Amy's Paradise

This blog may be the ramblings of an Irish Dancer in Australia who writes stories too…

Rise of the Guardians (Review)

Do you believe in Jack Frost? You should. All myths and legends of old should be believed in for the survival of children’s innocence, which in today’s world is shrinking. By the man in the moon, Jack Frost is appointed a guardian, and just in time too, as the boogeyman has taken it upon himself to inject fear into children’s nightmares. Along side the Guardian’s Santa, Sandman, Easter Bunny and the tooth Fairy, they battle for the safety of children around the world, but as the light of children’s imagination and dreams dim into darkness, will the guardians rise up against fear?

Rise of the guardians is a compelling good-verse-evil film that works along the scenes of The Nightmare before Christmas, Brave and Coraline where the element of fear through monsters dig deep in all viewers of any age, but it teaches us to overcome our fears. Believe that they are there, but do not succumb to them. If we can believe in ourselves and in basic good, we can fear nothing. The guardians magically protect us from these fears as children so once older and learn the morals of society we can accomplish anything we desire.

The film collects humour for both children and adults with the bubbly tooth fairy, the brusque Russian Santa, the stubby cute mute sandman and the crikey-saying Easter Bunny. We all know the legends, essentially, and the film captures them with new imagination for children. It also introduces an unknown legend of Jack Frost – a lost soul in the legend circle for who is usually shown being quite evil in such films and books like Santa Clause 2, the Graveyard Book and along with the Snow Queen legend, without much history behind his legend at all. I’m glad he’s been made into a hero with a background and I commend the Guardian series creator, William Joyce for his imagination in capturing our wish to believe in these legends again.

The animation is absolutely superb. It keeps getting better and better each time I see a Dreamworks Animation and in 3D (which isn’t at all distracting like it use to be) the characters become almost life like which makes it engaging to watch.
Another magical part of the film was the magic and how they were transferred onscreen, the nightmares, the sandman’s sand and Jack Frost’s power of frost on the windows were perfect and I wished frost moved like it did in real life, in perfect spirals and not crackling.
The cast was basically perfect. I love there being two Australians in the main lead, Hugh Jackman (Easter Bunny) and Isla Fisher (The Tooth Fairy). Also there was Alec Baldwin (Santa), Jude Law (Boogeyman) and Chris Pine as Jack Frost.

Though being Australian, having the Easter Bunny with an Australian accent bothered me. Why? Because I’m a firm believer of the Easter Bilby so it twinged at me while watching the film. But I’m glad that the Easter Bunny didn’t go overboard with the Aussie ocker vernacular like most films do. It’s cringe worthy to Australians and shows us in a poor light (i think) to potential tourists. Luckily, he had only a few crikey’s in there, but I wished it was only one. The word ‘bloody’, he can use till the end of time, but crikey is rarely said here in Australia, except in extreme circumstances, but even then – no. Though it didn’t distract the wonderfulness of the film, in fact some of the Aussie jokes caused me to laugh, even if a bit cliched and forced.

But if dialogue is not your problem this film is a fun adventure showing us the side of the guardians that they need us to believe in them for them to protect our hopes and dreams and this film even makes most adults wish they were children again to believe in the legends of old. I sure do. It’s a entertaining film to take the kids to see over the holidays and, therefore, I cannot wait for the sequel.

9 out of 10.

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What a great idea! Put more cafes in the suburbs…

More indépendant cafés are opening up in the suburbia, which I think is great. We only see the chain coffee places (like Starbucks and Zarraffas) in the cities or along main roads or in deep industrial areas for the workers, but I’ve recently discovered two cafes just around the corner from me – one if I go East from my place and one west, which is great. I’ve driven past them, but they never warranted a looksie.

Until this week when I was getting seriously bored with my run track along the Kedron Brook, which I live right next to, so I’m never to far away from nature, but still in just the outer CBD of Brisbane. The council call it bush in the suburbs, which I love as we have galahs, rosellas, lorikeets and sometimes corollas and cockatoos. But running the same track everyday can really get boring over time so I thought of trying suburb streets for my new route. Put some hills in my routine and I found my run so much more enjoyable. And I made my route so that one of the coffee shops – Brothers Espresso (On Days Road, Grange) was at the end, so it was like a reward at the end of my run. I’ve been there twice and it’s always filled with locals who walk there for breakfast or lunch. They make pretty cool stuff and most of it is organic and it’s connected to a podiatry/shoe store. All I’ve had is a small skinny mocha, but the stuff on their breakfast and lunch menu looks pretty yummy – tomato and smoke paprika soup, organic tuna, salads and toasted subs and the staff are really friendly. But as I’ve just been exercising I only carry small change and while looking rather sweaty, I think it would be rather awkward, but maybe once I get use to it I’ll change my mind. Plus I’m also on a strict diet at the moment.

The other place which I intend to try is on the other side of the brook, just a small bridge away. It’s an Indian food place called Mistress of Spice (Thistle Street, Gordon Park). Driving past I noticed no one ever in there, but when they started selling coffee it’s always packed with people. I always see mothers with their children after they’ve been running or out to feed the ducks down at the brook having coffee, so I plan on going there next when I need a change of scenery.

But we need more independent cafes about in the suburbs. It’s a place where the locals can get to know the locals while having a nice coffee and lunch and promoting an independent entrepreneur rather than the big chains (which I’m not dissing as when I’m in town on Saturdays I frequently get a Starbucks frappaccino). What would be really good if a second hand bookstore with attached cafe opened up really close by. Then I’d be in heaven as we only have two secondhand bookstores left in the whole of Brisbane that I know of. So if your suburb doesn’t have a cafe near by start one up, I think they’re a great idea! You’ll be the hit of the suburb!

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Where have all the Good Girls gone?

Katy Perry writes her songs from real-life experience and ‘Part of Me’ is the new unsubtle break-up single from Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection… she is in the midsts of divorcing from Russell Brand (even though this song supposedly isn’t about Brand as the demo’s been around a while, it just makes it convenient then doesn’t it?). Unfortunately, ‘Part Of Me’ was released so soon that it has become part of the generic stock of pop singles. It’s catchy, but bland. When I first heard it I had to think that it wasn’t one of her other songs with a different title. I downloaded it and listened to it closer, hearing that she was going to write about her life as Mrs. Katy Brand in the her new singles from the new special edition of her latest album and the lyrics are commendable. They are strong, well written lyrics. But the actual music… well there isn’t any really… Just synthesisers, drum beats… nothing much there. It’s just the same through out, no variation throughout the whole song. Sounds like she’s singing over the instrumentals of ‘The One That Got Away’, her last number 1 single.

I think she wanted to release something to get away from the failed marriage fiasco that she didn’t take the time to actually really listen to her single and produce a single that she could have, like she use to with ‘Teenage Dream’ or ‘Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)’ or ‘Peacock’. Those songs were the fun loving Katy Perry that we all know and love… I know she’s gone through a lot (or it could be just good PR spin) and she writes about it… that’s great! A great way to get through issues and to make number 1 hits, but it’s better when she takes the time to perfect it to something memorable, whereas this one will be thrown into the old hit pile that was number one at some point.

This is where Lady Gaga takes the cake, she takes her time with her singles and releases those she seems worthy for her fans to hear. She goes in overdrive to perfect a song and music video. These two artists are my top favourite, even though they’re complete opposites, well, they use to be. Lady Gaga was the grungy daring fashion pop star, whereas Katy Perry was the good cotton candy with a bit of sass pop star.

Katy Perry - 'Part Of Me'

But now Katy poses really grungy with the short blonde hair, no smile, with Gaga style apparel, not the cute adorable brightly coloured Perry that I know her for. The same happened with Rihanna. Sort of. I guess she was already trying to change her image with album Good Girl Gone Bad. But that was still had some really fun tracks. I read somewhere that this is the Gaga effect, but it isn’t really. Lady Gaga wasn’t the original. There was Madonna twenty years earlier. Gaga wasn’t grungy originally, she was just a debutant pop star with some fashionable trends, but when you look back at the ‘Just Dance’ video, she isn’t really all that different to all the other pop stars. She didn’t get grungy until she had a fan base where she could explore and show off her far-fetched fashion ideas. It’s all recycled from Madonna’s era. Gaga’s seen as the bad girl of the music world who dares and challenges the world with her fashion choices. All the pop stars follow this grungy take on the music world after an event in their life in which they have to show the world that they’re strong and won’t take anything lying down. Gaga had trouble with weight and was bullied when she was younger (this I can relate to), Rihanna’s event with Brown. Perry’s divorce.

I use to be Rihanna’s number one fan. I use to be Rihanna and Chris Brown’s number one fan until the very sad incident that happened a few years ago. Now… I don’t listen to Chris Brown… At all! He’s tattooed and completely off putting. And I occasionally download Rihanna songs because they’re catchy, but they are too dark… too much sex and drugs involved. Those songs turn me off… I guess because I cannot relate to them.

Rihanna changed after that incident, I guess it would change you after something like that happening to you (I couldn’t imagine, so terrible and sad). So she had to show the world that she was still the strong woman she was and that no one could bring her down, not even Brown. But also she has turned down her image as a good role model (this is going into Miley Cyrus territory, lets not go there shall we?). I know there are dark sides to being famous, but when I idolise someone I want to see them in good light. Sort of like Selena Gomez or Jessica Alba. They’re usually written about in good light in the tabloids or newspapers. But unfortunately most artists want to shake that disney image and show their bad side. I guess it shows the world that they’re not perfect. And it limits them I guess always being good all the time.

Thing is, if I was famous, I’d want to portray that Disney Princess image. What’s wrong being a good role model?

Whereas there are artists who are still the bright and bubbly pop stars that we know and love like Beyonce, P!NK (not quite so bubbly), Adele and Florence and the Machine. Please don’t change!

I am really hoping Katy Perry gets out of the slump of this whole fiasco with Brand because I don’t want to get disappointed with yet another artist whom I am a devoted fan. I’m wishing Katy will become the bright bubbly artist she once was and hopes she does finds happiness with someone special.

Copyright Amy Watson 2012

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There Once was a Blue Dragon that had Lost his Fire…

The once was a blue dragon that had lost all his fire.

His parents didn’t believe him and called him a liar.

He tried to show them, but they didn’t listen,

So he went on a journey to find why it was missing.

 

Over the mountains, the forests and over the lands,

He found himself before a dragon all spiky and tanned.

An Earth dragon it seemed did not spit fire.

He stomped and squashed and dug dirt with his own little squire.

 

Blue told the Earth dragon that he had lost all his fire.

He said that it was urgent, it was really quite dire.

The Earth dragon held no answers while eating a kitten,

So blue continued his journey to find why it was missing.

 

Through the deserts, the valleys and summits of snow,

An Ice dragon sat with the friend of a crow.

It seemed to lack the spark of a fire,

It blew ice and snow, froze all it desired.

 

Blue told the Ice dragon that he had lost all his fire

He needed it back, he thought to inquire.

No luck with the query as he was getting frost bitten,

So Blue continued his journey to find why it was missing.

 

Under water, through swamps and up in the clouds,

There was fog and mist and things roaring aloud.

It was a Storm dragon not spitting out fire,

But radiating lightning and hollering thunder.

 

Blue told the Storm dragon that he had lost all his fire,

Just a small answer he needed that was all he’d require.

Thinking and muttering, an answer he was fishing,

So blue continued his journey to find why it was missing.

 

Come back to see where he goes next…

It’s a working progress… I haven’t finished it yet… I was just bored…

Copyright Amy Watson 2012

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His Majesty failed Big Day Out!

Kanye West was the key headliner at The Big Day Out at the Gold Coast Parklands yesterday… well… he was a grave disappointment!

Big Day Out is an awesome music festival that is held at the Gold Coast Parklands (Australia) every year. I’ve only been in attendance twice (2010 & 2012) and must admit it is a BIG day out! Quite exhausting running around from stage to stage when your favourite bands are scheduled at the same time. The timetable was annoying, but I guess I saw everyone that I really wanted to see.

Kanye West pulled in the largest crowd last night, but not for long. He held off from coming out for 45 minutes, I heard (I had left by then to see Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds) after his scheduled start at 8:30PM after Soundgarden. I planned to only see the first half hour of the show between Foster the People and then see Noel Gallagher at a different stage in the Parklands. But as the time ticked on at Kanye’s stage I witnessed the stage people coming on and off eleven times within that half hour playing with cables and sound set up. Apparently it was screwed because of the wet. Some people thought the crew should have had a back-up plan, others thought he was just being Kanye West and the crowd just had to ‘wait’. There were other theories spreading through the crowds. Then the crowd started, several times, chanting “bull****” at the stage, I was one of them. It was getting ridiculous! 5-10 minutes would have been fine, but 45 minutes? Nah! His Majesty was going to be fashionably late apparently!
BDO officials say not to blame Kanye, because it was the weather and technical glitches that ran them behind schedule. There are two sides to every story. He did his whole show and continued after the actual finishing time, which is in Kanye’s favour. Many thought, my friends included, thought it was “fantastic”, “epic” and “incredible”. Others commented that he was a no talent rapper and the sound was far too loud. It was set up like Stereosonic Festival where the crowds are far larger than BDO. I do like Kanye, but still… The event left me sour. Then there were complaints from many local residents because the first day of school was happening the next morning. It was about the vibrations happening at 11PM from the parklands that could be felt kilometres away.

There is always a scandal at BDO. Last time, Dizzee Rascal got a bleeding eye on stage from someone throwing a deodorant can at him. He was pissed off as he jumped into the crowd to get the perpertraitor. People threw things on the stage this time too. Shoes almost took out the guy from Living End as well as someone flinging a bra at him. Gerard Way from My Chemical Romance dodged toilet rolls, but took it all in good fun, drunk idiots in the moment I guess. then Kanye West’s late appearance. There’s always something to talk about on the way home.

I had left just before 9PM to see Noel and noticed that clusters of people were leaving to see what else BDO had to offer in the same time slot around the Parklands. Noel Gallagher had only a very small crowd hovering around the stage, so it was easy to get close up, but 5-10 minutes after I left Kanye, hundreds more people showed up filling the tent. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds were awesome! People of the crowd were calling him “a legend”, I concurred!

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

The thing was… the whole event was not as impressive as the previous time I went in 2010. The lineup was not magnificent (with a few exceptions) and the tickets were way overpriced! (I guess it was because of Kanye). It did rain! I was drenched, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the people seeing the other bands!

Compared to last time, I only really wanted to see 4 bands. My Chemical Romance, Kasabian, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and Kanye West (also Foster The People and Regurgitator, but they weren’t foremost on my schedule, just time fillers). Only one disappointed me!

At my last Big Day Out I saw many acts including Kasabian, Powderfinger, Dizzee Rascal, Lily Allen and Muse. You couldn’t get a better lineup than that!!!

My Chemical Romance

My Chemical Romance I was eager to see, loving their albums and missed their last Australian tour it was great to see them reel in the fans. Though, standing next to the 6 foot speakers to the right of the stage, like I was, it was difficult to understand a word Gerard Way was singing, even he had difficulty with it as he kept removing his ear plugs and messing with the microphone. So the set up guys got it wrong, understandable when they had 45 minutes to set up while The Living End was on.

Kasabian. Ahh… Need I say more? I saw them in first at BDO 2010 and they have become more amazing since then!

Kasabian

Then I saw Regurgitator, an Australian band that couldn’t be missed, unfortunately, I wanted to catch Foster The People who were timetable at the same time. So I bolted through the rain to their stage. Foster the People was packed to the max and beyond. I couldn’t believe how many people were there to see them. I was lucky to get under the tent as it was bucketing down. They were good, definitely held the crowd till they played their hit ‘Pumped Up Kicks’.

Other Ramblings about Big Day Out:

I had started out the day getting the train from Brisbane to Helensvale and then the Special Shuttle bus to the event. It was overloaded with people. Sadly I saw girls on the bus filling their apple juices with vodka at 9:30 in the morning and skulking it down. WHY? They were going to be out of it before seeing any of the bands! But I guess it’s a social thing to them, they were there to drink and party, not music. I’m not dissing that at all, but if you’re going to pay a lot on a festival ticket, you may as will actually stay sober to hear the music. See what you pay for! That’s what I did. I didn’t drink at all and still enjoyed the day.

Simonet, S.Gold Coast Bulletin. Kanye fails to hold BDO crowd. Jan 23, 2012. http://www.goldcoast.com.au/article/2012/01/23/384445_music.html

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