Happy 20th Birthday to Notting Hill!

NottingHillRobertsGrant Movie Poster

Iconic romantic comedy movie Notting Hill had its premiere in the United Kingdom on the 21st of May, 1999.

I moved to Notting Hill – the real place in London – in 2001, and the movie’s impact was everywhere. I’d be heading off to the laundrette with bags of washing, only to run into American tourists (and their long-suffering boyfriends!) searching my street for “Hugh Grant’s blue door”. While Portobello Road Market was always popular, things had got totally out of control, and they’d started assigning police officers to the exit of Notting Hill Gate Tube station to do some crowd control, and to help lost tourists with directions.

I’m not much of a romantic comedy movie viewer, but this one is special to me.

The Week: 4th – 10th March

National Library of Australia Canberra Heatwave Early Autumn Heatwave Sonya Heaney 3rd March 2019

Sunny afternoon for lunch on the terrace at the National Library.

This week saw the premature deaths of two icons from when I was growing up: Beverly Hills 90210’s Luke Perry and The Prodigy’s Keith Flint. Australia saw another shocking murder of a woman by an ex who wouldn’t take no for an answer. It was a similar situation to the murder of a childhood friend of mine in 2015.

And in Russia, a huge crowd of people lined up to give flowers and bow to a statue of Stalin. Imagine the world’s reaction if they’d done this for Hitler in Germany…

Two brave activists – Yevgeny Suchkov and Olga Savchenko – were arrested for doing THIS at the event.

I was so unprepared for Luke Perry’s death. He defined my generation. I was going into high school when his character was finishing high school.

Even though I had all the Jason Priestley merchandise (t-shirts, diaries, stickers etc.), Perry was the 90210 actor who emerged as the biggest star – and was apparently a great man behind the scenes. He was one of THE faces of the 1990s, enough that he was featured across the board in other iconic pop culture shows like The Simpsons:

Brian Austin Green, Jason Priestley and Luke Perry in the 90210 opening credits:

My review of How the Right Lost Its Mind by Charles J. Sykes

The New Cover Trend

Cover Love

Persuasion 1995 – Recently I Learnt…

…That when the 1995 movie adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion was released on video in the United States, Columbia Tristar decided it wasn’t sexy enough.

And so they replaced the actors on the poster/cover with this:

Columbia Tristar Persuasion 1995

It’s especially appalling as many consider Persuasion 1995 to be the best Jane Austen adaptation. With a cast of renowned theatre actors, it is nothing like that image implies.

For comparison, here is the real leading couple in the movie. (Seriously, that wasn’t sexy enough? This is Jane Austen, not Fabio!). I’m not sure if it still is, but the entire movie used to be available to watch on YouTube.

Persuasion 1995 Jane Austen

Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein by Jennifer Roy

Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein by Jennifer Roy

Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein

Video game villains and real-life dictators dominate daily life for eleven-year-old Ali

Ali Fadhil has very simple likes and dislikes. It is 1991 in Iraq and all Ali wants to do is read his comics and play football and video games. But President Saddam Hussein has other plans. After he invades neighbouring Kuwait, the U.S. and their allies launch Operation Desert Storm to force him out. Over the next forty-three days, Ali and his family would survive bombings, food shortages and constant fear.

Cinematic and timely, this is the story of how war changed one boy’s destiny forever and would one day bring him face to face with Saddam himself at the UN trial.

Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein by Jennifer Roy

Based on the childhood of Ali Fadhil, who went on to become an interpreter during the trial of dictator Saddam Hussein, this book shows what life was like for the people of Basra, Iraq during the beginning of the war in 1991.

While this is definitely a book geared towards children, who – of course – were not even born when these events took place (in fact, they weren’t even born when Hussein was executed), it is an interesting read for anyone who remembers the events of the 1990s and early 2000s.

A side note: I had no idea what “Atari” was, and had to look it up. I feel like it’s something I should have known!

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

20th Anniversary of Ever After

Ever After Cinderella 1998 Breathe Dress Ball Gown Fairy Tale Drew Barrymore

Tomorrow is the twentieth anniversary of the premiere of Cinderella movie Ever After. Even though it’s from 1998, it’s still loved by many for its mix of pseudo-history, adventure, and a strong heroine. I was in college at the time, and still remember going to the cinema to see it.

Here’s the trailer:

And now you have an excuse to watch it again!

A Buffy Remake?

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When I first saw the news they are talking about remaking Buffy the Vampire Slayer, my first reaction was: can we please not?!

My second reaction: how about we come up with some new shows instead of ruining the old cult hits?!

It’s nothing new for Hollywood to recycle everything, but recently it seems they’ve gone mad on it. I mentioned Roswell before, but it’s not the only one. I mean… they’ve even remade silly MacGyver, with a man who looks like a child playing the lead. And then you have the possibly misguided reunion of the Downton Abbey crowd…

They’re giving Charmed the same remake treatment, too. Despite everyone’s crazy claims it was a feminist show, anything where the lead women make sexist “blonde jokes” every second episode is nothing of the sort, so I don’t care about that one.

But Buffy…? It was one of the best-scripted shows I’ve ever seen. In fact, we had to study it in our scriptwriting units at university.

Buffy was of its era. It was an important show that defined the 1990s. It also came at a time just before television started getting so sleek and high-tech that it started losing its humanity. I don’t want to see a fancier, updated Buffy.

Unfortunately now the show’s tainted with the discovery of exactly what a dickhead its creator, Joss Whedon, is. He’s not only not a feminist, but he spent years cheating on his wife – including with some Buffy cast members.

I just think that… leave Buffy alone! Come up with something different!

The Week: 16th – 22nd July

What a week for the world! Everyone is insane. Huge pride for Pussy Riot, for being almost the only people at the entire World Cup willing to protest instead of pretending everything was wonderful. We need more people like them.

R.I.P. Denis Ten

My review of Then Comes Seduction (Huxtable Quintet #2) by Mary Balogh

Then Comes Seduction (Huxtable Quintet #2) by Mary Balogh

Am I the only one who thinks this might not be a good idea?

WelcomebacktoDownton!We_rethrilledtoannouncethat_DowntonAbbeyiscomingtothebigscreen_Filmproductionbeginsthissummer_The folks

Four Years

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Twenty Years

Couple ready to cope with dreaded Y2K bug

You’ve got to love the timing of Dictionary.com!

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Marvel’s Black Widow finally lands a director – and she’s a Canberran

Canberra woman Cate Shortland is set to smash records and become Marvel's first solo female director.

 

Twenty Years

Couple ready to cope with dreaded Y2K bug

Remember Y2K? The Millennium Bug?

I was randomly researching something, and came across this article that was published twenty years ago today. I remember both that a lot of people lost their minds at the end of the 1990s and prepared for the end of the world, and that some people went into hiding for years before emerging to discover they’d been wrong about everything.

This makes for a funny read (read the whole article at the link), but some days now the world does seem like it’s falling apart:

Getting Prepared

Couple ready to cope with dreaded Y2K bug

BUNCH — It’s hard enough getting to the Kirkwoods’ hideaway. The country roads that lead here burrow into the wilds of Adair County. The dirt road at the end climbs into the forested hills where the former computer salesman and nurse from suburban Dallas make their home.

They would have looked even deeper into the woods for a place, but if TEOTWAWKI happens, they want to be sure their children and grandchildren still living in cities can reach this sanctuary in time.

“TEOTWAWKI” is an acronym heard among an increasing number of people who worry about the Millennium Bug and what chaos will come if the switch to the Year 2000 disrupts computer networks worldwide.

They’re talking about “The End Of The World As We Know It,” and it’s catching on.

Fearing an apocalypse over the Millennium Bug requires some of the same lack of faith in government as with other survivalists’ concerns. It carries a fear that the masses in the cities won’t hang together but instead will reveal their worst if things really do get desperate. The new survivalists are people who don’t want to take that gamble when spokespeople for public utilities, banks or other entities try to assuage concerns about the Millennium Bug with the calm words, “We’re working on it.”

They’d rather take their chances in finding a nice piece of land “with constantly running water or artesian wells and good hardwood cover in rolling hills where you could put a house 300 yards off the road and not see it,” McMillan said.

“The interest (in rural property) grows daily,” he said. And some of the inquiries, he added, have come from people in government and from computer programmers, which he said should tell you something.

“If the pilot of the plane puts on a parachute, wouldn’t you get nervous?”