Cinderella – A Review

cinderella

It was my birthday yesterday and because of that my husband could not say no to me and I got to go to the movies! *Yay*  Not only did I get to pick the movie, but it could also be a movie that he would never normally agree to see with me (it’s my birthday after all) so I decided I wanted to see the new Disney adaptation of Cinderella.

I must preface this review by telling you that I am notoriously bad at writing reviews and also that I LOVE fairytales.  Whenever a fairytale movie is made, I want to see it.  There is something about them that appeal to me…give me fairy godmothers, handsome princes and big poofy dresses and I am in heaven.  But I also like to see the adaptations where a deeper meaning is brought out, where the heroine is a bit gritty and the story a little darker, these too make me happy.  As much as I am a big believer in strong independent women, there is also the little girl in me who wants to be swept off her feet.

With the recent retellings of Snow White (Snow White and the Huntsman) and Sleeping Beauty (Maleficent), I went into this movie expecting a different take on the traditional story, I expected a Cinderella with a bit of guts and spunk.  In fact, when I walked into the cinema and saw some young children waiting to watch the film, I worried for them, thinking that perhaps this wasn’t the sort of Cinderella film they should see.

But I needn’t have worried.  This adaptation sticks pretty much to the traditional story and once I got my head around that, I enjoyed it.  It wasn’t what I was expecting to see, it wasn’t want I wanted to see, but for a traditional retelling, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

If I had to describe this movie in three words they would be lavish, opulent and sumptuous.  The scenery is absolutely picturesque, full of rich, beautiful colours and breathtaking vistas.  The sets are incredibly lush and the palace is everything a princess could dream of (the chandeliers OMG!).  The costumes are decadent with bright colours and fabulous designs (oh, to be the costume designer on this film!).  Visually, this film is a feast for the eyes and the cinematography is wonderful.

lilyjames1As for the film itself, there is nothing notably new.  Lily James (Downton Abbey) plays Cinderella and she does a fair job of it, although I found her a little too sweet at times.  Her wide-eyed wonder and innocence was a little far-reaching, but she does embody the quintessential Disney Princess.  I would have liked her to get a little mad, at least once, with maybe a tantrum thrown in just to take the shine off her practically perfect princess routine.  And I can’t write this review without mentioning the furore surrounding her slim figure in this film.  There has been a bit a of thing about how tiny her waist is and I tend to agree with her arguments that although she has a naturally slim waist, with the added corset and large skirt it does have an optical illusion effect.  I also want to add that we, as a society, need to stop judging people by their CINDERELLAoutward appearance, whether they are too big or too small.

Prince Charming or Kit is played by Richard Madden (Game of Thrones) and he is delightful.  I love the relationship that he had with his father and that he was torn between obeying his father’s wishes and following his own heart.  It is refreshing to see a father/son relationship that is based on mutual respect and love.

CateBlanchett

My most favourite performance had to be Cate Blanchett (The Hobbit) as the Stepmother.  I love Cate and think that she is a phenomenal actress.  She is deliciously nasty in this film and it endeared her to me even more.  I love that she owned her nastiness, and set against Lily James’ too sweet Ella, it was a fabulous contrast.  She was unapologetic in her desires and ruthless about achieving them. She is also stunning in this film and her costumes are a wonder. I think she may have stolen the show for me.

helenaAnother fabulous performance was by Helena Bonham Carter (Great Expectations), who plays a wonderful villain (in Harry Potter and Alice in Wonderland to name two) but in this instance is a wonderful fairy godmother.  She owns this role and brings a bit of spunk to the film.  I didn’t like the use of the “Bippity Bobbity Boo” magic words, but apart from that, she was fantastic.

Stepmother

Other notable performances were from the Stepsisters.  I did spend all of the film trying to place the actress who played Drizella (who incidentally is Sophia McShera from Downton Abbey,the other actress is Holliday Grainger (Great Expectations)), but I loved their performances. They were just the right amount of vapid and spoiled and, OMG!, their costumes!  I can’t tell you how much fun it would have been to be the costume designer!

nonsoI can’t finish this review without mentioning Nonso Anozie (Game of Thrones) who plays the Captain.  He was a delightful character and it takes a special person to carry off those tights with such aplomb.  And of course, Alex Macqueen was great as the Royal Crier.

The CGI on this film was also done really well and added, rather than subtracted from the film.  The mice, lizards and goose were good comic relief without being too over the top.

The most poignant part of the film is at the end when Prince Charming finally tracks down Cinderella and finds her to be nothing more than a servant girl.  She comes to him as she is and asks him if he can still be happy with her knowing that she has no title or lands.  As the narrater says, there was no magic or fairy godmother to help her this time and the biggest risk we take is to be seen as we really are.  I think that is the perfect message to take away from this film.  It takes a lot of courage to allow others to see the real person inside of us without the masks and the smoke and mirrors that we all try to use.  We live in a world that constantly tells us we are not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, thin enough, tough enough, rich enough and we all try, in some small way, to portray ourselves as more.  Maybe we can take a leaf out of Cinderella’s book and not be afraid to be who we really are.

So, in conclusion, I enjoyed the film.  It is not a masterpiece, it does not deal with the tough issues, but it is fun and magical and a delight to watch.  Admittedly it won’t be everyones cup of tea, but if you are looking for a bit of lighthearted entertainment that will make you feel good and give you an escape from the real world for a while, then I recommend it.

Judging a Book by its Cover

This is a friend of mine and I am so excited to help her promote her upcoming book!

Emma Lea

Walk of Shame

I have a confession to make…I judge books by their covers.  I know I shouldn’t, we are warned against doing it our entire lives, but I just can’t help it.  I admit to having bought a book just because of the cover (The Harry Dresden Files are case in point (the old covers, not the new ones)) I like my books to be pretty, I like nicely designed covers and above all, I like the covers of books in a series to match!

I also judge books by their names.  I have been known to buy a book simply because the title was intriguing (The Name of the Wind is a perfect example).

I have also bought books because of the author’s name (insert Joe Abercrombie here).

There is so much that a book has to say with just the front cover…BEFORE the buyer turns the book over to read the…

View original post 127 more words

The Slow Regard of Silent Things

Slow-Regard

This started out as a review of a novella by Patrick Rothfuss named “The Slow Regard of Silent Things”, but became something else.

Before I begin my review, I need to out myself on a few things…

 slowregardFirstly, I am a Patrick Rothfuss fangirl (that is if a married 41 year old woman with two adult sons can even be considered a fangirl). I first read “The Name of the Wind” a few years ago and was unashamedly captivated by it.  I had only just started tentatively reading fantasy (previously I had been a strictly crime/political thriller reader…i.e. James Patterson, Tom Clancy, Patricia Cornwall, Dale Brown, Sue Grafton) and I had been intrigued by the books title…”The Name of the Wind”. They say to never judge a book by its cover, but to me the cover (especially in the fantasy genre) tells its own story and if it doesn’t interest me, then I’m likely to pass on the book.  I have read other books simply because the cover caught my eye (Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files is one such series, before they changed the covers which is a pet hate of mine, they were made to look like old files…kind of cool…and then there is Joe Abercrombe whom I read just because I liked his name), so with a title like “The Name of the Wind” I was definitely interested.  The story that was contained within that cover was even better than the name had hinted at.  Mr Rothfuss’s use of words, imagery and world building wrapped around me like a cocoon and by the end of the book I was converted completely to the fantasy genre. I have since re-read both “The Name of the Wind” and book two “The Wise Man’s Fear” (something I had never done until reading these books) a couple of times and have tried to get them into the hands of as many people as I can.  So, yes, I am a fan.

The second thing I need to be upfront about is that I am grieving.  My beautiful daughter-in-law died two and a half weeks ago (here is her story) and the world just hasn’t seemed the same since that day.  Many things in my life seem meaningless (vanity of vanities, all is vanity) and I even considered whether or not to write this post (but I have and I hope by the end of it you will understand why) and so it is under the very heavy grey cloud of mourning that I read this novella and now write this review.

And thirdly, this is not the book three that you are looking for.  Mr Rothfuss made it very clear in the lead up to and in the forward of the book that this was not Book Three of “The Kingkiller Chronicles”…this is a novella that expounds the story of one of the characters in it. It is an addendum to the original story, not a continuation of it.

So, with all that out of the way, let me get on with my review.

Illustration by Nate Taylor

Auri – Illustration by Nate Taylor

Quite simply, I loved it…but I know that not everyone will.  Mr Rothfuss admonishes us in the forward that this book is not for everyone, and I agree, not everyone will understand it.  This story breaks a lot of rules and there are some people that will find that hard to deal with, but again, we are warned of this in the beginning.  To be perfectly honest, I don’t think anyone could fully tell this story without breaking the rules. Auri is not a character that can be explained by conventional means, she is an enigma and so too is her story.  And, quite frankly, I don’t think everybody should read this book.  I think that something like this should only be read by those that will appreciate it; people who get Auri, who are maybe even a little bit like Auri.  It almost seems indecent to expose Auri to the unwashed masses, those that only wish to impose their will on the world and are not at all interested in being changed by something or someone else.  If nothing else, then this is a story for those of us who have known great loss and have been forever changed by it.

This short story spoke to the part of me that was broken, the part of me that now looks at the world and wonders why.  Although we don’t find out the why of Auri, we do get to know the who.  In very cold and clinical terms, Auri would be considered obsessive compulsive, but in my bruised and battered frame of mind, I see beyond that.  I’m sure that if a psychiatrist got a hold of Auri, they would have a field day and in doing so would destroy her. To me, Auri, through her brokenness, has found a deeper meaning.  She looks only for harmony, she desires only for the things around her to be in harmony with each other. I envy her.

You may think it strange to envy a character who is quite obviously damaged, but it is her very damaged-ness that makes her enviable.  She is no longer consumed by the trappings of materialism, she no longer feels the need to impose her will and desire on the world around her and she takes delight in the simple things.  We have become a world of cynicism and disdain and we have lost the most sacred of emotions…wonder.  Where is the childlike wonder of imagination?  The powers that be have reduced our lives down to scientific theories and financial facts totally disregarding that part of us that calls to the deep mysteries of life.  Children have lost their childhood and adults have forgotten how to dream.  Our world has been broken by the very things that we created to fix it and yet we keep trying to fix it with the same things.  We need more wonder in our world and Auri shows us a glimpse of wonder and my heart yearns for more.

So, perhaps this isn’t a book review at all, but more a study on finding meaning in life when you are broken.  Auri’s world is not perfect, she is still broken, but her brokenness is beautiful. As I grieve the loss of a beautiful person in my life, I look at Auri and I see that there can still be life after loss, not just existence and there can be beauty in brokenness even though it looks different.

It’s not an obsession…

31 Days of Blogging – Day 9

intense-dedication

A couple of posts ago I wrote about re-reading a book that was the fourth in a series and I didn’t understand why the fourth book was written…(refresh your memory here)…well I finished it (for the second time) and I was left scratching my head.  It finished in such a way as to point to a fifth book!  So I Googled it, and there is indeed a fifth book AND a planned sixth! I still don’t know why these three books needed to be written, the third book wrapped everything up, but I still have to read them.  I did not really enjoy the fourth and the reviews of the fifth are really bad, but I can’t help myself, I need to read them.

This got me thinking about the other little quirks I have.  All my books in my library (and there are quite a few of them) are alphabetised by author and in genres.  I get grumpy when the publishers of a series of books I’m reading decide to change the covers half way through.  All my cooking magazines are in chronological order according to the date of publishing and then in alphabetical order according to there titles.  My cook books are organised by course and then by size.  Our DVD collection is also  alphabetised by title.  I have specific drawers for my clothes.  I don’t do the washing very often (my wonderful husband does it) but when I do, I have a very specific way of doing it; all the underwear and pajamas are washed together, the shirts and dresses are washed together, the pants, shorts and skirts are washed together, and, if possible, lights, darks and multicolours are washed separately.  I also have a specific way of hanging them on the line…maybe this is why Gavin does the washing now.

These are my little quirks and although they may seem funny, it annoys me when my patterns get messed up.  I like things to be even and symmetrical.  I prefer even numbers to odd unless they are prime numbers and then that is ok.  If I’m making anything, I like to make an even amount.  If I am having people over, I like there to be an even amount of people.  I need to read books in the order they are written and I need to read the whole series.  In some respects, if I lived alone I would be even worse.  My family are not like me.

They laugh at my need to alphebetise and don’t get why I need things a certain way, but they keep me grounded.  They keep me from becoming obsessed about the little things.  It is so easy to become so focused on the little details that it paralyses you and you can’t see the big picture.  My messy, testosterone filled family stop the crazy from taking over.  Because of them I am not obsessed, just intensely dedicated 🙂

 

I Like Big Books…

31 Days of Blogging – Day 6

Today marked the first day of my holidays.  It has been a long, hard year so Gavin & I were both hanging out for some time off.  It is only five days, but it is FIVE DAYS IN A ROW!

I got up early and cleaned the house.  I had been lying in bed thinking about it and I couldn’t get back to sleep, so I got up and cleaned while everyone else slept.  At 7:30am I went back to bed…with a book.

books

I love books.  I adore books.  I love the smell of books, the feel of them, the sound of them, everything about them.  I love the physical, tactile, tangible book – regardless of it’s content.  But I also love reading, I love to immerse myself in the world created between the pages.  I am a prolific reader.  I have already read two books this year.  I have to admit though, that I don’t just read anything.  A book needs to captivate me, entertain me, enthrall me.  I don’t see the point of reading a book that is a chore.  Reading for me is escapism.  I read to get away from life, to live a life I would not normally have the opportunity to live.

In the past I have not been known to re-read books, but lately I have been.  It started because I was in between books and didn’t know what I wanted to read next.  Then I read two books to refresh my memory in preparation for the third in the series.  Then I watched a movie that had been made from a book and it made me want to re-read the book again (mainly because I wanted to see how different the book was) and that book was the first in a series, so of course, I had to read the rest.

Today I finished reading the third in the series.  The story wrapped up nicely, but there is a fourth book.  I remember when I read it last time that I felt that the fourth book was superfluous.  The story finishes nicely at the end of the third book.  All the loose ends were tied up nicely, the plot and all the subplots were resolved and I am left with a sense of closure.  I know I didn’t really enjoy the fourth book last time, but my OCD won’t let me not read it!  So, tonight I start the fourth book…

reading

Reading is so very important to me.  I went through a time when I didn’t read and I think my character suffered for it.  I feel sorry for people who don’t read, they are missing out.  Everybody should take some time to read.

NANOWRIMO has Begun!

 

Image

So November has rolled around again and that means it is time to overcome all those objections and start writing that novel you have always talked about!

“National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 p.m. on November 30. Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel.”

It’s probably no secret that I have always wanted to write.  I love words and what you can do with them.  I love reading and what it can do for you.  I would love to one day write a novel that makes a difference in someone else’s life the way so many books have made a difference in mine.  NaNoWriMo gives me the kick in the pants I need to at least start.

Last year was my first year with NaNoWriMo and I did finish the 50,000 words but just missed the deadline by 2 mins.  I’m not going to lie, it was tough.  Some days were easier than others, the words just flowed and my story progressed.  Other days I struggled to get any decent ideas out of my head.  A lot of the time I was stuck for words or procrastinated by doing “research” on the internet, but eventually I got there.  Did I finish a novel?  No, it wasn’t even part one of the epic story I had planned.  Was it worth it? Most definitely.  What did I learn?  I may not be able to make a living out of it, but I love trying to.

This year I have decided to write something a little simpler.  Last year’s attempt was an epic tale of magic and mystery set in an all new world.  This year I’ve aimed a little lower with a chick-lit mystery/thriller.  Hopefully I will be able to complete my novel or there-abouts) by November 30.

Speaking of which, I should be writing my novel instead of writing about writing my novel…

My Count thus Far

Sunny Saturday Adventure

ssatitle

Today dawned bright and beautiful.  I got up early, while the rest of the house slept and indulged in the stillness of the morning.  I didn’t have to work today and because it is a Saturday and it is a rare occurrence to have a Saturday off, today was a magical day.

In my last post I tried to explain, with my limited capacity, the struggle to achieve work/life balance for a business owner.  In this post I want to share with you that I have made a concerted effort to take some time off and to do something fun with it.

This day didn’t just happen.  I have found that if I want to do something on my day off, I need to plan it.  Spontaneity is often defeated by lackadaisicalness.  We planned to go to the markets, if we hadn’t then we would have probably ended up doing nothing. So we had a plan.  We had to make a delivery first and pick up some yummy relish from the mother in-law and then we were off.

Our destination was the famous Eumundi Markets. We estimated that it had been at least five years since we had been.  Considering we were Sunshine Coast locals, this was pretty poor.  We decided that since we were going through Nambour, we would take the scenic route through Yandina.  Highways are so boring.

It is interesting to travel roads that you haven’t been down for a while and see the changes.  I have lived on the Sunshine Coast for nearly twenty-four years and during that time have lived in different suburbs.  Places that I used to frequent regularly, now I rarely visit so it is nice to revisit those places and see the changes.  Did you know that Yandina has a brand new shopping centre?  I didn’t until today.

When we arrived at the markets, parking became our goal.  I remember having to get to the markets at some ungodly hour in order to get a park.  Parking is a lot more civilised now, they have car parks and everything.  You have to pay for the privilege, but I find that the convenience is worth it and the money goes into the local community.

The market has grown exponentially.  There seemed to be thousands of them (I don’t actually know how many there are, but there are lots!)  Eumundi Markets used to be known for their strict regulations for Market holders – make it, bake it, sew it, grow it – but things have changed.  There is still a section of the markets that stick to these rules, but there are other markets that have grown up around the original and they are not so strict.  Some of these are great, but unfortunately there are some that just stock cheap imports which, I feel, have no place in a real market.

Overall, the atmosphere is great although very crowded.  There is so much to see and taste and experience and not just at the markets.  There are some really interesting shops along the main street, notably Berkelouw Books. This place was phenomenal.  New alongside second hand alongside antique…a book-lovers heaven.

bookstore

 

coffeepot

 

 

Another great shop was a Retro and Vintage shop called Retro Spective.  They have some amazing pieces and furniture and really reasonably priced.  I didn’t get a photo in the shop, but we did buy a little treasure.

frenchpatisserie

 

 

We had a delicious, freshly baked chocolate croissant from a gorgeous little french patisserie stall.  I think the chef was actually French!

 

 

van

 

And saw this cute little van that I would love to turn into a coffee van or maybe a muffin van 🙂

 

sugarcreamer

 

We bought some adorable mini Monte Carlo and Melting Moment biscuits that were about the size of a ten cent piece but ate them before getting a photo and also found this set of sugar and creamer that most of our grandparents probably owned.

 

PumSpinFeta

 

Our market plans fulfilled we then took a drive to Noosa, well, Tewantin.  We were heading for Noosa River, but Gavin got lost and we ended up in Tewantin which wasn’t any big drama.  We were enjoying our sunny Saturday adventure and decided to just go with it.  Neither of us had ever actually been to Tewantin before, so we wandered down the main street to find some lunch.  We ended up at Tewantin Deli were I had a Pumpkin, Spinach & Feta Salad with Grilled Chicken and Avocado.  Gavin had a burger, but only ate half.

fishmarket

 

 

And on the drive home we saw this cute little shop that I wish I could transport to Mooloolaba and turn into a Vintage Cake Shop

 

That was our Sunny Saturday Adventure!