Saturday 29 March 2008

You, The Living

The 25-minute walk to the cinema last night seemed far longer in the cold, insistent rain and wind, but i'm glad to say that this film was worth every icy drop!
You, The Living is set in a city and tells many stories about some of the people living there, their hopes and dreams, their troubles and anxieties. I was taken on a dream-like journey through the sadness, loneliness and warmth of the people who inhabit this curious place. The film is made up of lots of short scenes which show different aspects of the human condition, from loneliness and frustration to joy and pleasure.
It opens with a man lying on a small uncomfortable sofa in a tiny, austere room. The man eventually awakes and addresses us, the audience, directly. I'm not that sure how I can describe the feeling that gave me, but the size of the cinema screen and the way the room had been shot, made me feel that I was actually in that room, like a guest in the house rather than a far-off spectator. This claustrophobic feeling continues as a theme throughout the film, as do many unexpected moments of surreal comedy and the muted, beige-coloured streets, people and
This is a film that I want to keep remembering.

Saturday 22 March 2008

Imaginary People - Lars and the Real Girl and The Orphanage

Hooray for the member's discount at the Showroom cinema on Fridays! Only £2 per ticket, not bad! So I just HAD to see another two films this evening. These two films were both enjoyable in their own way but each was very different. There was a tenuous link between them, though; both featured "imaginary people".

The first was Lars and the Real Girl. The story is of a young man with a mental health problem which leads him to buy Bianca, an "anatomically correct" lifesize doll to fall in love with, and the reactions of his brother, his sister-in-law and the rest of the town, to this bizarre behaviour. This film was trailered as a comedy, and it certainly had many comical moments, however I found it to be a powerful account about a troubled man who goes through a difficult emotional and psychological journey, but with the love and patience of others, comes out the other side a stronger person. Lars treated her so much like a living breathing human that i'm sure I almost saw her move a couple of times... This film used humour to lift what may have otherwise been quite emotionally draining. It was tender, moving and uplifting.

Official Trailer

The second film was The Orphanage, a chilling but moving ghost story produced by Guillermo Del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, Cronos, The Devil's Backbone). It was beautifully made in a wonderfully creepy and massive mansion, with outstanding performances from all the cast and plenty of heart-attack-inducing moments where EVERYONE in the cinema jumped in their seats. The film used suspense to disturb, rather than gory horror, of which there was only one scene. Mathew and me discussed the suspense it gave but also the suspension of disbelief it required; so many things were left unanswered about the mystery, which made some of the story unconvincing. But, as the medium in the film, Aurora, says to Laura, "if you believe... you will see". The plot-holes though, do not detract from the fact that this is a great film.

YouTube Trailer

Saturday 15 March 2008

An Evening of Cinematic Song - We Are Together and Sweeney Todd

I've just seen two very different films this evening at our local cinema (the Showroom in Sheffield, South Yorkshire) but they share one thing in common: singing!

The first film is actually a documentary called "We Are Together", about a group of South African orphans who use their beautiful talent for singing to change their own lives. We follow the making of their CD, their trip to the U.S. and the highs and lows of their lives. It is an incredibly powerful film, and I was moved to laughter, then tears, then back again to laughter. The children's voices are wonderfully angelic, and it was so great to see them dedicating such a lot of effort into their talents. And the best thing was, that they sing all the time! Everyone sings and dances, and this is a joy to see and hear, against the bleak backdrop of family members dying from AIDS, and great poverty of the area. You must see this film, it will warm your soul.

The second in my musical double-bill was Sweeney Todd with Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter, and was far from heart-warming. It was incredibly gruesome and deserves its 18 certificate, I was squeamishly scrunched-up in my seat, not wanting to see yet another throat being sliced through! However, the dark violence was contrasted against the colour of the wonderful songs and a few black comedy moments; it was very funny at first to see Johnny Depp singing (Mathew said that he sounded like a slowed-down David Bowie!) but after a few minutes you get used to it.
The sets were wonderfully shadowy and atmospheric; very evocative of Victorian London, and fitted the tone of the whole film beautifully. The colours had been toned down, so everything had a dreary, grey look to it, which seemed to emphasise Depp and Bonham-Carter's sickly-looking eye makeup and ghostly-pale skin.
Lurid, thrilling and magnificent is how i'd describe this immensely entertaining film.

Friday 14 March 2008

Etsy Beauties!

Etsy Beauties!, originally uploaded by Joey 7.
Some gorgeous objects made by Etsy sellers with springtime feel. What a lot of talent! Use the links below to visit their shops.
From left to right:
1. Blissful Gypsy Caravan purse by Pink Lemonade Boutique
2. Knitwit Tops Necklace - detail by Liana Kabel
3. Cody Cat by Thistle Town Studio
4. apple green floral button ring by Tigerlilly Shop
5. Green and Orange Vintage Flowers Barrette by Sweet Acorn Store
6. B. Butterfly by Loopy Dolls
7. rabbits in the bubbles by Molly Jey
8. Cedar Waxwing - 2008 by Studio Lyon
9. james taylor turtle by bonnie b pottery

Tuesday 4 March 2008

Misaki the Pink bunny and her little friends

I finished another pink bunny brooch this afternoon and the light was just right for taking some pictures of her. I always take pictures of the small things I make on a south-east-facing window sill in our house, for the natural light. I haven't really sorted out a bigger space for things too big to fit on the window-sill yet. But most of the things I make are pretty tiny anyway...

The brightly-coloured plastic ladies you see pictured here are some of the collection of Unazukins we have. If you've not seen these before, they are interactive toys that will either shake or nod their head (just their face, really) when you ask a question. Or if you make any sort of noise... But the main things are that they're cute, come in lots of different designs and provide a lot of distraction at your office desk. The most popular question asked of the "oracle" sitting on my desk at work is, "will I ever get to leave this place?" to which the "oracle" usually shakes her head... Yes, she tells it like it is, and never shies away from giving unwelcome news.
Click this link to say hello to Misaki and her Unazukin friends on Etsy!

Monday 3 March 2008

Book Review: Felt - Handmade Style by India Flint and Toyoko Sugiwaka

I've loved felt for as long as i can remember. I love it because it's soft but also strong, dense but also flexible, so easy to sew... and it never frays!

I came across this book in my public library, and it's not only got lots of lovely pictures to look at, all the instructions are clear and easy to understand. This book is great if you've been inspired by seeing everyone else's beautiful wooly creations and want to make your own.

This book concentrates on basic wet-felting techniques and includes more than 20 interesting projects to make useful and stylish things to wear, to keep other things in, or to decorate your home. I've not tried any of the projects yet... but I think if I had all the materials, this book would tell me what I need to know.

Yes, you need a special material: wool. Not something easily purchased from high-street shops, however you'll find plenty of suppliers on Etsy. The tools you need though, are mainly household things - bubble-wrap, soap, beach-mats...

Among the 20+ projects are felt beads, bowls, a delicate scarf, a curly-fleece rug, slippers, hats, purses and bags... really plenty to get you started. Then once you feel you have a grasp of the basic process, you can have fun making things of your own design.

What i'm most attracted to is the ability to make multi-coloured and patterned felts... watch this space!

Anyway, this is a book i'm definitely going to borrow from our public library again... when I get around to buying some wool roving!

In case you want to get hold of this book, here are the details:
Felt: Handmade Style by India Flint and Toyoko Sugiwaka

Paperback: 112 pages
Publisher: Murdoch Books (1 Feb 2007)
Language English
ISBN-10: 1740458826
ISBN-13: 978-1740458825
Product Dimensions: 24.4 x 22.2 x 2 cm


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