Book Audio Video

First there was the book Eat Pray Love. I read it long before the hype and loved it. It really spoke to me and I enjoyed reading about the spiritual journey of Elizabeth Gilbert after the collapse of her marriage.

In anticipation of the release of the movie I listened to the audio book to remind myself why I enjoyed it. I once again enjoyed the intelligent narrative written with brutal honesty. I could relate to the idea of her desire to learn the Italian language simply because of the beauty of it, and I admired her courage to go to Italy to immerse herself in that language and beauty.

Now I have seen the movie and I luxuriated in the stunning visual feast on the big screen at the beautiful old Rivoli theatre in Camberwell. Despite omitting significant parts of the story, it was still well over two hours long. Her depression within the context of living in New York City during the September 11 terrorist attacks was not mentioned and I think this was a major contributing factor leading to her marriage breakdown. Without this fact she was characterised in the movie as being more superficial than she portrays herself in her book. One can only assume that Elizabeth Gilbert agreed to the changes. There were other small changes that were not significant but robbed me of the same enjoyment I found in these details when I read the book. The delicious cinematography in magnificent locations compensated for the rich text that was edited out. 

Julia Roberts plays the role well despite my lack of enthusiasm to see her in this movie. Javier Bardem is perfect as the Brazilian Felipe.

The sequel Committed is another intelligent discussion about marriage through history and culture. It follows the love story of Elizabeth and Felipe as they negotiate their rocky emotional journey. It is definitely worth a read. Now for the soundtrack from the movie….


Quentin Tarantino is a modern day creative genius in my opinion. He blatantly ignores all the rules of movie-making and just does what he wants to do. His latest movie Inglourious Basterds defies all categorisation. He combines all the ingredients that appeal to him and succeeds in making a movie that is edgey and enjoyable. He even has the arrogance to rewrite history into a story that perhaps he would have preferred rather than what did actually occur.

Employing pulp and propaganda in equal measure, Quentin Taratinto’s Inglourious Basterds weaves together the infamous, oppressed, real and larger-than-life stories of WW11. Read the official synopsis here.

If you like spaghetti westerns, film noir, a femme fatale or two, witty dialogue, foreign languages, war stories, comic book storyboard, gratuitous violence, blood, gore, explosions, and clever musical tracks then this is a movie for you.

The main character is the nicest bad guy you will ever meet; Christoph Waltz plays Colonel Hans Landa a German SS Officer. He goes to great lengths to explain to others his viewpoint that is not exactly kind. Brad Pitt plays the stiff American Army Commander Lieutenant Aldo Raine who does not speak any Italian despite saying he does. Melanie Laurent plays the French femme fatale Shosanna Dreyfus. There is a hilarious scene with Colonel Hans Landa and Shosanna Dreyfus in a restaurant eating Apple Strudel with cream. I’m not sure exactly why this is so funny but it made me laugh when not many others in the cinema were.


You have to approach this movie with a sense of humour. Tarantino obviously has a ball making his unique style of movies. I loved it despite the violent scenes that I viewed through parted fingers. And as a lover of French movies I loved the language and the French settings.


Have you seen Baz Luhrmann’s epic Australia yet? I know that Aussies may feel compelled to see it, but my advice is to save your money. What a disappointment and embarrassment! And I love his other movies like Romeo and Juliet and Moulin Rouge.


It seems to me that Baz could not decide if he wanted to make a musical again, a comedy, an epic, a war movie, or some kind of Australian classic. He failed in all. Perhaps if he had indeed made if a musical the movie as it stands would have succeeded. It is full of cringe value for all Australians. The graphics are woeful. The dialogue is stilted, and the accents are overly exaggerated. The performances of some great actors are shallow and terrible. The only actor who was good was the young actor who was the narrator of the tale – Brandon Walters.


The scenes about the bombing of Darwin seemed to be over-the-top and aimed at a Hollywood audience rather than depicting the truth. But then I questioned myself and knew that my knowledge of the bombing of Darwin was scant. I did a little research in the library to try to discover what the facts were. The Australian War Memorial website has one short page devoted to the attacks. I found one book titled “Darwin’s battle for Australia: a history of Darwin’s role in the defence of Australian in WW2” by the Darwin Defenders and published in 2005. This 294 page book contains witness accounts and photographs from the events in Darwin at that time. Once again the local library manages to provide information that is relevant and of high quality content.


P.S. The power of the blogging world – very soon after I posted this I received the comment direct from the Australian War Memorial who pointed me in the direction of more of their resources. Thank you. My excuse is that it wasn’t because I was not being thorough in my research of their website, but because I had located the excellent book in my local library on the subject. I value their input and the power of Web 2.0.

Making movies

Have you seen the movie Cloverfield? I watched it on the weekend and loved it mainly because of the way it is presented. One character uses a hand-held camera to document events as they unfold. Of course the events quickly take an unexpected and awful turn for the worse, but the characters don’t know that at the beginning of the movie. It is not a cheap production by any means and the continuity of the events as they unfold makes you wonder exactly how they created the scenes and edited the content.


I think we will see more and more of these types of movies due to the availability of hand-held digital cameras and their ease of use. The school library where I work has dozens of cameras that we regularly loan out to the students and teachers for school projects and events. Because of this I have learnt how to use them and then how to capture the video and edit the movies using the software on the pc’s. It is all so easy and the results can be fantastic. The students work is often outstanding as these digital natives have such an inherent ability to handle these tools in a fresh and creative way.


YouTube offers instant publication to a global audience. So some kind of success can be measured by the number of views that accumulate, as well as network spread.


My own humble attempts have been to use MovieMaker as photo stories as each of my three “children” turned 21. Adding music, using slide transitions, and combining still photos with video clips makes for a dynamic and interesting result that can be kept as a digital scrapbook. I plan to document my upcoming trip to Europe in this way. It is a heap of fun.