Thursday, December 28, 2006


Apologies for such a long time between blogs. Things have been extremely hectic with packing, moving and Christmas and now I’m currently living out of an overstuffed backpack as most of my stuff is currently being transported to Darwin. Where I’m going to pack my newly purchased post-Christmas sale shoes and miscellaneous items I forgot to pack before, I have no idea.

Unfortunately my entries on the Great Ocean Road and multi-Christmas will have to wait as I have left my camera in Sydney. In the meantime, here are some movie reviews for the holiday season.




Happy Feet: 3.5/5

Cast (Voices): Elijah Wood (Rings Trilogy), Robin Williams (Aladdin), Hugh Jackman (Kate & Leopold), Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge).

In a nutshell: Cuter than a button, but not quite up to the hype.

Brief Synopsis: In a community of emperor penguins where singing is a social necessity, tone-deaf Mumble, with his quick tapping feet finds himself an outcast.

The movie starts off at 100 kph but then slowly decelerates all the way through. The baby penguins are possibly the cutest thing you will ever see on the screen, and the opening scenes are extremely funny. But once you get to the half way mark, the story line seems to loose a bit of steam and meanders…not aimlessly… but lacking some oomph. The ending was a nice idea, but the execution somehow seems a little silly and possibly too hasty. However, overall, the quality of the animation is top notch, and the characters are a treat, and there are some great family moments to be had.

Eragon: 2.4/5

Cast: Jeremy Irons (Lolita), John Malkovich (Dangerous Liasons), Robert Carlyle (Trainspotting), Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener)

In a nutshell: Great start that turns into a cliché fest.

Brief Synopsis: Based on a book, it is the story of a young man who becomes a dragon rider and the one hope to oppose the evil king.

The actors are really good, the CGI dragon looks amazing, the story is the stuff that good kids books are made of, so why is this only an average movie? I can only guess, but maybe firstly it has to contend with comparisons to the Ring Trilogy, and secondly, they have tried to fit a big story into a short movie. The movie starts off wonderfully, but from about the mid point, it turns into cliché followed by cliché, then in true trilogy style, leaves you hanging at the end. Not particularly satisfying at all, perhaps you can wait for this on DVD.

Flushed Away: 2.5/5

Cast (voices): Hugh Jackman (Van Helsing), Kate Winslet (Finding Neverland)

In a nutshell: Enjoyable, but we expect more from Aardman.

Brief Synopsis: Roddy, an upper class pet rat gets flushed down into the sewers and embarks on an adventure to get home.

Dreamworks and Aardman – sounds like the perfect mix. Unfortunately this doesn’t quite get there. It’s cute and probably a great one for the young ones, but for this try-hard adult, there was a lack of wit that would have improved my enjoyment exponentially. Having said that, there are some great characters and funny moments, but there should have been more.

Casino Royale: 3.75/5

Cast: Daniel Craig (Layer Cake)

In a nutshell: Best Bond of the last few years, but falls down slightly towards the end.

Brief Synopsis: James Bond becomes 007 for the first time and sets out to thwart a corrupt banker who has lost the money of terrorist investors.

Like most, I was a little dubious about the decision to make Daniel Craig the next Bond and like most I would say that he definitely surpassed expectations. He is not debonair like Brosnan or Connery, but he brings a steely determination and a dry sense of humour that makes for a good 007. It doesn’t hurt that he is supported by amazing Jackie Chan like action scenes and some very clever script writing. However, in the end, this is another movie that starts off well and then leaves a little to be desired in the resolution. What killed it for me was the clunky way in which the romantic section of the movie was developed, which unfortunately was an integral part of the plot. As a positive though, it is an interesting way to explain why Bond is the way he is and definitely worth watching on the big screen.

The Prestige: 4/5

Cast: Hugh Jackman (X-Men), Christian Bale (Batman Begins), Michael Caine (Ciderhouse Rules), Scarlett Johansson (The Island)

In a nutshell: Darkness, intrigue and wonderful unravelling, just what we’ve come to expect from Christopher Nolan.

Brief Synopsis: Two rival magicians go to extraordinary lengths to outdo each other.

My favourite movie of this bunch. Seriously, with Jackman, Bale, Caine, Johansson behind the lens and Nolan at the helm, how could you go wrong? Like its subject, there is a well built anticipation of what happens next and a mystery of how it happened. The storytelling is intelligent and compelling and the atmosphere suitably dark. Towards the end, the story does take a little bit of a strange turn which doesn’t necessarily make for as captivating an ending as the journey, however, this is only a small quibble. Not for everyone, but certainly excellent movie making.




She’s The Man: 3.5/5

Cast: Amanda Bynes (What a Girl Wants)

In a nutshell: A guilty pleasure. A surprisingly good laugh.

Brief Synopsis: Take the Twelfth Night and throw in a bit of Bend It Like Beckham, and you have She’s the Man. Viola pretends to be her twin brother in order to play highschool football (Soccer).

Admittedly I entered this viewing with no expectations, which always makes for a better than expected movie! The basic story line is a good one, being sourced from Shakespeare himself and it has been translated into an enjoyable teen flick. Big kudos to Amanda Bynes as Viola, her comic timing and willingness to jump into the role wholeheartedly certainly makes the movie.

My Super Ex-Girlfriend: 2/5

Cast: Luke Wilson (Royal Tenanbaums), Uma Thurman (Truth about Cats and Dogs), Anna Farris (Scary Movies)

In a Nutshell: Funny pretence but the movie itself is not particularly funny and a bit awkward. Watchable…just.

Brief Synopsis: Guy dumps girlfriend who happens to be a superhero and in the process incurs her wrath.

One spends a lot of time during this movie thinking “That’s just stupid”. Uma’s character is painful to watch, Luke Wilson is a wooden and the funny bits may deserve a slight chuckle, but not much more. On the upside, the ending is not a bad one, especially when so many of the movies I’ve seen in the cinemas lately have such predictable or crappy endings.


On the 2nd of December, Team Trollz went at it again in the Melbourne Amazing Race hoping to improve on our 4th placing from last time. This time we were team yellow (better omen than burgundy I say) and Gideon and I were joined by the very lovely Rachel, Jasmine & Gemma.

After a slow start at Albert Park on the putting greens and jigsaw, we managed to make up some time getting to the Exhibition Building and doing the origami task. The girls then did a great hustle of forcing people and small children to take photos with us at Southgate. This brought us in at 2nd at the first pitstop.

After lunch, technical difficulties dropped us back to sixth. But we soon made up a couple of places - making the right decision to do the word puzzle (rather than running up and down 4 flights of stairs for an unspecified number of laps – which ended up being 6 laps each), the heroic efforts of Rachel and Jasmine riding bicycles by the Yarra and then Gemma at the eating broiled chicken feet task. The Christmas shopping task was an exhausting and frustrating one, but seemed to be the same for all teams. Then we were headed for the Melbourne City Baths for the swim leg.

At this stage we were coming fourth, and the third team (Black team) was leaving the pool just as we were arriving. Gideon and I quickly jumped in the pool and did our 25m each, quickly got dressed and headed out to catch the tram to the last pitstop at the Riverland Bar & Café by the Yarra. To our lucky surprise the black team was still waiting for a tram, and then when one finally came it was a race from the tram to the finish line. With great skill and determination (mmm… lots of luck more like it) we beat them to the finish line only to find out that we had come 2nd rather than 3rd. Great way to end an awesome day!

Here are some photos care of Uplift Events – (Check it out for info on their next public event).

<>Does it look like we have no idea?
Building an origami box.

Yay Team Yellow! Second Place!
Me, Gemma, Rachel, Gideon & Jasmine at the last pitstop.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Merriness (and not in a Hobbit sort of way) to you all!

Hi All!

Just wanted to send you happy thoughts and wishes of glad tidings for the New Year! Hope you all had a special Christmas as well.

Love Gayle

ps. many more updates to come shortly!