27 Apr 2014

Thoughts on current events

This week national politics dominated discussion amongst my friends and co-workers.  As I live in the capital, and work for the government by day, it is always a frequent topic of conversation. But recent events have come to the fore among my friends and colleagues.What I am talking about is the Labor heavy weight Shane  Jones selling out to the opposition for a flash title, and a sack o' cash.

I have heard many theories over the past week. Some have argued that he had no choice, that the actions of the current leadership are basically giving the 2014 election away. Maybe David Cunliffe has done a deal too? Maybe that is why he is acting as a whiny ignoramus to scuttle his own parties chances? Or maybe he is just a bit of a tool?

Or maybe Jones was bitter after losing the leadership bid to the better man, well to David Cunliffe anyway.  In my very humble opinion Grant Robertson is the better man than both of them, but I am don't get to make these sorts of decisions.

Some have questioned Jones's recent behavior? Slagging off  his party's closest allies the Greens seemed at the time very counter productive to their chances of getting into parliament. But in hindsight could this be a bit of vindictiveness on his part? Deliberately sabotaging this important relationship for the party that did not want him as a leader.

Also, his recent publicity regarding Countdown. Basically he was showing off, upstaging Cunliffe while exhibiting his charisma and strength to tackle important national issues. Until his resignation he had certainly been a prominent  leader.

Regardless of the many theories I have heard, Jones will be gone before the next election, and while this is probably a good thing in the long run, in the short run it has further damaged Labour's chances for the election this year. Some in Labour appear to be distancing themselves from Jones, but by doing so they are also distancing those people he appealed to in the Party. Many don't care much for Cunliffe or his performance of late, and Jones' exodus appears to have sealed his party's fate.I know this because friends of mine who are Labour supporters are exceptionally disillusioned. Some have even debated if it is even worth voting?

Hunter S. Thompson said " It ain't much, but it's the only weapon we have against the Greedheads."

“Anybody who thinks that 'it doesn't matter who's President' has never been Drafted and sent off to fight and die in a vicious, stupid war on the other side of the world--or been beaten and gassed by Police for trespassing on public property--or been hounded by the IRS for purely political reasons--or locked up in the Cook County Jail with a broken nose and no phone access and twelve perverts wanting to stomp your ass in the shower. That is when it matters who is President or Governor or Police Chief. That is when you will wish you had voted.” Hunter S. Thompson.

But what do I think?

I think that you should go to The Lego Movie!

No really it's awesome It is so awesome it has a song about how awesome it is.

If you are looking for a family movie that will appeal to both adults and children this should be on the top of your list. Sure you can argue that it is 100 minute advertisement for a toy, but it is so entertaining I don't care. And you probably won't either.

The story is about Emmit, a normal everyday construction worker who finds a strange object and is swept up into an adventure that threatens his entire world.  On his adventures he encounters Batman, Superman, a robotic cyborg pirate, Gandalf and many others.

The Lego Movie has a great cast, great story and is actually funny. Batman is hilarious, and a complete jerk.
Eight Lego Monkeys from me.

Or, if you want something slightly different try Mr Peabody and Sherman.

Filled with puns, history and half the cast of the TV show Modern Family, Mr Peabody and Sherman is slightly more standard fair for a holiday film. These characters are mostly unfamiliar to us, coming from an American TV show Rocky and His Friends. But unlike many films such as  The Shadow where the original show did not have a sizable exposure outside the US,  Mr Peabody and Sherman stands on its own merits.
Ty Burrell is great as Mr  Peabody, and as a family we enjoyed travelling through time with them on their adventures. It is a sentimental story, but still enjoyable.

Six time travelling monkeys from me.

You are probably still wondering about my take on the current political situation?  Well I think people should vote. I also think that a lot of people have firm ideas about policies and politics.

But this is not a political Blog and while you may have some pretty firm opinions about some of the political ideas espoused here, I never said they were mine. There are dozens and dozens of blogs devoted to politics, and if you are interested check them out.

But I am just messing with you.

What I think is that you should take the time be with your family especially during the holidays. I assure you the dramas of the Beehive will be there in the morning.

25 Apr 2014

Lest we forget

This is my granddad's war record.

I never met him, but through my mothers stories he was good farmer, who worked the land well and was friendly with Local Iwi. A soldier and a gentleman. A good husband, and father. He was the best of men.

A soldier with his best mate before Passchendale

We read about the war, but we do not really know. We watch films and documentaries, but we cannot really know. 

I travelled to Gallipoli, and waited until dawn with my mates. As the sun slowly rose it revealed the gradient on those hills by the Turkish beach. As the slopes  grew light, my heart grew heavy as I realised how hard it would have been to make any head way up those hills even now, let alone during a battle.  But you can only really  imagine. 

Private George Clow spent two years in Europe fighting with his mates. He left home a British citizen and came home a Kiwi. 

I am exceptionally proud of my granddad and what he went through. But I am also proud of the man he was despite what he went through. 

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them." 

I dedicate this post to my mum.

21 Apr 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Director: Wes Anderson
Writers: Wes Anderson. Based on the works of Stefan Zweig

Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, Saoirse Ronan, Adrien Brody, Edward Norton, Willem Dafoe and many many more. 

Wes Anderson is a highly talented man who makes wonderfully quirky films. They are not for everyone however, and while he has his devoted fans there are many who find his work quirky to the point of pretentiousness.

Anderson's latest story takes us to 1930's Europe, between the wars, and to the country of Zubrowka.  In the mountains of  Zubowka lies the the fabulous Grand Budapest hotel, a luxurious hideaway for the elite of Europe. The Hotel is run by the enigmatic M. Gustave. The story is told by Zero, M. Gustave's Lobby Boy, protege and friend. After M. Gustave is accused of murdering one of the regular guests of the hotel and a very "close" friend, an adventure full of daring escapes, murder, romance, villains, skiing and pastries begins.

Ensue Hyjinx!

Anderson manages to attract his regular favourite ensemble of stars and many more. Certainly more than I care to mention here. But Ralph Fienne's performance as the elegant and efficient M. Gustave is maybe not his greatest, but certainly his most enjoyable. Fienne's comic timing with co-star Tony Revolori is perfect. They have a relationship which is naturally affectionate, but also strictly master and apprentice.

The adventures of M. Gustave and his lobby boy hark back to a civilized age. But a civilization which is declining due to the brutal face of war. That makes it sound a lot darker than this movie is.

The Grand Budapest Hotel  reminded me strongly of 1930's cinema. Anderson is a talented auteur director who manages to capture the feel of a certain period in time. Not the real time mind, but the world as a nostalgic Hollywood saw it.  Moonrise Kingdom  had a wonderful sixties feel to it, and Anderson has captured the sumptuous romance of 30's film here.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is a magical farce typical of Wes Anderson's sense of humour. Ludicrous, sweet and surprising all at once.  It is a great holiday movie, and if you are a fan then you will love it.

8 mad Monkeys.