Tuesday, 31 July 2012

The Review - Shop Around the Corner

Hi, this is Luke again. This time I thought I would review one of my favourite movies: The Shop around the Corner, which is one of the great romantic comedies of the golden era of Hollywood.
The Shop Around the Corner, which came out in 1940, stars the inimitable James Stewart, along with Margaret Sullavan and Frank Morgan. This film is rather unique among the Hollywood romances of its day in that it's not set in the USA or Paris. Rather, the story takes place in Budapest, Hungary. This is because the script was based on the 1937 play Parfumerie by Hungarian playwright Miklós László.

The story goes like this: Kralik (Stewart) is the head salesman at the leather goods shop owned by Mr Matuschek (Morgan). When a new girl named Klara (Sullavan) starts work, she and Kralik immediately take a strong dislike to each other. At the same time, both of them are falling for anonymous "pen friends" with whom they are corresponding by post. And the twist is... you guessed it... the anonymous friends are actually Kralik and Klara themselves. I won't spoil the movie by telling you how it turns out; you'll have to watch it yourself.

The Shop Around the Corner is ranked #28 on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Passions, and is listed in Time's All-Time 100 Movies. It led to a 1949 musical remake called In the Good Old Summertime, starring Judy Garland and Van Johnson (which sacrifices a lot of the depth of the original for feel-good enthusiasm). Many of you will know You've Got Mail, another variation on this story, with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan as the entangled protagonists. All the remakes borrow shamelessly from the original, but none can match its intelligent wit, superb characterisation, and amazing acting.

And now for some pictures:

Kralik: [asking Pirovitch about cost of living for married couple] Suppose a fellow gets an apartment with three rooms. Dining room, bedroom, living room.
Pirovitch: What do you need three rooms for? You live in the bedroom.
Alfred Kralik: Where do you eat?
Pirovitch: In the kitchen. You get a nice big kitchen.
Alfred Kralik: Where do you entertain?
Pirovitch: Entertain? What are you, an ambassador? Who do you want to entertain? Listen, listen, if someone is really your friend, he comes after dinner.

You may recognise Mr Matuschek as the Wizard of Oz.

Kralik: There might be a lot we don't know about each other. You know, people seldom go to the trouble of scratching the surface of things to find the inner truth.  
Klara: Well I really wouldn't care to scratch your surface, Mr. Kralik, because I know exactly what I'd find. Instead of a heart, a hand-bag. Instead of a soul, a suitcase. And instead of an intellect, a cigarette lighter... which doesn't work.

Kralik finds out Klara is his mysterious pen friend.

Here is the trailer for your enjoyment:

Now go watch it!

Monday, 30 July 2012

The Outing - The Midwinter Christmas

Apologies to everyone for the lull in blog writing. I've been really busy, but now I'm back with an entry on midwinter Christmas.

Okay, so I guess the title of this entry probably sounds a little strange to those who celebrate Christmas during winter. Actually, I believe the whole idea of a mid-year Christmas is only found in the southern hemisphere, since midsummer Christmas sounds completely ridiculous. But for us who miss out on a winter Christmas in December, it is quite nice to have all those things we enjoy during the festive season: roasts, pudding, mulled wine and roast vegetables, when the temperature is actually cold and they can warm you up.

Well, this is exactly what we did a few weekends ago. Luke and I were invited over to our dear friend Carolyn's place. It was such a lovely evening, and she and her flat mates put on such a spread. Unfortunately we didn't get too many photos, and those we did take are rather poor quality, but I thought I'd share them with you anyway. Only 5 months to go before the traditional Christmas, you know!

Roast pork with apple sauce, and beans with bacon.

Delicious roast potatoes and a special cauliflower cheese.

And this is what it looks like on your plate... yum!

To finish off, there's nothing like hot apple pie.

As you can clearly see, midwinter Christmases are really all about the food. ;)

Until next time :)

Monday, 23 July 2012

The Dress - Leather Roses

So when I was walking home the other night I saw a girl wearing a leather jacket and a rose-patterned skirt. I thought to myself: Wow, that combination looks pretty neat. The sweetness and girlishness of the floral pattern complemented the cool, edgy qualities of the leather jacket. And then I thought: Wait, I could probably do that outfit without buying a single thing. I like those moments, and my bank balance likes them too.

 Leather Jacket: Target
Good ol' Target. I bought this jacket back in 2008 after a rather dramatic hairstyle change, namely an asymmetrical platinum blonde cut with a blue fringe. Yeah I know, hard to believe yet true. 

 Skirt: Don't Ask Amanda
I got this skirt ages ago. I remember really liking the pattern and the fact that it was on sale. If my memory serves me correctly, I think I bought it at the General Pants Co.

 Boots: Sandler
 These boots are my winter staples. My mum bought them for me in 2009. I recently had to replace the soles because I had worn them that much! Great for walking and for rainy days. 

Until next time :)

Friday, 20 July 2012

Be Back Soon!

Hi all! Just a quick note to say I'm hitting the road for a few days. But don't worry, I'll be back next week.

Have a great weekend!

Until next time :)

The Verse - The Passover

This is Luke again, doing a guest entry while Hannah is away on a business trip. My Bible reading is progressing towards the end of the five books of Moses which make up the beginning of the Old Testament. In these books, continual reference is made to the annual feasts that God commanded Israel to keep. These occasions were far more than just holidays, however: their main purpose was to serve as pointers to the work of the Lord Jesus. 

The first and most important of Israel's national feasts was the Passover. It was first instituted in Exodus chapter 12, when the Israelites were still in Egypt. So here is Exodus 12:1-13 (ESV), which gives the reason for the Passover and how it was to be observed:
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers' houses, a lamb for a household. And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight.
"Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts. And you shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord's Passover. 1For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.

The film The Prince of Egypt (which is excellent, by the way) depicts the events of the first Passover. On the 14th day of the 1st month, each family among the Israelites killed a lamb at twilight, smeared its blood on their lintels and doorposts, and later ate the meat with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, as God had commanded. On that night, God sent the tenth plague on the Egyptians - the death of their firstborn sons and animals, which caused Pharaoh to release the Israelites. The lamb's blood that was on the Israelites' doors saved them from this plague. God saw the blood and "passed over" them - hence the name Passover.

What was the purpose of this ceremony? Why couldn't God just have passed over the Israelites without the need for sacrificing lambs and putting blood on the doors? There were two main reasons. The Passover feast was to be celebrated every year as a perpetual statute in Israel, to remind the people of how God had brought them out of Egypt into the land He had promised them (Deuteronomy 16:3). This memorial would help the Israelites to love and obey God, as they remembered all He had done for them.

But there was another, even more important reason for the Passover ceremony. In 1 Corinthians 5:7, Paul says that "Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed." In other words, the Passover pointed forwards to the saving work of Jesus Christ, who sacrificed Himself through dying on the cross in order to make complete atonement for our sins. Just as the lamb's blood on the doorposts saved the Israelites from the plague against Egypt, so Christ's blood, applied to us through faith, washes us clean from sin and saves us from God's judgement against sinners. Christ had to die as a sacrifice because while we are sinners, He is holy and sinless, so God is able to accept His death as payment for our sins. In order to be saved from the penalty for our sin, therefore, we only need to repent and believe in Jesus Christ. That is, we must turn from our sin and trust in Him.

Jesus is the true Passover lamb - so it's no accident that He was crucified during the Passover period. The Last Supper, which Jesus ate with His disciples, was actually a Passover supper. During that meal, Jesus used the unleavened bread as a symbol of His body, and the wine as a symbol of His blood, which was "shed for many for the remission of sins" (Matthew 26:28). So just as the Passover looked forward to Jesus Christ, the communion (or Lord's Supper) which was instituted that night looks back in remembrance of Christ's atoning work. Jesus is at the centre of both ceremonies.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The Review - Snow Cake

I have a confession to make: I love Alan Rickman. It’s only recently that I’ve been able to come out of the “Potions closet”, as it were, and admit to this. After all, if you said at high school that you thought Professor Snape was the best character in Harry Potter, and that Alan Rickman’s voice was actually kind of sexy, you would definitely be in for a good 6 months' worth of teasing.

To be honest though, I still can’t pinpoint what I love about Rickman. Undoubtedly he is a very talented actor, and there is certainly something very distinctive about his voice. Does anyone else agree with me on this one, or am I out on my own?

Anyway, I saw a fabulous movie starring him and Sigourney Weaver (also another great actor). This film is called Snow Cake and it came out in 2006. It’s quite similar to Lars and the Real Girl, as the story concerns accepting people who don’t quite fit society's typical models rather than trying to change them.

The film starts with Alex (Alan Rickman), a very sober, no-nonense, reticent gentleman, giving a ride to free-spirited and outgoing hitchhiker Vivian (Emily Hampshire). Tragedy strikes when a truck crashes into their car, killing Vivian and leaving Alex with just a nose bleed. Alex visits Vivian’s mother Linda (Sigourney Weaver) to apologise, even though the accident wasn’t his fault, but finds that Linda doesn’t show any signs of grief. He discovers this is because Linda suffers from autism. Alex agrees to stay to help Linda out and attend the funeral. What develops is a very sweet and moving film about finding friendship in unexpected places, and how we can all learn something from each other no matter how different we are.

Linda: Do people like you Alex?
Alex: Not much, no.
Linda:  I'm not surprised. It's because those glasses don't look right on your face, you have a long face and those glasses make you look shifty.
Alex: Really?
Linda: Yes.

Linda: B-A-A-N-G.
Alex: You can't have two A's in bang.
Linda: In Comic Book Word Scrabble, you can. You can have three A's if you want.

Here is the trailer for your enjoyment:

Until next time :)

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The Verse - Psalm 19:1 - 4

The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
    and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
    whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
    and their words to the end of the world.

Psalm 19:1-4  ESV

On Sunday, 15th July 2012, the Southern night sky was filled with the dazzling and spectacular light display called the Aurora Australis, or Southern Lights. Watching this clip made me think of the above Bible verse. When we tiny human beings look up at the sky and see the indescribable displays of art and beauty there, does it not naturally lead us to think there MUST be a God? There must be some kind of creative and intelligent mind behind these beautiful works that no master artist could even begin to paint.

One thing I love about God (among countless things) is that He loves beauty, like we humans do. In fact, He created us to love beauty. God reveals this beauty through His creation and the wonderful design of the world in order to point us to Him, that we might know Him. As the verse above says: "The heavens declare the glory of God". Creation exists so that we might know God and know that He made this universe. He created us to appreciate beauty in order that we would love the beauty He fashioned, and that His creation would ultimately lead us to the beauty of the cross. Jesus entered His creation as a humble baby, led a sinless life, and then took the wrath that we deserved by dying on the cross, so that we might be reconciled to God. Ultimately, then, the most beautiful thing in the world is the blood-stained cross on which Jesus died.

Case in point:

Saturday, 14 July 2012

The Dress - Missing Summer

Somehow or other, this winter feels so much colder than the previous one. I mean, was it really this chilly last year? Yes, I know there are a lot of places in the world far colder than Wellington, but I don't care. I miss summer - that is, the week we get of it. So recently I found myself daydreaming abut sunshine, cotton dresses and evening sun. I also managed to dig up a hitherto unpublished outfit post on a summer dress. Enjoy!

  Dress: Thrifted
I found this dress in a small shop off Cuba Street. I think it was a shop selling clothes that had been sitting on the racks too long in the vintage shop Missy's Room. Anyway, I immediately liked the pattern, but on closer inspection discovered that there were these really strange rips in it. The price was $20, but when I pointed out to the lady behind the counter that it needed some repairs, she sold it to me for $5. Bargain. Then my oh-so-wonderful sister-in-law Rebekah sewed up the rips for me, and hemmed it to a length which wasn't so daggy.

Cardigan: Frutti
Have I mentioned that I love this shop? Luke gave me a voucher for this shop the Christmas before last, and I bought this teal cardigan with it. Unfortunately, I don't wear it as much as I should, but I love how it matches this dress. 

And look - pockets!

 Shoes: Clarks

Somehow, I don't think I've posted about these shoes yet. I bought them a couple of months ago. They were $279 reduced to $179. I love the detailing, and they are SO comfortable. These shoes look great with summer dresses but also work nicely with winter shades. The colour was called "mushroom", which I thought was quite apt - and besides that, I really love mushrooms.

Until next time :)

Thursday, 12 July 2012

The Song - Chong Bai

Okay, it's time for a different kind of song. As some of you know, I studied Chinese at university and lived in Taiwan for most of a year, where I met my husband (who is not Taiwanese, just in case you made that assumption). Anyway, while there I was introduced to KTV, also known as karaoke. I found learning Chinese songs was a great way to learn new vocab, plus I love music, as you've probably gathered.

Although my Chinese seems to be diminishing every day, I can still sing most of a few Chinese songs. One in particular was called 崇拜 Chong Bai (meaning "Worship"), by the very famous singer 梁靜茹 Liang Jing Ru, whose English name is Fish. I still think it's a lovely tune, and it became my karaoke song in Taiwan. To help those who don't speak Chinese, I thought I'd be really lazy and just put the lyrics into Google Translate. I have to say the result shows that sometimes things can be really lost in translation...

I love these lines especially:

"I thought it impossible, not impossible."
"So there is no love for love, their own existence in the outside of you..." (Awww, poor unloved love.)

Your attitude, your favor
I exist in your presence
Do you think love is to be loved?
You have squandered my worship

I live, I love, I do not care
Beloved to the crazy, hate to forget just fine
Can really pity
Finally happy how you dare not do?

I thought we were different from the others
I thought it impossible, not impossible

Kite, wind
Dolphins, sea
I exist in my presence
So I can understand, so leave
So there is no Love for Love
Their own existence in the outside of you...

 Until next time :)

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

The Review - The Court Jester

Time to review one of my all-time favourite movies. The colourful, fun-loving, comical, musical, witty, medieval, romantic, dramatic, 1953 CLASSIC… The Court Jester. (In case any of you are a fan of Movies You May Have Missed, that was my little tribute to them… and if you don’t know who they are, then you should check them out. This is two Canadians doing reviews of awesomely obscure movies that somehow bypassed the world’s attention, and it's very, very fun, although sometimes a little rude. It was introduced to me by my oh-so-wonderful Canadian friend Claire… anyway, I digress.)

So when I was about 10, my dad introduced me to The Court Jester, and I immediately fell in love with Danny Kaye. I mean, how could you not? He’s just so lovable! From the twinkle in his eye, to his perfect comic timing. On top of that, he is what I call a “Quadruple Threat” in theatre terms: not only does he present a triple threat by his ability to sing, dance, and act, but he is also hilariously funny.
Actually, an interesting titbit is that when Luke and I were on one of our first pseudo-dates (i.e. pre-dating hanging out), we were talking about our favourite movies, and I mentioned this very film. Luke responded, “I love Danny Kaye,” and from that moment on I knew it was meant to be! I mean, how many 20-somethings know who Danny Kaye is?! Answer – not many at all.
The plot is quite complicated for a family movie. Set in medieval England, it concerns an attempt to dispose of an illegitimate King and restore the rightful heir (who is currently a baby) to the throne. Kaye plays Hubert Hawkins, an ex-carnival entertainer, whose brother is the famous Black Fox (a kind of Robin Hood send-up). A plan is made to kill the King by planting spies, and as luck would have it, Hawkins manages to get into the royal castle in the guise of the King’s new jester. After this, madness and mayhem and much hilarity ensue. I think I’ll leave it there, and say it is most definitely worth a watch.

The Court Jester, which cost $4 million, was the most expensive movie ever made at the time it came out. It bombed at the box office, only bringing in $2.2 million. Despite this, it is now widely regarded as a comedy classic, and appeared on a list of 100 top comic films in 2000.

 Hawkins: I'd like to get in, get on with it, get it over with, and get out. Get it?
Ravenhurst: Got it.
Hawkins: Good.

Hawkins: What manner of man is Giacomo? Ha ha! I shall tell you what manner of man is he. He lives for a sigh, he dies for a kiss, he lusts for the laugh, ha! He never walks when he can leap! He never flees when he can fight (thud) oop! He swoons at the beauty of a rose. And I offer myself to you, all of me. My heart. My lips. My legs. My calves. Do what you will - my love endures. Beat me. Kick me. (kiss, kiss) I am yours.

Hawkins: The pellet with the poison's in the flagon with the dragon; the vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true. 

Until next time :)