Tag: film

The Internship Movie

The Internship Movie

Director: Shawn Levy
Running time: 119 minutes
ScreenplayVince Vaughn, Jared Stern

the internship

If you like silly comedy and don’t mind your movies a little (okay, a lot) formulaic, The Internship is the movie for you. It is a fun ride – the packed, extra-large cinema was filled with people roaring with laughter. Just the ticket on a cold winter’s night.

Responding to criticism that the movie is a two-hour advertisement for Google, Vaughn says, “yes, you get a peek behind the chocolate factory, but it’s really about wanting to start over, and I wanted to pick an industry that authentically felt like there was a future there.”

internship google

The movie has not done very well critically and I can’t say I’m surprised; it’s no Argo. It’s true, as one critic writes, that the comedy relies heavily on the actors’ easy interplay with each other. However, damn it’s funny!

The Internship tells the story of Billy McMahon (Vaughn) and Nick Campbell (Wilson) who are gung-ho watch salesmen, suddenly out of a job as the American economy swallows up another small business and the trade of door to door sales diminishes under the weight of the digital world. They wiggle their way into an internship at Google, surrounded by dozens of high-achieving young techies, all vying for a few coveted spots at the end of a series of team challenges. Along the way is the inevitable and – if like me you’re a fan – hilarious Will Ferrell cameo.

What happens next is entirely predictable, in that Vaughn/Wilson formula of sweet and light funny, with Rose Byrne providing a love interest and several new young actors getting some time in the sun, including Dylan O’Brien (Teen Wolf), Tiya Sircar, Josh Brener, and Tobit Raphael (fresh out of acting school). Keep an eye out for the guy in the nap pod who complains about the noise; he is the director of the film, Shawn Levy.

dylan o'brien
Dylan O’Brien

Mashable interviewed a real intern and reports that the Google office (the interior was recreated for the movie at Georgia Institute of Technology) is just like the real thing. It’s fascinating getting a good look inside. If this is the business model of our kids’ future work places, the future is looking bright. But then again, that’s exactly why the movie is getting so much Googly flack: it really is a big Google ad in that respect.

Yes this is a family movie for the over 13 year olds. Something for everyone.

If you’re a Generation Xer, this film will appeal as it brings the eighties crashing into the present with many Flashdance references. It works. The kids are also going to love it. Dylan O’Brien is being watched by the teenage girls right now (I asked my 17-year-old daughter) and the whole Google thing will fascinate those soon to be heading out onto the big wide and increasingly scary world of job hunting.

the internship bicycle google

What’s on the Telly (2)

What’s on the Telly (2)

There I was a few weeks ago, having a lovely time plodding through Downton Abbey which needs no explaining as I don’t believe there is anyone left on the planet who hasn’t watched it.

Just as I was getting comfortable,  good friend Pippa sent a text: “have you seen American Horror Story yet?”

american horror story

Wow and wow. Forget Dexter, this is the bomb.

Firstly I just have to say this: I love Jessica Lange, remember her? She has just the right amount of loveliness, sexiness and creepiness to make the whole show worth the ride. Secondly, this is not my usual genre. While I have dabbled in zombies and vampires, ‘horror’ is not really my thing. American Horror Story is such a tightly wound little drama, however that it’s perfect for those Downton Abbeyists who just need a break from the Abbey for a bit of “captivating style and giddy gross outs” (Washington Post).

american horror story lange

Each season is self-contained so it doesn’t matter whether you see them in order or not. In the first season, a family of three, psychiatrist Ben, Vivien and Violet move into an old house, unaware it is haunted. They get to know their neighbour, Constance (Lange) when her special needs daughter Adelaide (Addie) visits unannounced regularly, sensing and seeing the evil that lies beneath the veil of the living. Constance is a failed actress who has a complicated relationship with her daughter and those who dwell in the house.

The relationships within the little family are also complicated with Ben (Dylan McDermott) trying to win back his wife’s trust following an affair, his wife Vivien (Connie Britton) trying to recover emotionally from a miscarriage and their sweet but sullen teenage daughter Violet (Taissa Farmiga) suffering from depression and struggling with every aspect of her life and her parents complicated situation.

american horror story family


The second season, American Horror Story Asylum, takes place in a sixties mental asylum, Briarcliff, run by Sister Jude (Jessica Lange) and Sister Mary Eunice (Lily Rabe) overseen by Monsignor Timothy Howard (Joseph Fiennes).

American Horror Story Asylum


It seems to be almost a caricature of a 1960’s mental asylum, with people being locked up for being gay, people being locked up and treated for insanity for racial reasons, patients having no voice, being trapped for decades in the brutally run asylum. The story follows four inmates specifically with many others providing fill. One is Lana (Sarah Paulson) whose lesbian lover is tricked into committing her when she comes to Briarcliff to write an expose piece on the place.

american horror story sarah Paulson


Jessica Lange is again superb in this season. She grows increasingly suspicious and unhinged as dark supernatural (or are they?) forces conspire to make her as mad as some of her patients. As one reviewer wrote, it’s hard to look away, even though you feel you should.

jessica lange American Horror Story Joseph Fiennes


The third season is in the works and probably called American Horror Story Coven. Can’t wait. I had to put down the iPad and start reading good old books again after this one.

The first two seasons are available on iTunes. My vote is they are both worth it. Have you seen it yet? Let me know what you think if you do.

Year Twelve Hurts More The Second Time

Year Twelve Hurts More The Second Time

That final year of school is tough: you have assignment after assignment to contend with. Pesky teachers on your back about ‘progress’.

Your parents just don’t seem to understand or remember how hard it is. You wish you could just cruise around in the car alone for once. You fantasise about solitary road trips to Margaret River to watch boys surf.

You never have time to read just for fun. The stress that gets dumped on you is almost unbearable. The tears, the lack of compassion from friends, the parties you have to either miss or leave early….


…why didn’t anyone tell me that Year 12 would be this hard the second time around?

I can only imagine what it’s like for my daughter, the one actually having to show up at school (most days); parents pretending not to be completely strung out, whispering to each other late at night about the logistics of taking an escape break somewhere without the kids. Mostly, stupid cruel parents making her to go to school. Every friggin’ weekday. And so it goes until 3.00pm November 28.

How to get through? Some lucky mothers have jobs to go to. Escape to there, make it your happy place. Those of us unemployed need other distractions. While I do wish ASOS wouldn’t keep doing their irresistible 20% off everything every second day, that has provided a little exciting spike in amongst the spiky angst. Thanks to some very stylish friends, I picked up some great biker boots the other day, it was the day before two quite big tests (Geography and French, I believe) so they were fairly expensive.

Then there’s yoga, only beware buying a ten-pass voucher and letting it expire past the extension you asked for because you just haven’t had a moment calm/alone/organised/motivated enough to get yourself to a class. It’s stress-loading yoga when you waste a whole pass, not stress-relieving.

Running – and talking about running – has probably been the greatest saviour physically for me. Alone with the dog, the wind in my hair, sometimes some music on my iPod. Below is what I listened to this morning.

Later I had coffee with one of my running pals, she of the fabulous red hair and extensive Lululemon wardrobe and we talked splits, tempo runs, mileage, races: it was like taking a short weekender losing myself in run-talk.

My oldest daughter has really good taste in music and she happily shares it with me. She has discovered the eighties (soundtrack to my life, sista!) and while I have done the right thing and put her in front of Sixteen Candles for research purposes, she has come up with some great stuff without any help from us, such as this little gem – a cover version by Ohio band Cobra Verde of New Order’s Temptation. They also do a haunting slow version of The Rolling Stones Play With Fire.

If I am completely honest my two daughters scare the living daylights out of me. They are much smarter, more determined and confident, savvy and beautiful than me. I’m not quite sure how it should all work, and I am quite tough under this soft (don’t laugh!) exterior so imagine how bamboozled my poor gentle peace-loving husband is. He lives in perpetual bewilderment.

Fortunately there is the best relief of all – friends who have been there, done that and are undamaged enough to be able to recall the terror of seeing their own kids through the end of school and pass on words of wisdom or comfort, like “it only lasts a year per child” and “don’t attempt to give up wine or chocolate for Lent” and “there, there, it’ll be okay.” Seriously all anyone really wants is to know that someone else has trod this path, whatever path that may be, and gets where you’re at. It applies to pretty much any stress we encounter in life, big and small.

Sometimes we just need someone to cry with, even if there’s no actual crying involved.

I suspect things will be quieter as our son goes through this in two years time, but just for a laugh we have another daughter headed towards Year 12. Although not for another eleven years. Rob has suggested we use this time gap to regroup, travel a little, swim regularly, perhaps a little counselling.

Apparently there’s a maths assignment due tomorrow so I may just pop off now and have another look at that nail polish I was reading about the other day…

tshirt you dont scare me

A One Cop Town in The Eighties

A One Cop Town in The Eighties

Does an email ever stop you in your tracks? I opened my mail this evening to see this:

“Have I found my old friend from Idaho?”

I was whooshed back 27 years to American Falls, Idaho 1985; a town with one cop, one set of traffic lights, two burger joints and a rumbling interstate highway just over the back fence.

Susan, a Kiwi, was also a Rotary Exchange student in a neighbouring town and equally exotic to the locals there. We were the only non-Americans for many miles around. I got asked more than once if it had been hard for me to learn English. Susan was my friend even after I told everyone that New Zealand was in fact a satellite state off the coast of eastern Australia.

Being 17 and more filled with self-knowledge and confidence than ever before or ever since (the most wonderful thing about being 17 is knowing everything about everything), I challenged the politics teacher on why only American politics and American history was being taught at American Falls High. Horrified, Coach Bob – for he was also the school grid iron coach – spat his chewing tabaccy into a bin and told me that the other counties would think Power County had been run over by communists if he taught anything about the Eastern bloc.

He challenged me to give a few lessons to the students about the history of communism and the Russian Revolution of 1917. They all eyed me warily from that week on and I wonder if they thought I was in fact a communist spy. The cold war was still cold, the Soviet Union still six years away from collapse, and although this was the year of Gorbachev’s glasnost, the frost was still bitey.

I saw Jack Reacher last night and it reminded me a little of this time; the good old eighties. The baddies were real old school baddies, complete with cloudy eye, missing fingers and Siberian accent.jackreacher_news

The car chase was long and honest. There were no very special effects and the directing was open and disarming. For a goodies versus baddies flick that makes you feel nostalgic for the eighties (even though it’s set later), see this film. It’s fun. And I don’t care what you say, Tom Cruise is fabulous. He isn’t the Jack Reacher I have imagined for all the years I have been reading the Lee Child books, but he is a good Reacher nevertheless.

One more trip back to the eighties today: I ran into a girl friend of my brother’s who asked me if I had a perm. As in had I permed my hair.


I wanted to grab both her arms and shake her and wail “if I were to get a perm would I have it look like this? I mean come ON!” But I just shook my dunny-brush locks and smiled a tiny smile. No, this is just me. Bushy bushy blonde hairdo, reminiscing USA.

What’s on the telly?

What’s on the telly?

A passionate reader my whole life – ever since I was spellbound by Walter Duck and his romantic pursuit of Winifred at Blackberry Farm – I now find myself completely hooked on TV shows. It’s terrible. However for all my viewer’s remorse, I am still lurching down the viewing road with gay abandon and thought I would share some of the better shows MSF’s have been recommending. Yes it’s your fault, friends.

After this I will tell you what I think of the titles on the Booker short list 2012 (not really; I am just waiting for Lee Child to write another Jack Reacher book actually. I am hoping MSF Sarah will write some book reviews here though).

Back to the telly. I accidentally bought the entire first season of The Bridge (the Swedish/Danish one) on iTunes the other day. I only meant to get the pilot and inadvertently bought the lot. I immediately noticed it is all in Swedish and Danish with English subtitles and madly pressed buttons to try and cancel the download, to no avail.

Which is lucky because it turns out it is a ripping good series. The BridgeIt starts with a murdered woman (women in fact) being left right in the middle of the bridge that connects Sweden to Denmark. Police officers Saga (Sweden) and Martin (Denmark) team up to solve the case and turn out to be even more fascinating than the murder. Martin is a friendly man recovering from a vasectomy and Saga is completely emotionally detached, presumable due to Aspergers (it isn’t clear or explained as yet). They work really well together as characters and I cannot wait for Season Two. Absolutely worth the $30 I accidentally spent downloading it.

Coming up this June is the second season of The Newsroom. Just find it and watch it and if you already have then for goodness sakes make sure you see all six seasons of The West Wing. Aaron Sorkin wrote both and I love him for it. Apparently he was already working on The Newsroom when he did The Social Network back in ’09. It’s a fast-paced, fun, fascinating look inside a cable news network.303372-the-newsroom Jeff Daniels stars as the news anchor forced to re-think what he is about. Snappy screenplay, fun characters, makes you believe you have a brain because all the news they cover is set only one year in the past so you sort of remember the headlines. Ticks all the boxes.

If you’re interested in going a bit low brow without compromising quality, check out The Walking Dead. Yes that’s right: Zombies. ZOMBIES! I was a little very sceptical at first. After all I was just coming down from True Blood and worrying that my brain was actually dripping out of my head onto the floor. I even thought of picking up my kindle or doing craft with my six year old. But after sticking out a gruesome few days of severe viewers remorse and putting up with the un-dead eating people on the streets of Atlanta, I got into the storyline. I know I sound like a man justifying why he reads Hustler (“it’s for the articles!”), but it’s not bad if you can tolerate the nightmares later.The-Walking-Dead-06-castBasically some sort of virus causes the dead to regain minimal brain function (enough to walk with a limp and moan a lot but not recognise anyone they once knew, or talk) and walk the earth in search of food; food being any other living creature. A brave little band of survivors battles through each episode. It’s a compelling, fantastical look at a post-apocalyptic world.

ABC TV production Jack Irish is fantastic: It’s set in Melbourne and stars the wonderful Guy Pearce who is at his best in this – so far –  two part series. Each of the shows is 1hr40min so you’re getting your ten bucks worth on iTunes. IMBD describes it: “A former criminal lawyer is getting his life back together and now spends his days as a part-time investigator, debt collector, apprentice cabinet maker, punter and finding those who don’t want to be found – dead or alive.” jackirish_main_3-620x349The cinematography is excellent and the well known Aussie supporting cast are superb. I only watched this one night on a whim because I’d run out of episodes of Dexter and was delighted to stumble upon something so good. The two parts are Bad Debts followed by Black Tide. I hope there is more to come.

I am having a long-ish love affair with all things Scandinavian so will also recommend Wallander (thank you to My Sensible Canadian Friend). I spent nearly the whole afternoon in IKEA today as I just needed a hurgen vurgen fix. The salmon salad was very good value. You can find Wallander, another crime show (is there a pattern emerging?), starring  Kenneth Branagh on iTunes and sometimes on ABC iView or the BBC equivalent (worth the subscription price) if you’re watching on your iPad. Here is how much I liked it: I found his ring tone and adopted it as my own. Not kidding.


If I don’t wrap this up I won’t have time for another episode of The Bridge before sleep time so will get more recommends from MSFs and update the viewing guide soon. Also soon to come is a Clever Man contribution, this time involving sour dough bread.



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