Em Reads: Staff Dining

This story has a beautiful and strong narrative voice which I think the other story lacks. However, perhaps because of my literal understanding, I find the ending
to be quite confusing; are they his family or literal owls? I suppose I believe
he’s just carrying the metaphor - I think he’s talking about his literal
family. The voice is real and personable and I liked it - it made me more
interested in what was being said.

Em Reads: Questions of Travel - Michelle de Krester

I didn’t really care for this. I found the narrative style confused and the plot all but invisible. I didn’t understand any of the character’s motivations or movements, I wasn’t really sure if Laura was the man’s daughter or mistress, or what she was doing in Italy, who Vivienne was and why she wasn’t in her apartment with Laura. It seemed to be a snapshot of a life without context, which made it rather unenjoyable to read, in my opinion.

Em Reads: This Side of Paradise

I really hated this book, which was a huge disappointment to me as I loved The Great Gatsby. I hated Amory Blaine. Hated him. He was everything I hate about rich white men and it was a chore to have to read about him. God he was so annoying. But I loved the way Fitzgerald wrote the latter half of the novel, changing the narrative styles and focusing less of Amory. That being said, I was somewhat disappointed I didn’t get to read what happened to Amory during the war but yeah. It took me two full months to read this novel. It was a hard slog.

Em Watches: Wolf Creek 2

Australian cinema, why do you let me down so often?

I was so pumped for this movie. I wanted it to be brilliant. I wanted a brilliant cat-and-mouse chase between Mick and some helpless tourists (that I cared about). I wanted to be creeped out by John Jarrett’s performance all over again. I wanted to wince in pain. I wanted a fucking conclusion to Wolf Creek 1.

Did I get any of that?

No.

What I got was an hour and a half of Mick killing random people and saying “witty” one-liners which were neither witty nor disturbing. They were just bad. I should’ve known what this film would be like from the prologue. Seeing Mick that early in the film was a dead give-away that we’re not supposed to care about anyone but Mick. Weirdly enough, they attempted to justify the murder of the police men (they were “bad” cops doing a “bad” thing and therefore of course Mick was going to kill them) but doing that created an uncomfortable reality for this film; either Mick is a crazed serial killer (and then we didn’t really need the whole anti-foreigners spiel he gave) or he just kills people he deems as bad (which not only begs the question as to why he went after Ben in the first film (are all tourists bad or just foreign ones?) but also creates an uncomfortable ‘Australia is for the whites’ mentality which I actually found more disturbing than the gratuitous violence.

All that being said, this film pretty much invalidates the first film as it straddles the fence between these two realities; yes Mick is a crazed serial killer but ALSO yes he only goes after what he perceives to be ‘bad’ people. You can’t have both and still have a decent film, ok? You need to pick a side. Either make him the depraved serial killer you crave and do away with the bullshit white Australia subplot of Mick’s character, or make him the racist old murdering asshole he was in the first film. Along the line of that second reality, almost every murder of the film would’ve had a reason in his eyes, but the ‘he’s a serial killer look at him kill the police’ prologue kinda fucked that up. I don’t think Wolf Creek 1 Mick would’ve done it.

Visually, just like the first film, this was stunning. You can’t shoot the Australian landscape wrong. The running-the-kangaroos-over scene was overkill, but visually I know why they did it. The car chase scenes were very Hollywood-blockbuster but still quite cool and I liked how they almost always introduced Mick swathed in shadow.

Now, on to the backpackers. I never picked up the girl’s name, which I think goes to show just how much we were supposed to care about these guys. This was Mick’s movie; nothing more. They were just fodder. I was incredibly disappointed just how quickly the first two were disposed of (should’ve known the girl wouldn’t live through it though). And I just felt cheated by the entire character of Paul. He had great scenes and sequences (him hiding in that house with that sweet old couple broke my heart in so many ways - watching him hide behind the china cabinet D:) but then came what I will refer to as the ‘tie me kangaroo down sport’ scene. Jesus fucking christ on a cracker. I was ready to walk out of the movie at that point. Mick and Paul are having a sing-along and a drink and a little history quiz? You’ve got to be fucking joking. But that wasn’t even the worst part about all that. THE WORST PART WAS THAT MICK JUST LET PAUL GO? THAT MAKES ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE IN EITHER REALITY. WHY WOULD A SERIAL KILLER LET HIS VICTIM GO? WHY WOULD A RACIST OLD ASSHOLE LET A “POMMY BASTARD” GO WHEN WC1 SHOWED HIM MURDERING 2 OF THEM IN EXPLICIT DETAIL? THIS WAS THE PART THAT GOT ME SO PROFOUNDLY PISSED. AND THEN THAT LITTLE EPILOGUE THAT SAYS HE’S NOW A PERMANENT RESIDENT IN A PSYCH WARD? FUCK YOU, CINEMA AUSTRALIA. FUCK YOU ROUGHLY WITH A CACTUS.

Em Plays: Dragon Age 2

Let’s just say, right from the get go, this was a disappointing game. I love  Dragon Age: Origins. It’s a brilliant game. But following it up with DA2 is just a let down. There are only a few engaging aspects of the game, and that’s the fact that Hawke speaks, and your companions. And the companions are the only reasons I would replay the game.

After being able to explore Ferelden on a grand scale, being mostly confined to the city of Kirkwall made me a bit claustrophobic. Also, the reused backgrounds drove me insane. Everything looked the same and I don’t understand why. DAO had so much more unique scenery and more settings, you think they would’ve been able to make a few more different caves and mines to liven things up a bit, especially considering that they obviously weren’t paying for an engaging plot. Because the plot was pretty shit. You spend the entire time running around doing chores for other people. There is no greater cause for at least 2/3rds of the game, and when the grand MAGES VERSES TEMPLARS thing finally happened, I was sick of the both of them.

The companions were the best thing about this game. While I don’t think they held a candle to the original group of companions, they were all unique enough and their stories engaging enough to keep me interested. And Fenris completely won me over. Good gods, what a fine elf that boy is. But I was incredibly disappointed with Anders. Having played DA: Awakening, I liked Anders and I liked Justice but putting the two together really put me off. He was boring, preachy and every time I had him in my party, he set about insulting my beautiful elven boyfriend. The mage can fuck right off. That being said, I am determined to romance him one playthough, just so I can try and understand what the internet sees in him, but I’ll have a hard time not putting the moves on Fenris cause he’s just so perfect.

Finally, I liked the new fighting mechanisms but the new inventory and the inability to customise my companions armour really pissed me off. I found it incredibly hard to understand and inconvenient. And while I didn’t completely understand how the abilities and stuff worked, I did find myself using them more and I did enjoy it, so that’s something.

All in all, DA2 is a good game, but that’s about it. In almost every respect it pales in comparison to DAO and, honestly speaking, I’m only ever going to replay it so I can romance the companions.

Em Watches: The Book Thief

Ok, this movie ruined me. I’d read the book before but I didn’t remember it being so sad! But, first, to basics.

This was such a well made film, apart from one aspect which really annoyed me. Decide if you want your film to be in German or English and STICK TO IT. When it first started and they were speaking German with subtitles, I was really excited. But then they did that weird ‘mostly English but with German accents and a few German words thrown in here and there’ thing and it really irritated me after a while. And yeah, I could speak a little German so I knew a few of the words they were saying but god help anyone who didn’t. However, apart from this, I thought everything else was excellent. Brilliant acting and great casting choices (Roger Allam as Death!!). I started crying once Max left and I just kept crying. No film has touched me so beautifully before.

I highly recommend watching this movie, but bring tissues.

Em Watches: The Wolf of Wall Street

I’m so conflicted about this film. On one hand, it was an incredibly well made film. The directing was good, the script was good, the acting was excellent. But I have never hated a character as much as I hated Jordan and I’ll admit that I found several scenes quite triggering. I fail to see how this is a comedy of any kind, because no one in the cinema I was in laughed at anything. I, in fact, sat in horrified silence for much of the film, with the exclusion of the scenes that induced a minor panic attack. I kinda wish I had some warning, cause I would’ve liked to be able to prepare myself. The movie felt very long. It was a 3 hour film, but it felt like it could’ve been cut in half without losing anything. I was also very disappointed with the ending, cause Jordan was such a scumbag and I wanted to leave the cinema but I forced myself to sit there on the assumption that the film was going to end with him getting what’s coming to him. He didn’t, of course, and my outrage only grew once I found out that Jordan Whatever was a real guy and by then I was ready to stab that asshat in the face.

But yeah. Overall it was a very well made film. I just won’t ever watch it again.