Advent 2017: Day 18

It’s my birthday today! Happy birthday to me!


Thoughts for today:

  1. Project For Awesome is still happening so please join us in helping to decrease World Suck by donating (in exchange for some very cool swag) or by voting for your preferred charity!
  2. Disney’s “Coco” is a very emotional film and I highly recommend it. The music is beautiful. It made me remember the day that my grandfather died – the Aged P shared a moment with him where they both sang a song together. So yeah, I cried a lot, and so did my kids. (Parent warning: Not for kids who fear skeletons and have not yet developed a reasonable understanding of the concept of death).
  3. I had no idea that the Mexican Dia de Muertos bore such a marked resemblance to the Chinese 7th month and ‘Hungry Ghost Festival’. The offerings of food, the candles, the musical performances, putting up photographs of the dead, the elaborate paper decorations, the flower blossoms…that’s all pretty much the same. The only thing that is different is that the ‘Hungry Ghost Festival’ is generally for all the spirits who have no families to put out food for them during the year. So don’t worry kids, the Mexican ghosts don’t disappear into the ether, they just come to Singapore to enjoy the food here instead. Singaporean food is the best there is anyway (*runs for cover*).

P.S. We are following the Advent calendar from Truth In The Tinsel this year!

P.P.S. Check out our other Advent posts here with lots of crafty fun for the season and subscribe to our YouTube channel!


Advent 2017: Day 17

My birthday is coming up, so this means two things:

  1. Project For Awesome is happening!
  2. The Barn Owl takes me out on a date!


Thoughts from today:

  1. Going to the Cathay Platinum Movie Suites at JEM was a real treat!
  2. Star Wars: The Last Jedi was a little problematic in places, but I still loved it.
  3. Please join us in helping to decrease World Suck by supporting the Project For Awesome, either by donating (in exchange for some very cool swag) or by voting for your preferred charity!

P.S. We are following the Advent calendar from Truth In The Tinsel this year!

P.P.S. Check out our other Advent posts here with lots of crafty fun for the season and subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Schindler’s List (1993): Thoughts from the Couch (Potato)

Schindler's_List_movieRight, so I have been wanting to watch this movie for literally years.

I mean, I was thirteen when the movie first came out in theatres and all the grups were talking about this forever and EVER and there were even a couple of teens who even snuck into the film by putting on salaryman uniforms and carrying briefcases whilst slouching and looking troubled, you know, basically trying to look old and responsible and many years older than 21 years of age.

But when I turned 21 and wanted to watch this film, NOBODY wanted to see it with me. It was all ‘Yes yes yes you should totally watch Schindler’s List it’s a very good film’ but also ‘No no no I can’t watch with you I just can’t watch again it’s too horrible’.

Finally, The Barn Owl decides that he will watch the movie with me so it was quick get hold of a copy of the movie from anywhere before he changes his mind!

As far as holocaust films go, this one is particularly interesting, especially since the main characters, Oskar Schindler and Amon Goeth, are both members of the Nazi party – and you see the similarities and differences between them. The horrors of the the holocaust are plainly depicted – elderly men and women made to run naked in the mud so that the sick and ill can be weeded out, the randomness of executions, SS soldiers going insane from the atrocities they are committing…and there’s also the little girl in the red coat, whose brief and tragic story is only hinted at. Ralph Fiennes is chilling as Amon Goeth. He’s always good at playing bad guys. He makes you actually feel a little bit sorry for the demonic Amon Goeth because that guy is just so unhinged and he just loathes himself for his attraction to his Jewish maidservant.

And for course, there’s Liam Neeson.

Debs G Recommends: Watch this film together with “Life Is Beautiful” for a full evening’s emotional holocaust.

P.S. Get Schindler’s List here

P.P.S. Check out the rest of the Couch Potato series here.

Australia (2008): Thoughts from the Couch (Potato)

Australia movie posterA British aristocrat, Lady Sarah, inherits a cattle ranch and unwillingly engages the help of an Australian cattle drover (cunningly named ‘Drover’) to protect her property.

Usual love story ensues.

This takes place around WW2 and is cleverly interwoven with the mystical story of Nullah, a half aboriginal boy who is trying with some success to avoid being separated from his tribe and sent to Mission Island to join the rest of the ‘Stolen Generation’.

This film is beautifully rendered with the usual breathtaking cinematography that is associated with Baz Luhrmann. There are plentiful scenes of Hugh Jackman doing all sorts of sexy things in slow motion (walking, riding, getting doused in water/dust/mud, gazing thoughtfully into the horizon etc etc).

In comparison, there are precious few beauty shots of Nicole Kidman, though. Very few closeups. She may be over 40 in this film but she is still gorgeous and it would been nice to see her beauty celebrated just a teensy weensy bit, Mr Luhrmann!

Debs G recommends: Watch this movie with Moulin Rouge! for more beauty shots of Nicole Kidman to balance out your Baz Luhrmann evening!

P.S. Get Australia here

P.P.S. Check out the rest of the Couch Potato series here.

Hairspray (2007): Thoughts from the Couch (Potato)

HairsprayMoviePosterI must admit that I was very reluctant to watch this musical, simply because the title sounds vapid (Hairspray? Really?) and because I am utterly resistant to the charms of Zac Efron.[1]

However, John Travolta, James Marsden AND Christopher Walken in a musical together? DANCING?


And yes, Movie Gold it is indeed. Apart from the catchy tunes and snazzy dance numbers and the fact that John Travolta looks fetching in a dress, the storyline is both relevant and uplifting.

(And…Christopher Walken totally rocks.)

[1]During my first pregnancy, I was rather sickly, so The Barn Owl, in an ill-conceived attempt to alleviate my symptoms, borrowed High School Musical from the local video library. Needless to say, I spent most of that day staring down the U-bend.

P.S. Get Hairspray (2007) here

P.P.S. Check out the rest of the Couch Potato series here


Expanding a child’s worldview : Part 1 Inspire Them (or Tomorrowland 2015 – A Spoiler Free movie review)

There are so many movies around now that revolve around a dystopian future or cynical view of the ugliness that surrounds us in the world.

While I think it’s necessary to jolt people out of their comfort zone by exposing the problems in our society, most of these movies hardly ever show us a solution, and I quite often leave the cinema feeling disillusioned, thinking that all efforts to reduce worldsuck are pathetic and completely futile. All the complaining and finger-pointing about how terrible things are and who is responsible for it, well, I think that it accomplishes nothing except to add to the hate and negativity that is already out there.

If we want our society to improve, we have to act in whatever way we can, not just stand on a soapbox and scold.

It’s very rare to come across a movie that focusses on the possibility of making an effective, positive change to our world. Which is why Tomorrowland has got to be the best film that I watched last year. The movie brings a very important message: that it is possible to make a real and lasting difference to our society by finding out how things work and then persistently making efforts to improve humanity.

Everyday is the opportunity for a better tomorrow – Tomorrowland (2015)

Seriously, if you haven’t watched this movie yet, you really should, because it is awesome. After watching it, you should show it to your kids, because if there is any movie that galvanises a child to action, this is it. After watching this movie, J and Little E were ready to go out and change the world.

During this beautiful movie, a teenaged optimist and a mysterious young girl work together to drag a jaded, world-weary grownup out of his rut in order to save the world. The movie is chock-a-block full of thrilling action sequences, some of which involve instant disintegration so if you have a particularly sensitive child, it can be a little scary.

I felt a personal emotional connection to the characters in the film and their journey, and I am not ashamed to say that our entire family (the Barn Owl included) were in tears before the end!

The kids loved this movie so much that they even insisted on making it into the theme for their birthday party this year! More about this in another post, I promise.


The front of their birthday invitation card

For now, just enjoy the trailer – and watch the movie! You won’t regret it, honest.

P.S. Buyer’s note: We bought our copy of Tomorrowland from Amazon here.

Is there a movie, book or TV show that inspired you or your children to act positively to change society? Share it with me in the comments!

Joseph: King of Dreams (2000): Thoughts from the Couch (Potato)

Joseph_king_dreamsJoseph: King of Dreams certainly is a movie.  It sure is animated.  I could definitely see all the drawings and hear all the voice acting.  Also, it had music and songs in it.

I am writing this review to remind myself that I have watched this movie, because it was so unremarkable that I’d actually forgotten that I’d already watched it last year.

The problem with this movie is that it is not Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat by Andrew Lloyd Webber, which is so bad that it actually swings right around to good again and continues on to become absolutely fabulous.

This movie is not that.  It is not bad, but it is not good.  It just is a movie.

You should watch Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat instead.  I hear that Elton John is going to make it into an animated movie soon[1].

P.S. Find Joseph: King of Dreams here.

[1]What?  I said it was a fabulous show.