Saturday, June 15, 2024

Movie Review: Inside Out 2

 Movie Number 18 of 2024

The Film: Inside Out 2

The Cinema: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Stars: 3.75


As a big fan of Pixar's movies and a fan of the original Inside Out, I was always going to see this. Unfortunately, like most sequels, this doesn't quite live up to the magic of the first film. Very few sequels to reach the giddy heights of their predecessors. The Incredibles II, Deadpool II and most of the early Marvel films did it. Sadly, this one didn't quite get there. But it's not too far away. 

One thing about this film - if you don't know the premise of the first film, don't bother going - it would be too confusing. Knowing what went on in the first film is critical for understanding the second. 

In the first film we meet the emotions who run Riley (okay, well all of us) when we are children. 

There's Joy (Amy Poehler), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Liza Lapira), Fear (Tony Hale) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Riley's primary emotions who have negotiated her life for the last thirteen years. 

But Riley is now thirteen, about to embark on a hockey camp with her best friends and life is looking good. 

Until puberty kicks in - and the emotions are at a loss with what to do with emotions who have just turned up on the doorstep. Bring in Anxiety (Maya Hawke), Envy (Ayo Edebiri), Embarassment (Paul Walter Hauser) and the wonderful Ennui (Adèle Exarchopoulos) take over the joint. I really loved Ennui - she was great. 

Much of the film is spent getting the original set of emotions back in their rightful place, running the Riley show. 

What is good about this film is that it portrays the tumultuous time that puberty tends to be. It also puts Anxiety in sharp focus, and gives an accurate portrayal of what this horrid emotion can be like if it's not tempered by other, less problematic emotions. 

Looking at RottenTomatoes.com, this movie is seen to be a stellar film by the critics (92% Fresh). Their comments relate that Pixar has made a movie that keeps the charm of its predecessor while tackling more difficult and complex emotions. I see their point but think that some of the original charm is lacking.

This is a film you could take younger children to as it only runs for an hour and a half and most of the heavier stuff would wash right over them. For me, I did like that the film portrayed the way emotions can change with lightning speed as you learn to deal with them. Ennui, in particular, is brilliant. 

Being a Pixar film, all the colour and movement in the animation was there. As I was a little late to the cinema I did not see a short, which Pixar used to release with their films, however, there is a post credit release worth sticking around for, which could portend to a third film in the offing. 

Oh, and there was no Bing Bong. Bing Bong was the best thing to come out of the first film. (The film about imaginary friends, IF, has lots of characters like this.)


I won't say I was disappointed with this film, or even let down by it. I just didn't think it quite met the standards if it's stellar predecessor. 

Maybe I'm getting picky in my old age? This really isn't a bad film. I just feel it has a touch of "sequelitis." Getting a second film in the series just right is notoriously difficult.

Friday, June 14, 2024

Theatre Review: Julia

  The Play: Julia by Joanna Murray-Smith

The Company: Melbourne Theatre Company

The Theatre: Southbank Theatre, Melbourne

Stars: 4.5

Until: 13 July - season extended, but tickets are scarce. 

Julia Gillard. Love her or hate her. And depending on your feelings about the 27th Prime Minister of Australia will probably sway how you feel about this play. 

I've long been a Gillard fan, so there was a fair chance I was going to like this. 

To be fair, it's awesome. But if you don't like the woman, which the bloke next to Jay clearly didn't, there might not be much point going. 


The play is ostensibly a single hander, with Justine Clarke playing Julia through various stages of her life, from her childhood in Barry, Wales, to her schooling in Adelaide, her law degree and student politics and the rise up the ranks of the Labor Party. The play starts just before Question Time on 9 October 2012, moments before she is about the deliver one of the most memorable and hard-hitting speeches ever delivered in the Australian Parliament - and it goes on from there. 

Justine Clarke is stunning. Yes, this is the Justine Clarke from Home and Away and Play School. She embodies Gillard, playing with her accent - using her own moderate Australian accent, occasionally delving into Julia's distinctive nasal voice at times. Her costume is pretty simple. Flared tailored trousers and a shirt - with a jacket for effect every now and then. Clarke is not just a mimic, as her fabulous take off of both Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott goes to show. She embodies Julia - and it is wonderful to see. 

It all comes to a head near the end of the play, when Clarke expertly dons a red wig, and the well-known accent, and delivers the Misogyny Speech without missing a beat. 

She's incredible. I give them rarely, but this performance was worthy of the standing ovation she received from most of the audience. Funny the number of men still on their bums. 

Joanna Murray-Smith is one of Australia's leading playwrights. She's hit this one out of the park. Sarah Goodes direction on this occasionally incendiary, rather funny, though provoking play is peerless. The minimal set, which uses lights, projections and mirrors to great effect, is simple, but it only supports Clarke's amazing performance. 

This is one of the best plays to come out of this already good season at the MTC. 

Loved it. 

And if you can't remember what the Misogyny Speech is all about - here it is, set to music with a professional choir. Just magic. 



Thursday, June 13, 2024

It's Bridgerton Day .... Again

 You're getting no sense out of me today. 

At 5 pm I'll be logging off my computer, shoving on my pyjamas, and watching the second half of the third series of Bridgerton. 

I might have a gin and tonic too. 

Regardless, I'm not writing tonight. 

See you tomorrow. I'm choosing to go into my own little fantasy world tonight. 



Today's song:

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Naked

 If you want to feel naked, have your watch strap break. 

Yep, the trusty Apple Watch, which has sat on my wrist for four years, the watch strap broke. Broke to the point that even though it's can be fixed, it is falling apart. As somebody who likes a leather watch band, they do have the tendency to perish over a couple of years, and this one is nearly dead. I've had a hair tie in place of the little bit of leather that keeps the end of the watch strap in place. 

Why leather? I like the feel of leather. It's very much a sensory thing. I've also got a sensitivity to rubber and I really dislike the feel of metal straps, so leather it is. Leather straps are also a bit steam punk - edgy - classic - but they do get manky. 

Regardless, I've been walking around without a watch and I've felt naked. 

I have no idea if I closed my rings, something I've been taking pride in. (Your rings tell you if you standing, exercising and moving enough through the day).

                 
While exercising after work at the gym, I couldn't easily check on my heart rate. 

I tried to pay for my eyebrow waxing at Myer with my bare wrist, and then pay for lunch ten minutes later with it as well. Thankfully, I had my phone on me to pay for things. Then I remember the time when you had to get your wallet out and find a credit card - or heaven help us, cash. 

Regardless, I've felt naked for most of the day. Thankfully I have a spare watch strap at home - the old leather one will be given a decent send off, and I can stop having this pending sense of doom because my life is being disrupted by the small computer on my wrist not being there for a few hours. 




Tuesday, June 11, 2024

I can't be the only one.

 It is a truth universally acknowledged that a cat's mother, on a cold day, will take a trip down to KMart to buy her cat a new blanket. 

At $4.50, this is a steal. 

Will he be grateful for the purchase? Of course not.

Will he be kept a bit warmer? Yes. 


Will he see it as his divine right to be spoiled rotten? Of course. I am his slave after all. 

I think he looks happy enough on his throne, on his bed, under his blankie. 

Of course, he gets tucked in at regular intervals. 

I'm such a bad cat mother. The poor, half-starved, under-loved, neglected beast. You can see it in his eyes. Just dreadful. No consideration for the cat at all.


Today's song: 




Monday, June 10, 2024

Croque Monsieur

 As I do most weekends, I popped out to Blarney and Barney's today for a cup of tea this afternoon. On arrival, I found Blarney in the kitchen helping Chance, one of the twins, do a school project for Food Science. He wanted to make a Croque Monsieur

First of all, what is Food Science? What happened to cooking, or home economics as subjects, and when do you, as a year eight student make something as poncy as Croque Monsieur? Why not make a grilled cheese sandwich and be done with it. 

I have to admit that I love Croque Monsieur. I love the bechamel, mixed in with the Swiss and Gruyere, with the ham and Dijon mustard, which is then baked, then grilled. And unlike the Croque Madame, it doesn't have a fried egg on top of it. 

Croque Monsieur is a favourite thing of mine. 


Photo thanks to RecipeTinEats.com.au.

The again, I grew up a child of the seventies with something called Cheese Osh-Mi-Gosh, which was really just cheese sauce on toast. And Cheese Savouries, also known as Savoury Toast, which I have long, involved discussions about the addition of tomato sauce and whether the bacon goes on top or is put in the mixture, and how much is too much Worcestershire Sauce. (There is never too much Worcestershire Sauce). We also won't tell any god-fearing Tasmanian that the really just a bastardisation of Wesh Rarebit



Call me a cheese on toast fiend. I'll own it. 

Regardless, I watched as Chance turned his hand, under Blarney's make the bechamel. For a first effort it was excellent. I hate making anything like that - too much stirring.

Then they assembled the sandwich, spreading over the bechamel, then some Swiss Cheese, some ham, some Dijon mustard, which was found at the back of the fridge where all good mustards go to die, then the gruyere. The sandwich is then buttered, a grated cheddar and parmesan mix is sprinkled on top, and the whole thing is then baked for a few minutes before being put under the griller for a few minutes. 

To me this is bliss. 

To Blarney and Chance, it's not worth eating because there is mustard in it. 

"Are you going to at least try it?" I asked. 

"Suppose so."

"But it's one of my favourite things. How could you not love Croque Monsieur?"

"Mustard. Disgusting."

"Well why did you put it in? You can leave it out. And Dijon mustard is the mildest of all mustards. It just gives a bit of tang." I will say that being of Cornish stock, mustard, pickles and any sort of tangy condiment is just up my alley. 

Blarney and I have polar opposite palates. It's okay. 

Regardless, I was very happy. Both Blarney, Barney and Chance tried a bit of the Croque Monsieur and I got the rest. 

I left happy, signing off on Chance's Food Science assignment saying that his version was better than he ones you get at Patisserie Laurent.  Blarney said it would have been even better with ham off the bone. I reckon what he put up was ten out of ten.

It made for a good public holiday. 

When the family come back from their holidays, I think I might have to go over and cook them dinner to say thanks. 

Today's song: 

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Sunday Stealing: Quick Question

 After a red-eye flight yesterday morning, and an eleven hour sleep last night, I'm working out what time it is and where I am. It's a bit cooler than Darwin down here. Maybe that's why I slept so well last night. 

Now for this week's questions before I put myself back to bed. 

Questions, as always, come from Bev at Sunday Stealing

1.  Are you afraid of the dark?

No. Am I afraid of what goes on during the night, also no, but I know I am a lot more wary of walking the streets at night around here. In Darwin, I won't go out alone after dark. 

2.  Can you curl your tongue?

Yes. I have that genetic mutation. 

3.  Can you wiggle your ears?

No. 

4.  Did you ever participate in a talent show?

Not that I can ever remember. They're not big things over here. 

5.  Do you have any piercings or tattoos?

Yes. Both my ears are pierced and I have a small tattoo of the Chinese symbol for love on my hip. 

6.  Do you prefer Mac or PC?

As much as I love Apple products, I have only ever owned PCs. 

7.  Do you still have your wisdom teeth?

I have two of my wisdom teeth. The top and bottom ones on the right are gone, both taken out in the chair in my 20s in different sittings. The one at the bottom got a dry socket - some of the worst pain I've ever experienced. The other two are still there and are fine. 

8.  Do you watch cartoons?

Not now. I used to really like cartoons as a kit, and was a big fan of Rugrats and X-Men in the 90s when they played on telly on Saturday morning in England. It was perfect hangover viewing. 

9.  Have you ever been hospitalized?

Yes, but all were planned and it wasn't for long. I've had two overnight stays after having a gynae procedure and once when having my gall bladder out in the last five years. I'm lucky.

10. Have you had braces?

No. I missed out on that rite of passage. 

11. Were you ever a Girl or Boy Scout? (Or a brownie)

I was a brownie for about three months, just before we moved to the country, where they didn't have scout or girl guide troupes. 

12. What is one food you refuse to eat?

I can't think of anything I'd refuse to eat as I'm a pretty adventurous reader, though I think Century Eggs, a Chinese delicacy, would be pushing those limits. I'm also no fond of bananas or lasagne. The former is about the texture and that there is about a three-hour window when they are just right. I don't like the latter because I got really bad food poisoning from a lasagne many years ago and I've not been able to look it in the eye ever since. 

13. What's the most expensive item of clothing that you own?

I bought a wonderful silk kimono in Darwin that was a lot more than I pay for most clothes. I love it. It's an art piece. But it won't be worn until summer now. 

14. What's your favorite foreign food?

Define foreign. In Australia, food is food, and being a very multicultural place, we have all sorts of cuisine that makes it onto our tables. But here are a few things I like.

  • Indian food - Kadai Paneer
  • Vietnamese food - Bahn Mi (good bahn mi - pho is good too)
  • Japanese food: Any dessert with yuzu in it. Sake's deconstructed yuzu cheesecake is amazing. 
  • Spanish food: Patatas Bravas if you please. 
  • Chinese food: Yum cha (also known as dim sum)
  • French food: There's a long list here, but steak tartare and anything with French butter in it. Love French Butter. 
  • Greek food: Glactoboureko
  • I also love the spice palate of Middle Eastern food. 
  • And flat rice noodles that hail from Thailand and Indonesia
  • Oh and for Malaysian food, there's Char Kway Teow, and their satay's are to die for. 
  • In New Zealand there is this feijoa soda which is incredible....
Do you want me to go on?

15. Who's your favorite fictional character?

At the moment I have a little thing for Benedict Bridgerton. Just because...



Today's song: