss Pettigrew, a frizzy haired, destitute and unemployed governess shows up on Delysia LaFosse’s doorstep expecting to be employed to look after her son. Instead she finds a bubbling ball of nervous energy in the form of red headed Delysia, an aspiring actress and nightclub singer in desperate need of a social secretary to help keep her out of trouble. High jinks ensue as Miss Pettigrew undergoes a make over and helps Delysia stay out of the beds three potential suitors, each offering her different parts of the high society world she so desperately wants to live in. For audiences, and certainly for Miss Pettigrew herself, on the surface the film is a fun look at a day in the life of a hopeful, young wannabe screen siren. However, director Bharat Nalluri has created a visually delicious look at London’s pre-war high society that keeps viewers enthralled throughout the entire film, with gorgeous art deco sets that leave no opulent stone unturned and a cast draped in stunning suits and evening gowns that emulate 1930s style perfectly. Performances by the leading ladies are both touching and comedic, as they play off each other in every scene, while the supporting actors playing Delysia’s suitors are wonderfully portrayed with cocky arrogance by Lee Pace, Tom Payne and Mark Strong, each one likeable and frustrating at the same time. The DVD offers some great inside looks at how Nalluri and the actors worked to create their 1930s personas and the behind the scenes footage of modern London transformed back to the pre-war era is well worth a look. This film is a wonderful romp through a day in the life of two completely opposing characters thrown together in ridiculous circumstances and is highly recommended.

In A Word: Delightful! Pin It

Monday, September 22, 2008

Book Review: The Memoir Club

The Name: The Memoir Club
The Writer: Laura Kalpakian
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, 2004
Pages: 280

The Memoir Club starts off on a well-beaten literary path: several women from different walks of life each sign up for a class, in this case a Write Your Own Memoir night class. Their reasons are fairly atypical – they all want to write a memoir about their lives to try and answer a significant question about their lives and their identity. Despite their abrasive and unsympathetic teacher, once the class is over, the women each decide to continue with the class in their own time, and hence The Memoir Club is born.

Initially focusing on Caryn, who has survived an horrific tragedy, and her friend Nell who signs them both up to the club as a means of therapy for Caryn, Kalpakian widens the focus to four other women, Rusty, Sarah Jane, Francine and Jill as they read the chapters they have written each Wednesday night to the group. The audience is immersed in each woman’s story quickly as their day to day lives become intertwined with the other members of the club, and the story strongly echoes The Jane Austen Book Club, dealing with a particular character in each chapter of the novel.

The relationships forged by these women is not quite involved enough for the audience – while the characters in The Jane Austen Bookclub became fast friends, the women in this book seem to land in each other’s lives accidentally, and the inclusion of several sub characters seems almost too convenient for the plotline. Still, Kalpakian has made a valiant attempt at connecting the women for the purpose of supporting each other as they tackle the questions their Memoir Club teacher forces them to address and the book is a fairly engrossing, quick read. Fans of similarly styled chick lit novels will enjoy getting to know each of the women and watching the subsequent drama unfold as the characters get to know each other outside of the classroom.

In a word: Likeable Pin It

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Handbag Heaven

In my googling today I came across a great forum, simply named The Purse Forum.

While the title of the forum may sound a little bit boring, it couldn't be more applicable - this is a forum devoted to the discussion of designer purses. Members post about bags they've seen, bags they have, bags they want and of course, which shoes would look better with their Fendi, Gucci, Dior, Hermes, Louise Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Prada and......well, you get the picture!

There are also sub forum sections for non-bag items that will still satisfy any fashionista's accessorising quandries, and a "Playground" section that deals with real life stuff, including pregnancy and family, health and fitness, and money problems, as well as more light and fluffy chat about movies, TV and the latest celebrity goings-on. There is also a Purse Blog that critiques the latest bags and fashion accessories which is well worth a look. Also noteworthy are the subsections under each designer thread where members can seek advice about their bag's authenticity which is especially helpful to those buying second hand goods.

With over 127,000 members at the time of writing, web surfing ladies can easily while away more than a few hours in this online fashion community. While the forum threads can be read for free, users who wish to respond must register (at no cost) before they can start posting.

Enjoy, ladies! Pin It

Friday, August 1, 2008

Book review: Stephanie Plum

The Name: Fearless Fourteen
The Writer: Janet Evanovich
The Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Fearless Fourteen is the latest Stephanie Plum offering from comedic crime writer Janet Evanovich. Stephanie accidentally falls into the roll of motherhood as she takes on custody of one of Joe Morelli's distant relatives, thirteen year old Mario, while trying to find his mother, who has been kidnapped and held ransom for ransom, a cool nine million dollars. Collecting her usual gaggle of hangers-on as she tries to find Mario's mother, Stephanie ponders life as a mother and wife, while working security for Ranger, which mostly involves babysitting fading pop star Brenda. Grandma Mazur is up to her usual hijinks as she bonds with Mario, morphing into an emo internet gamer, Moonman is back and vegged out Morelli's couch and Brenda's stalker moves into Morelli's garage. All of this takes place as the residents of Trenton scramble to find the missing nine million, which is supposedly buried somewhere on Morelli's property. There's also a proposal, a booby trapped suitcase and homemade weapons, making it a quick, entertaining read.

In a word: Fun Pin It

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Where can I Get that?

A great site got my attention over the weekend. Called Seen On, this site sources and lists clothing, homewares and other stuff worn, used and referenced in a bunch of prime time TV shows and Hollywood films. It lists the product, brand and cost, as well as linking you to the online store you can purchase the item from. They also have a music section that features songs from a small amount of TV shows (Grey's Anatomy, Lipstick Jungle and The Hills to name a few) which are sorted by episode, and a celebrity section that lets you browse by celeb, event or look.

While the website itself is a little bit of an information overload when you navigate to it's homepage, the tabs across the top are easy enough to browse through so you can ignore the main page and jump directly to what you want to look at. The variety of TV shows could be better, but it covers most of the TV networks in the USA and at the time of posting, the movie section only had three recently released films on the site, but over all it's a great idea for people to source that cute dress they saw, or find out what that great song was that they heard. It's definitely a site I will be adding to my 'check for updates' list. Pin It

Monday, July 14, 2008

Movie Review: Sex and the City

Sex and the City: The Movie.
The Players: Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis, Kim Cattrall.
The Makers: Michael Patrick King, writer & director, HBO Films
Run time: 2 hours, 22 minutes

After a hiatus of four years, Sex and the City: The Movie picks up where it left off, with the fabulous Carrie Bradshaw still single (albeit in a serious relationship with Mr. Big), still a writer and still tottering around on designer heels. Her three best friends remain an ever present fixture in her life, with Miranda and Steve married and living in Brooklyn, Charlotte and Harry raising Lily, their three year old adopted daughter and Samantha living in LA with Smith Gerard. All four women are the same as they once were, but slightly more relaxed versions of their younger selves. Although they still discuss life, love and men, the story focuses mostly on Carrie and Big’s relationship as they prepare to move in to a new apartment and plan their impending wedding. Left at the altar by Big, Carrie is whisked away to Mexico by the girls, left to ponder life without the man she loves again. Upon her return to New York, she hires an assistant to help her organise her life and after a dramatic dye job, redecorates her apartment as a way of reinventing herself. Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha are beside her every step of the way as she navigates through singledom again, pondering life over forty on her own as well as assisting them in the various bumps that arise in her friends’ relationships. The film was a nice continuation of the already existing storylines of the four women, and while there wasn't nearly enough screen time with Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha centric scenes, Michael Patrick King does a nice job of tying up the stories of these four women.

In a word: Good. Pin It