Friday, 23 November 2012


Just spent the morning making a new site for my portfolio as I'm currently looking for a work term in the St. John's area.

Check it out :

Monday, 19 November 2012

Online Shopping Addiction: Christmas Edition

One of the many excellent things about Christmas is that I get some new clothes as one of my presents. In the last couple of years I've bought some clothes online a month in advance, and sent it home so my parents can have it wrapped for Christmas morning. I know it takes away from the surprise, but at least this way I know I'm going to like the clothes I get. This year and last year I purchased my clothing from SUCH great site, great prices. Its based in the UK but has free shipping to Canada for purchases over $25. 

Here are my purchases:

I cannot wait to feel the comfort of this sweater dres

Classic black dress

I quite like these

SO cozy looking

Seems comfy enough


Just thought I'd write about some recent updates I've done. I've added some links at the top of the home page to a few new pages I've created. A few weeks ago I made a page with all of the links of the film reviews I've ever done, which is under the Kiwi Film Review page. I also added 3 more pages yesterday, Photography, Recipes, and DIY. The Photography page is basically a portfolio of some of my favorite pictures, and the Recipes and DIY pages just have links to the posts I've made that are under those categories.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Kiwi Film Review: An Education

IMDB: 7.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Roger Ebert: 4/4 Stars

Stars: Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard, Alfred Molina, Dominic Cooper, Rosamund Pike, Emma Thompson.
Written By: Nick Hornby(screenplay), Lynn Barbor(memoir)
Directed By:  Lone Scherfig

Release Date: 
8 October 2009
Described by IMDB as:
"In the early 1960's, sixteen year old Jenny Mellor lives with her parents in the London suburb of Twickenham. On her father's wishes, everything that Jenny does is in the sole pursuit of being accepted into Oxford, as he wants her to have a better life than he. Jenny is bright, pretty, hard working but also naturally gifted. The only problems her father may perceive in her life is her issue with learning Latin, and her dating a boy named Graham, who is nice but socially awkward. Jenny's life changes after she meets David Goldman, a man over twice her age. David goes out of his way to show Jenny and her family that his interest in her is not improper and that he wants solely to expose her to cultural activities which she enjoys. Jenny quickly gets accustomed to the life to which David and his constant companions, Danny and Helen, have shown her, and Jenny and David's relationship does move into becoming a romantic one.."

I saw this film a year or so ago and I adored it, and so began my lady-crush with Carey Mulligan. She's done a few amazing films besides this one including Never Let Me Go(which I'm actually watching right now) as well as Shame, Drive, Pride & Prejudice, Public Enemies, and Brothers. I mean really, how many young actresses have that amazing of a resume? Its such an odd film really, an older man seduces a 16 year old school girl, but theres something charming in it. I think its because most girls feel like they want something bigger and better in their lives, I know I do. Who doesn't want a romantic trip to Paris for their 17th birthday? I sure did. Unfortunately it doesn't end well, which I'm sure couldn't possibly be a spoiler, because who, while watching this film, thought "Oh yes, this will work out wonderfully for Jenny(Mulligan) and her con-artist, old-man, boyfriend."

It starts off with a young girl named Jenny(Mulligan) who is stuck in a boring, pressure-filled life with her mother and father, who only want her to focus on her school and her Latin so she can get into Oxford. She's doing just that, when she meets David(
Peter Sarsgaard). He seduces Jenny and her parents surprisingly easily. And they go out to a concert with his friends Danny(Dominic Cooper) and Helen(Rosamund Pike) and the story develops from there. They go on various trips where she discovers some things about David(Sarsgaard) that she's not happy about, but he somehow manages to convince Jenny to forget about it. This charade keeps up until she realizes, almost too late, that she has made a mistake with him. She then has to figure out if she has lost everything, or if she has enough time to life the life she always wanted, or if she's too late. 

Its almost horrifying that this film was based on a true story from a memoir written by Lynn Barbor. I mean, there's no murder or anything, its just it seems as though there were so few options for women back in the 60's, and to think it was almost all over for her is just heartbreaking. I'm trying desperately not to give too much about this film away, because I think everyone should see it, and I really don't know what else to say about it without giving the whole plot away to be honest. 

I think all there's really left to say is that the reason this film gets me so much is that when you're 16 it seems incredibly possible for something like this to happen, for you to be tricked into something you don't understand. Especially by a man who can give you everything you've ever dreamed of, the music, the travel, the glamour. If this happened in real life exactly the way it happened in the film, I can't help but think that this was almost entirely on the fault of Jenny's(Mulligan) parents. Young girls make mistaks, and lie to their parents. Adults are supposed to know better, and protect them from stupid mistakes, and bad people.

I really love this film, so I'm giving it a 9/10. Definitely worth the Oscar Nominations for Best picture and best actress for Carey Mulligan. Bravo.

Kiwi Film Review: Lincoln

IMDB: 7.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Roger Ebert: 4/4 Stars

Star: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, David Strathairn, Tommy Lee Jones.
Director: Stephen Spielberg
Writer: Tony Kushner

Release Date: 16 November 2012
Described by IMDB as: "
In 1865, as the American Civil War winds inexorably toward conclusion, U.S. president Abraham Lincoln endeavors to achieve passage of the landmark constitutional amendment which will forever ban slavery from the United States. However, his task is a race against time, for peace may come at any time, and if it comes before the amendment is passed, the returning southern states will stop it before it can become law. Lincoln must, by almost any means possible, obtain enough votes from a recalcitrant Congress before peace arrives and it is too late. Yet the president is torn, as an early peace would save thousands of lives. As the nation confronts its conscience over the freedom of its entire population, Lincoln faces his own crisis of conscience -- end slavery or end the war."

I find it quite hard to review films like this. I like to refer to them as "Oscar films" even though the nominations obviously have not yet been released. These are films that without doubt, will definitely be nominated for oscars based on their actors, directors, and general themes. Since all of these categories are covered far and beyond with Daniel Day-Lewis, Steven Spielberg, and Abraham Lincoln, this film is not only an "Oscar film", but probably one of the top contenders for winning best picture. Unfortunately, the difficult part in reviewing these films is the fact that there are many parts that are, for lack of a better word, dull. 

Now, don't let this deter you from watching this film, as it was a fantastic film, and displays a very important part in history. I found it hard not to see clear parallels between the 1865 fight to abolish slavery, and the current day fight in America for equal rights for gay lesbian people. I will never understand how people could be so hateful that they feel people shouldn't have equal rights. I felt myself quite enraged through some parts of this film, when talking about how all men are not created equal. How dare someone presume that they have the authority to decide that.

I have to say almost the entire first half of the film was so, so dull. Now, I totally understand how important it was to set up the second half, but that doesn't make it any less, well, boring. But the second half definitely made up for it. Its not one of those films with crazy thrill and excitement, but when the 13th Amendment passed I have to say I just wanted to stand up and cheer as the people on the screen were doing. I definitely teared up a little bit when that happened, as I'm sure anyone with a heart would have. Its astonishing that slavery was abolished almost 150 years ago, and yet slavery still persists. I thought it was great timing to release this film, right after the election. I think its a great film to reignite patriotism among Americans in a time that they are incredibly divided.

I'm not even sure how to begin on how fantastic Daniel Day-Lewis was in this film, but lets be honest,  could we expect anything less? He has to be one of the greatest character actors of our generation, possible even of all time. Whenever I see his name in the titles I almost know for sure that I'm going to enjoy it. I couldn't believe how much he resembled Abraham Lincoln in this film. Unbelievable. Makeup should definitely get an Oscar nod for that one. The cast list in this film is pretty incredible. Mrs. Lincoln is played by Sally Field, their child Robert Lincoln is played by none other then Joseph Gordon Levitt. There were numerous other cameos by great actors as well, most of them only for a few moments really, I guess everyone wanted in a big film like this, even if it was just a small part. 
I really liked Tommy Lee Jones' storyline. I loved his pure enthusiasm and hope for the Amendment to pass, I won't give any spoilers, but his part at the end added a little extra to my heart.

I have to say that I didn't know anything about the timeline of these evenets, but I was pretty shocked by how quickly the whole thing happened. I mean, obviously the war went on much longer then what was in this film. I didn't realize that the amendment was passed on January 31st 1865, then the war was ended in the beginning of April and Lincoln was killed on April the 15th. I really didn't realize three of those things were so close together. 

Overall I really liked this film, unfortunately I'm going to have to take off a few points for the beginning, but I couldn't give it a low score because it really was an amazing piece of work. I went with a friend who said it could have ended earlier, but I think it was important to show both the ending of the Civil War, and Lincoln's death.

I'm going to give it an 8/10. Solid film, definitely expecting big things at the Oscars.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Kiwi Film Review: Argo

IMDB: 8.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Roger Ebert: 4/4
What The Flick: 9.3/10

Stars: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Alan Arkin, Victor Garber
Directed By: Ben Affleck
Written By: Chris Terrio

Release Date: 12 October 2012
Described by IMDB as: "In 1979, the American embassy in Iran was invaded by Iranian revolutionaries and several Americans are taken hostage. However, six manage to escape to the official residence of the Canadian Ambassador and the CIA is eventually ordered to get them out of the country. With few options, exfiltration expert Tony Mendez devises a daring plan: to create a phony Canadian film project looking to shoot in Iran and smuggle the Americans out as its production crew. With the help of some trusted Hollywood contacts, Mendez creates the ruse and proceeds to Iran as its associate producer. However, time is running out with the Iranian security forces closing in on the truth while both his charges and the White House have grave doubts about the operation themselves."

Well, lets be real. Ben Affleck lucked out on the timing of this movies release. After the whole Libya, Benghazi, protests killing an American diplomat last month, this fits perfect for this film. Way more people are going to be interested in this film because of this, which is definitely good, because its a really interesting part of history.

Despite the fact that I knew how this film was going to end, because it is based on a true story, it really didn't take away from the stress and thrill of the film. There were so many times when you really didn't know how it was going to turn out for them(even though you really did). Especially at the end, you were really quite terrified for them.

I liked that they explained some of the history of the relationship between America and Iran in the beginning to set up the story, I liked that when they really didn't hold back on the truth of it, that the blame for the situation was really based on the mistake of America in taking in an awful dictator for protection, rather then him getting justice at the hands of his people.  I'm not for vigilante justice, but in some cases, like this, dictators diserve whatever the people plan to give them. I think this film showed some good for Jimmy Carter, since so many people have negative feelings for him. I also really liked his "cameo" at the end during the credits. When I heard his voice coming over the speakers I was pretty excited. I also think its important to remember the incredible risk the Canadian Diplomat  took by letting these six people stay in his house.

Thusfar, Ben Affleck has had an incredible writing/directing career. I mean, if his acting portfolio wasn't enough, he has Good Will Hunting, Gone Baby Gone, The Town, and now Argo under his belt for writing and directing. All of these films have above a 7.5 rating on IMDB and above a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. Argo will definitely be fitting in nicely with this line up. I will be shocked it Ben Affleck doesn't get an oscar nod for both directing and acting in this film. Although, his acting mostly understated, and he really doesn't have a whole lot of speaking, you still get the intensity in his performance.

I absolutely LOVED Alan Arkin and John Goodman in this film. They were hilarious, and their chemistry and friendship was amazing. They played an important role in the mission, and the film. They were also involved in one of the most thrilling and anxious parts of the film. Bryan Crasnton was also great in this film, but sort of an asshole who almost completely screws everything up. 
So, what do I think of this film? I loved it. I always enjoyed the story when I learned about it school, so to see it in film was pretty great. I think its amazing that everyone involved were forced to keep what really happened a secret, when they could have taken full credit and been treated as heroes. I think its very important that the people responsible for saving these 6 men and women's lives. They show pictures of everyone involved in the mission during the credits, and man, did they cast well. All of the 6 refugees were spot on in casting, amazing really.

I'm going to give this film a 9.5/10, such a great film, and I think just about anyone would enjoy it. Even if you aren't into films about history, or that take place during different times, there is enough thrill and heart in this film to keep anyone interested. 

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Kiwi Film Reivew: Skyfall

IMDB: 8.1/10
Rotten Tomaotes: 92%

Roger Ebert: 4/4 stars
What The Flick: 9.5/10

Stars: Daniel Craig, Judy Dench, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw
Directed By: Sam Mendes
Written By: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, John Logan

Release Date: 9 November 2012
Described by IMDB as: "Bond's loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost."

I feel like this was the first Bond film (that I've seen at least) thats been really much more then cars and bond girls, but even from the beginning of this film it is full of action. The opening sequence shows Bond being sort of betrayed by M and is thought to be killed off. No worries, this won't have any spoilers, if you've seen the trailer you know this much at least already. The staple "Bond opening sequence" was breathtaking. The beautiful design combined with Adele's "Skyfall" was nothing short of perfection, truly beautiful.

I feel like this is a pretty different film then Sam Mendes is used to directing, but I was previously a huge fan of his work. American Beauty is one of my all-time favorite films, and I really enjoyed Revolutionary Road, but neither are very action-packed, but I have to say, even without a history in Action films, he did an amazing job of balancing story with action. Kept it interesting without making it completely unbelievable. 
The storyline was great, I really enjoyed the backstory to Bond's childhood and how he became the was he is. The cinematography was beautiful. All of the scenes over Shanghai were awesome, as were the scenes of London. Lots of views of the London Eye in this one. The views in Scotland are also completely gorgeous, the last quarter of the film was my favorite, and the cinematography was probably half of the reason, it was just so beautiful.

I really love everything about Daniel Craig as Bond. He's been strong and sexy, but also truly weak and vulnerable in all of the films, especially this one. I love how he's the suave, tuxedo Bond, but he's also a more down and dirty, gritty Bond, I really liked the whole "unshaven" look in the beginning, really added a different feeling. The whole film you really wonder whether M(Judy Dench) is on his side or not, especially after you learn all of Silvia's(Javier Bardem) story, and you find out that it may not be the first time she's turned her back on one of her star spies.

Javier Bardem was unreal in this film, so genuinely creepy, but so good. He was incredibly intense throughout his entire performance, it really felt like genuine emotion. He was definitely a great and classic Bond villan.  Ben Whishaw is the new tech and toys guy "Q". He's having a pretty great year, he was in Cloud Atlas a few weeks ago. There is also a pretty strong chance that I am totally in love with him, he is probably one of my new favorite actors. (I've also started watching The Hour which is awesome).

Best part about this movie is that I heard a few days ago that Daniel Craig has signed on for another 2 Bond movies! Pretty excited about this.

If I haven't already made it clear, I loved this film and pretty much everything about it. I'm giving it a 9.5/10. Definitely go see it asap, great for any action, thriller, drama, or Bond lover. 

Monday, 5 November 2012

Kiwi Film Review: The Queen

IMDB: 7.4
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Roger Ebert: 4/4

Stars: Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen, James Cromwell, Alex Jennings
Written By: Peter Morgan
Directed By: Stephen Frears

Release Date: 20 October 2006
Described by IMDB as: "Diana the 'People's Princess' has died in a car accident in Paris. The Queen and her family decide that for the best, they should remain hidden behind the closed doors of Balmoral Castle. The heartbroken public do not understand and request that the Queen comforts her people. This also puts pressure on newly elected Tony Blair, who constantly tries to convince the monarchy to address the public."

The death of Princess Diana has always been intriguing to me. I was only 6 when she was killed but I remember it vividly. I think it was mostly the funeral that I remember being on the television, but it was all anyone talked about for so long that it was burned into my mind. A while later my mother bought a book about her life and death. I don't remember what it was called but was gold and had a picture of her on the cover. I was still too young to read it but I remember flicking through the pictures of her has a child and a teenager inside. I just remember how tragic her death was, and knowing it was clearly entirely the press's fault. You'd think they would have stepped back a bit, but its obviously only gotten worse. 

This movie was really excellent. Hellen Mirren was almost unrecognizable. Michael Sheen I felt did a great job as well, although I can't say I really know much about Tony Blair, especially in the beginning of his time as Prime Minister. Thats the hard thing about this movie, clearly most of it at least has to be complete fiction, because there is truly no way of knowing the truth about what happened behind closed doors, especially the parts with the Queen and the royal family itself. I was thinking that they could have gotten a lot of information from the book that he wrote after his resignation, but I'm pretty sure the movie was released a few years before the book was released. So, clearly can't be true, meaning that pretty much the entire film has to be fiction, which I think is actually ok.

I have to say this film really changed my views on Prince Charles. I feel like children absorbe a lot that they hear as fact, and that really sticks with you. I remember hearing, when I was quite young, maybe 8 or 9, that many people believed that Prince Charles was behind Princess Diana's death, and that she had written a letter saying that if anything had happened to her to look to him first, and I've hated him ever since. I really don't know how much of what happened in this movie actually happened, but I'm hoping his general reaction is mostly true, I'm sure it probably was. 

I also hadn't realized how much the people loved Tony Blair so much at that time. I'm not extremely familiar on British politics but I always thought that the people mostly hated him, but that was probably just at the end when he resigned. He seemed to handle the situation well, especially compared to how the monarchy handled it. I suppose they had to have a hero and a bad guy to try and rationalize what had happend. 

I have to say that its really an interesting perspective on the whole subject, showing it through the eyes of the Queen. Although to choose this of all subjects to make a movie called "The Queen" is interesting, since its mostly about Princess Diana. 

Great movie, and excellent acting on both Mirren and Sheen's behalf, but also on pretty much everyone else in the film. If you have any interest in history, Princess Diana, or the monarchy, or if you just like a good drama, this film is for you.

I'm giving this film an 8.5/10. Very good, very enjoyable.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

New Kiwi Film Review Logo

Well, I'm not 100% happy with it, but without the border it looks too plain, and with the border it just doesn't look right, so thusfar, I'm keeping the border. I'm sure I'll do some updating soon, but for now.. here we are. It wasn't too difficult actually. I had made the border a while ago, so I just keep it as stock. The kiwi itself was actually pretty easy, just trying to get the seeds in a good position was hard, then actually finding a layout I was happy with was definitely the hardest part. I chose Helvetica for the font as it is one of my favorites. I love the cool clean look of it.

Now, I present to you, Kiwi Film Review Logo 1:

Feel free to give feedback.

Kiwi Film Review: Cloud Atlas

IMDB: 8.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 66%
Roger Ebert: 4/4 stars
What The Flick: 6.3/10 (The average of 3, 7.1, 7.1, 8. Clearly would have been higher if Christie hadn't lost her mind.)

Stars: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Braodbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae,  Ben Whishaw, Keith David, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant.
Written by: David Mitchell(novel), Tom Tykwer(screenplay), Andy Wachowski(screenplay),, Lana Wachowski(screenplay)
Directed by: Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski

Release Date: 26 October 2012
Described by IMDB as: Everything is connected: an 1849 diary of an ocean voyage across the Pacific; letters from a composer to his friend; a thriller about a murder at a nuclear power plant; a farce about a publisher in a nursing home; a rebellious clone in futuristic Korea; and the tale of a tribe living in post-apocalyptic Hawaii, far in the future.

Finally, a new science fiction movie with a great story, great acting, and great overall theme.

I'm not even sure how to begin with this film. I don't think I'm going to go into too much detail, because I want everyone to see this film, and I don't want to ruin it. Also, lets be real, I'm not really sure I could properly explain it. I guess when it comes down to it, its a possible answer to the question of "is there an afterlife, and if there is, what is it?" I guess this movie comes down to being about reincarnation... even though I don't believe in this, I try to keep an open mind so that I don't ruin the film for myself. Its funny, because even though that was the message they were trying to get across, what I got was to never let injustices happen, and to stand up when you see something horrible happening. That one person can make a change in the world if they just have the courage to do what they know is right.

It basically takes place in 6 different times and places.

  • Pacific Ocean in 1849
  • Edinburgh, Scotland in 1936
  • San Francisco, California in 1975
  • United Kingdom, 2012
  • Neo Seoul(Korea), 22nd Century
  • Sometime in the distant future on another planet
I have to say I really liked all of the different times and places in which this film took place. All of them were very interesting and quite inspiring. Some of them were uplifting and others quite heartbreaking. I think my favorite may have been the 1849 storyline, though all of them were great.. Jim Sturgess was charming and uplifting in his gradual fight against slavery. Tom Hanks as an evil doctor was equally as interesting. I also really enjoyed the Neo Seoul Storyline in the 22nd Century. The story of another sort of slave having the courage to stand up against a regime. Doona Bae was amazing. She has so many strong subtle scenes, very impressive.  I don't think there was a single storyline that wasn't excellently executed.  I also really liked that in each world/time/place one of the lead actors was a main character.

The acting lineup could easily be the most impressive I've ever seen. There were even a few "supporting actors" that I had no idea were even going to be in this (Hugo Weaving, Susan Sarandon, and Hugh Grant). All of the acting was fantastic, I think that Tom Hanks plays the most different characters in this film, so impressive. Although, Halle Berry also had quite an array of characters as well, my favorite probably being her character in the "distant future, another planet" storyline. Great costume and story in that one. Although, her 1970's storyline was also great where she stands up against a big company when she suspects they're doing something that would cause huge problems for the people in the surrounding area. Ben Whishaw's character in 1936 was very enlightening and charming, with a love filled story, and a heartbreaking ending. It was really beautiful.  Jim Braodbent was also brilliant in this film. His 2012 storyline was also filled with love and regret. The seniors home breakout scheme was hilarious and delightful.

The music played a big role in this, and I have to say it was really great. I will definitely download the soundtrack. The Cloud Atlas Sextet was really quite beautiful. I feel like if this film doesn't get an Oscar nod for makeup I will be shocked. There were so many times I could hardly tell who the actors under the prosthetics were. Really great work.  

In Roger Ebert's review, he stated that this film was "one of the most ambitious films ever made" and I have to agree. I've seen that thusfar this film may be a "100 million dollar flop." I really, really hope not. It was a fantastic movie, and even though its pushing 3 hours in length, at no point was I bored or did I feel as if it was being dragged out. I think that can be attributed to the fact that it was constantly cut up into chunks to keep 6 story-lines running smoothly.

I'm going to give this film a 9.5/10. Its seriously that good.

UPDATE: November 10th

I ended up seeing this film again a few days ago, and I felt the need to ad an update. This film is really worth seeing twice, you get so much more information.

Its much more clear how the stories are linked together than it was the first time. I was also able to see more of the characters who were in each setting. I didn't notice Ben Whishaw in the "2012" storyline until the second time, and I didn't notice Hugh Grant in the "Neo Seoul" storyline until the second time either.

I also wanted to add how much I love the 1936 storyline. I had forgotten how much I loved it when I was writing my first review. It was definitely the one that touched me the most, I just loved the love story between Robert Frobisher and Rufus Sixsmith there was so much passion in it, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Even the second time I watched it, it ended with me in tears and inspiration. I definitely still recommend this film to anyone who enjoys movies at all. 

Halloween 2012

This may have been the most successful halloween to date. Definitely since I've been in St. John's anyways. 

On Sunday 2 of my friends and I carved some pumpkins (pictures below) and then I had a few other friends over for a pot luck where I made some Taco Cupcakes . We then watched Hocus Pocus (Best Halloween movie ever) and then ventured to my other friends house to watch the Halloween episode of Once Upon A Time(because I don't have cable).

Here is my Jack Skellington pumpkin :)

Jack Skellintgon, Cheerful Pumpkin, and The Tardis

Pumpkins and their creators

All of the party people