Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Seal of the Day - Olympia

Seal of the day comes all the way from Alaska Sea Life Centre. Also now that I've seen so many of these seals from Alaska I might just have to plan a trip there one day, and yes, just for the seals.

This is Olympia.

She was an young Harbour Seal who was found stranded. Rescuers picked Olympia up after searching the area for other seals and receiving authorisation from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and the ASLC (Alaska Sea Life Centre) for the rescue.  

Olympia has a white lanugo coat, an indication that she was born prematurely.  The ASLC said “It is likely that Olympia was abandoned by her mother, as we commonly find that seals abandon their premature pups.”

But that was back in May, now Olympia is doing fine. She will cared for until she is ready to go back into the wild.

The full article is here to read if you want:

Dark Forces Are At Work Here

So, I signed up to Netflix a while back so I could watch films and television series. That back fired. I ended up with a HUGE BT bill at the end of the two months I used it. Plus there was hardly any new films and shows on the site. But it did have Poirot.

Then I got quite a good deal from Blockbuster online rental, or so I thought.

They promised newly released films on my doorstep with first class delivery. Well what I got was films on the bottom of my list, and its been like that for two months. Simply not good enough. Another tempting aspect of the deal is that when you return a disc you get another sent straight away. Lies. You can also keep the disc as long as you want. Here is the flaw.

If some bint you wanted to see, say, the Norwegian film, Headhunters, they could keep it for weeks, hell, months! But oh wait they didn't want that film as they realised its got subtitles but they still get it before someone who knows exactly what Headhunters is and has waited for it for two months. I have emailed and complained and all I got back was garble basically.

I don't understand where all these people are who want to watch the film. From my time working at a store, probably 1% of the customers rented a subtitled film, myself included in that. So, I just don't understand where all these people are who rented the film.

Is is fate? Is it bad organisation and lies? Either way the situation, to me, is beyond ridiculous. All I want is to do is watch Headhunters . . .  and The Cabin in the Woods. Why is that so difficult!!!!!

Moral of the story is; don't sign up to Blockbuster online, its a waste of time and you don't actually get what you pay for.

Maybe its time I finally use my Love Film code . . .

Monday, 24 September 2012

Seal of the Day - Alumni

Anyone used to watch the British - Swiss children's TV show Pingu?

Well if you did, you'll know exactly who this is!


Its the seal, and his name is Robby apparently. In German his name means 'seal'. He first appeared in 'Pingu Goes Fishing' and he meets Pingu after continuously stealing the fish he catches.

Another animated seal I found in my searches was Kotick, The White Seal. The 24 minute animated film was adapted from Rudyard Kipling's story of the same name.

Kotick, is a baby seal born along with thousands of other seals on the beach of Novastosnah on a distant northern island in the Bering Sea. He is seen as unusual as he is white, unlike the other seals.

And here is a link to a real news story about a white elephant seal being spotted on a sub-Antarctic beach in 2009.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Seal of the Day

Once more its Seal time, no not Navy SEAL time, sorry those who were hoping it was.

Here is the photo of a seal that I had been searching for ages.

There are 32 different species of seals and as one website puts it, they are distributed around the world. They can be found from polar to tropic waters and can even be observed, from a far, off the Norfolk, UK coast. I have been in one of those seal boats, they were amazing!

If you're thinking of going on a trip to Norfolk, then you should definitely look at this website below:

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Seal of the Day - Adopt a Seal

Something a little different for today. Not exactly a seal of choice but instead a object that is seal themed.

Along my travels on the internet I found this amazing knitted seal mitten (I presume they come in pairs) and thought that this deserves a post mention!

Also in this post, another seal themed gem.

On the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) site you can adopt/sponsor a range of endangered animals, with different kits, varying on prices. For a long time I have wanted to sponsor an animal, but on the UK site there are no seals. But, on the USA site you can!!

You can sponsor a Harbour seal! Link is under the picture.

The adoption kits are quite pricey for a charity but hopefully one day I can actually fulfil this dream.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Seal(s) of the Day

Today's seal or should I say seals are twin elephant seals!

Elephant seals spend upwards of 80% of their lives in the ocean. They can hold their breath for more than 100 minuteslonger than any other noncetacean (large sea mammal) mammal.

Enjoy the cute picture!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Seal of the Day

As I have been neglecting my beloved blog of late I shall try and post something each day.

This week will be a mixture of my favourite things, films and seals. Yes, you read correctly, seals, hence the post title.

Below is my seal of the day, an earless seal, also known as a 'true seal'. An 'true seal' does not communicate through barking like others but by slapping the water and grunting.

This may seem a tad strange and silly, but hey, its a seal!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Challenge Excepted: Indonesia

Back into Asia . . .

A Welsh director, an Indonesian martial arts star and a tower block of violence, it can only be, The Raid.

It had been recommended by many and I finally goto to watch The Raid. And it was exactly what I had expected.

I'm not one for martial arts based films but I do enjoy a good violent thriller, good guys vs bad guys in a the middle of a massive drug ring or business thing. The set up was great, 20 elite cops trying to invade a tower block controlled by the most violent crime lord.

The story is focused on expectant father and rookie policeman, Rama, who, along with a 20 man SWAT team attempt to infiltrate the building. After the set up what follows is many shoot outs, knife fights and good ld fashioned fighting as the remaining SWAT team climb up higher and eventually reach the top.

As with all films about cops and criminals there are going to be the signature details, such as the corrupt cop, the family connection, the one decent guy to helps the good guys, the climatic show down, death of several henchmen and usually, the down played triumphant end. To be honest some of these elements are very much like the newly released Dredd, but more on that later. While reading about the fim when it was first released I was intrigued (and amused) that the directer, Gareth Evans was from Wales and moved to Indonesia after making a documentary. He had to move all that way to make the films he wanted.

After the success of the film there is no surprise that rumours of sequels began, Evans is already in development. Another rumour, also expected, is that there will be an American remake but with Gareth Evans on as Executive Producer there is some hope. But I really don't understand why the USA has to remake every successful foreign film out there. To remake The Raid would be like remaking Let the Right One In . . . oh wait . . .

Anyway I thought this film really stood out and having to read subtitles every now and then really was not a bother. Having said that, martial art movies still aren't my thing but The Raid is my exception.

The Raid made the cover of Little White Lies, if you can get your hands on a copy, its a good read.

End Line: A tower of guns, blood and welcoming predictable story devices

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Thursday's Child Has Far To Go

To be honest my birthday could not have gotten off to a worse start.

I came home from work thrilled from finally getting a BFI membership (and early birthday present) only to end up in an argument that I had no idea was going on. Then I was shouted at and a few hours later had a box in flowery wrapping paper dumped in my room and the door slammed shut. As I was in the middle of watching a film and quite tired I was slightly out of it and have no idea what was going on.

Anyway, I waited up til midnight, not because I excited but I had put some washing in and wanted to hang it up before bed. I thought about all my previous birthdays, most of which were spent at school, either the first day or near enough. While at University they were spent at home so celebrations had to be small, because of money and loans and things.

I had the worst 21st Birthday, I won't relate but basically I was very ill before I tried celebrating. That goes down in history as the worst birthday ever. But complete contrast was last year.

I wanted to escape the terrible previous year and I thought what better way than to leave the country. My sister wanted to go to Berlin, I wanted to go to Berlin so I spent my actual birthday getting up at 4am, getting a flight to Germany's capitol and walking around in awe at the German Film Museum. Amazing. The day was polished off with very cheap and delicious cocktails in the evening and I couldn't have had a better 22nd birthday.

On to my 23rd year! Of course I had to go to work but strangely enough, my sister actually had the day off.

After work, where my boss had made me some delicious meringues, I met my sister for cocktails at one of our favourite places, Drink Shop Do. If you haven't heard of it or been there before, you really must go and see for yourself how amazing it is. We enjoyed some fantastic cocktails, Strawberry Mojito, Sherbert One, The Quarter Year Crisis  and other such cool named fancies.

The evening reminded me of Berlin as it had been a similar set up, except this time I was home and I had a plan to go out the next day. We didn't stay too late as we both tired from the week.

The next day I saw Anna Karenina, amazing film (more on that is a future post) and in the evening I went out and partied like I had no liver! 

Awesome birthday weekend!

*Title refers to the poem 'Monday's Child'. I was born on a Thursday.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

August Watch List

1. Cheri
 Celebrating aged courtesans and their loves. Lea ( Michelle Pfeiffer) has a six year long relationship with Cheri, son of a fellow courtesan. He then marries another courtesan's daughter, arranged by his mother. She disappears to the coast to forget about him. This all happens within the first 20 minutes of the film. The rest of the film was just dragged out and took too long to reach an uneventful conclusion. Based on a novel I have a feeling it would be better to read it. The costumes are amazing though. 2/5

2. Zathura: A Space Adventure
As the poster says, its the same author as Jumanji and in the actual book the brothers who are the focus of this film and book appear at the end of Jumanji. Just like the game Jumanji, Zathura is found covered in dust in the basement of a very old house that looks like it hadn't been touched since the 50's. They play the game and things happen. The first major event being that the house is hurtled into space. But this isn't your average space environment, for one thing the house is partially destroyed and open but no one is affected and they can all breath perfectly. It was a fun film, if a bit limited, as there is only so much you can do in space, with children. No where near as amazing as Jumanji but still a fun film. 3/5

3. Land of the Lost
I saw this film while calming myself down. I was too tired to move off the sofa so ended up watching the whole film, unintentionally. I had avoided watching this film as I knew I wouldn't enjoy it. I was right I did not enjoy this film. I did actually care about any of the characters and I thought that most of the storyline was a massive cliche. There were too many elements to the film and yes I know its about the 'land of the lost' so random things are expected. It wasn't funny, it was unpleasant. 1/5

4. W.E
Directed by Madonna, that was the main pull. After all the bad reviews and talk I decided I should see this, especially as I liked the whole cast. The story seems very one sided, being told from Wallace Simpson's point of view through Wally, a neglected and lonely wife of wealthy British doctor in 1998. I am not 100% sure of the historical accuracy of the film but it was very impressive, especially for Madonna. I preferred the story set in 1998 as it felt more emotional and interesting. The story of Wallace and Edward has been told over and over it was interesting to see a fresh look on the famous love affair. But, it seemed to point fingers at how cold and mean the British were/are. The Royal family shunned Wallace and the British doctor is mean and hateful. Madonna tries to make us feel sorry for Wallace but I really didn't. She gave up everything? What? She had affairs and was a Nazi sympathizer. He gave up a Kingdom, that's far more. A good film but i can't ignore these flaws. 3/5
5. Delicacy
Audrey Tautou hasn't been this good since Amelie. This story is so beautiful and I'm saying that trying not to be cliche. Tautou's husband dies in a sudden accident and she shuts herself away for three years, concentrates on her work, then one day while thinking of her husband randomly kisses her co-worker, Markus. He is adorable in the way he wears big wooly jumpers, leads a simple life and is the nicest guy you've ever met. Gradually she starts to come out of her shell and becomes closer to Markus. The relationship is sweet but its everyone around them that can't understand why she chose him. Why not? That is the question. The film is so easy to watch, which each small event becoming a moment in their relationship where she slowly moves on in the right direction. 5/5

6. The Girl with the Pearl Earring
Finally saw the ending of this film after years of just seeing bits of it. I really thought this film was amazing and I actually thought Scarlett Johansson was more than decent in the title role. Seeing her transform into the painting was so entrancing I understand the long lingering shot, I couldn't tear my eyes away. The story was interesting and made me want to read the book to find out if I had missed anything. Straight forward biopics are becoming too predictable but to concentrate on a masterpiece resulted in a far richer film. 4/5

7. The Eagle

To be honest I only wanted to see this film because Jamie Bell was in it. The story is basic, Roman solider Marcus wants to redeem his family honour by crossing the wall and venturing into the North to find the lost Eagle of the Ninth. He does so with the help of British slave, Esca who he himself was a member of a Northern tribe. The many different tribes of the North are damn scary. With all the Romans putting on American acsents it felt like yet another 'damn the Brits' film, which is very dull. Jamie Bell was good though. 2/5
8. Brave
Like at Pixar films, this was awesome. I was intrigued by the story as I never heard of such a folk tale. The writers had created one from scratch using folklore and other tales which I really enjoyed. Choosing Scotland to be the setting was a welcome change too and I liked the all British and Scottish cast, that made all the difference. I love folk tales and fairy tales so this story just made me want to see more tales like it. I really hope that Disney and Pixar continue this type of story. Aside from the story which was also very funny, the actual animation was breath taking especially the scenery (and the heroine's hair). The montage of the heroine climbing cliff sides and roaming the hills was beautiful. Loved the film! 4/5

9. The Imposter
Doc of the month. This film was brilliant, it had me hooked from start to finish, the story took me over. There are many ways I can say it but that is how powerful this film was. Does anyone remember how engrossing 'Man on a Wire' was? Well this is just like that. It played out like a fictional film and kept you guessing about what actually happened to the real missing child. I don't want to ruin the story as its worth seeing it in full without people telling you bits about it. Just please go and watch it. 5/5

10. Young Adult
Charlize Theron's character is amazingly awful. She has indeed got older but never grew up. She is in denial about everything in her life and she belongs back in high school. She reminded me of a less humourous version of Cameron Diaz's character in Bad Teacher. When she goes back to her old town and sees people from her past it is obvious that she doesn't belong there and maybe never did. Unfortunately though there is no real ending, she does go through a brief transition near the end where she gives a big speech to an old high school, I'll say friend but he wasn't, but by morning she is back to being exactly how she was before. There was no progress. 2/5