Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Movies I've watched recently...

I've developed quite a strong obsession with horror movies lately and have been watching a lot as you can see. Here's some brief reviews of what I've been watching lately -

Upstream Color (2013)  ★★★★

I saw this at MIFF in August but I had been wanting to see it for a while before that ever since I saw the trailer last year. It's a pretty amazing film visually and sensually - loved the soundtrack. It is also a challenging, unconventional film but I found it completely engrossing.

Evil Dead (1981) ★★★

I watched this on my own late one night because I was bored.  It was pretty entertaining. I found it funny, corny, gross, offensive, and at times scary. It's basically a gory/hilarious romp.

Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home (2009) ★★★★ 1/2

I found this movie really emotional. I cried a lot throughout. I'd been meaning to watch it for quite a while but had never gotten around to it - and to be honest wasn't sure what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised. I like this movie because it is really powerful emotionally, but doesn't show a lot of graphic footage in comparison to other animal rights films I've watched, it's more about the stories of the people and their experiences. I would highly recommend it. It is sad but it also has some really beautiful happy moments in it too.

Hellraiser (1987) ★★★

I actually found this movie hilarious and would say it's one of the funnier horror movies I've watched. Features great 80s special effects. There's something delightful and nostalgic about 80s horror that I do love.

Carrie (1976) ★★★★ 1/2

Loved this movie. Cannot believe I waited this long to watch it. Underdog takes revenge is such a perfect premise for this movie.

The Exorcist (1973)  ★★★

Liked it but I did not really find it scary.

Don't be Afraid of the Dark (2011) ★★★

I wasn't a huge fan of the story or the characters - but - for some reason this movie really freaked me out. I think it just really brings back childhood memories of being afraid of monsters in the dark and jumping onto my bed so that they couldn't grab my feet!

Maximum Tolerated Dose (2012) ★★★★ 1/2

I watched this for the first time in February at the Australian premier but recently re-watched it. The film basically talks to a whole bunch of people who have been involved in the animal testing industry at some stage and invariably been trumatised/changed by it. It also tells the story of some individual animals who have been tested on. I know some animal activists seem to take issue with he fact that the film only looks at the issue from a animal welfare/cruelty perspective and fails to go into the science of it ie. the scientific fallacies of animal testing and how it can be harmful to humans because animals genetic make up is so different to humans. While I think it is a valid point, I don't share that view. I liked the film as it is and feel it is very powerful and moving.

V/H/S (2012) ★★★★

I found V/H/S really scary. It's a compilation of short horror vignettes held together by an overarching story of a bunch of teens breaking into a house where they find a whole bunch of videos containing the footage that makes up the film.

The Inkeepers (2011)  ★★★ 1/2

After watching 'House of the Devil' a while ago I have since been keen to watch other movies by director Ti West. Inkeepers revolves around two employees working their final shift in a creepy old hotel before all hell breaks loose.

Session 9 (2001) ★★★★

Asbestos removers cleaning an abandoned insane asylum. The best thing about this movie is it is original and avoids the typical horror cliches. It also has a completely unexpected ending. It's the first horror movie to really pull the cat out of the bag on me.

Evil Dead 2 (1987) ★★

This was really just a shitty re-continuation of the first movie. It starts off very confusing because it kicks off with a re-cap of the events of the first movie - but it also changes things a little for which I believe the technical term is retcon. The rest of it is pretty similar to the first except with a few new

Django (1966)  ★★

I watched this by accident. I saw it on my friend's hard drive and thought it was Django Unchained. Started watching it and confusion ensued - and then hilarity. It's an Italian western dubbed over in English. It's a funny, reasonably entertaining B grade watch.

Devil (2010) ★★ 1/2

A group of people get stuck in an elevator and one of them is the Devil.

The End of the Line (2007) ★★★★

A train trapped in subway tunnel late at night + a mysterious cult. I enjoyed this movie a lot. I found it suspenseful, but also quite kooky in it's concept.

Beyond the Black Rainbow (2010) ★★★★

I watched this one last night and wow, it is like nothing I have ever seen before. It kind of blurs the lines between horror and sci fi and is hard to pin down but I definitely found this movie quite scary. It is not bloody or gory but it is really suspenseful and unsettling. I read one negative review that describes it as a "bad acid trip" which is probably quite accurate but it's a very very well crafted acid trip. It has little dialog. The music and visuals were sensational, the acting was amazing I thought, and the story was also intriguing. What really impressed me about this film was the level of craftsmanship that seemed to go into creating it. Everything about it just seemed immaculate. The music worked really well with the visuals while the sets were out of this world and at one point there is a book which holds some clues about the story line and it is full of these amazing trippy illustrations. It is slow, but I think it shows that a film can still be scary and slow - as we are so used to fast paced action nowadays. It also has - being set in the 1980s - cool retro styling and has been compared to 2001 Space Odyssey as you can see from the trailer. The one issue I had with the the film was the ending, which was not what I had expected and seemed to happen very quickly.

On my to watch list:

- Francis Ha
- Halloween
- Metrolpolis
- The Prince and the Showgirl
- Stories We Tell
- The Ghosts In Our Machine
- Suspira
and many more...

Monday, 21 October 2013

Cashew milk

I finally got my act together and tried making cashew milk. I've been meaning to make it for years ever since I tried someone else's homemade cashew milk and was amazed by how delicious it was,  but always put it off for lack of cheesecloth. So when I discovered an open packet of raw cashews in the pantry I thought the time had finally come!

I made my milk based on these two recipes:



Sadly, I think my cashew-milk-making needs a bit of refinement. Even though I followed the recipes in terms of how much water I added, my milk seemed more watery than I expected. There were also some issues with excess grain sneaking through the strainer and into my glass - I may need to get a finer strainer for next time. My blender is also incredibly old - older than me in fact - so probably not the best at grinding up those cashews. I had a lot of pulp left over - more than was shown in the recipe which freaked me out a bit - but again it's probably the blender.

Both recipes say to add a sweeter, vanilla and salt to the mix. Not being a honey eater, I added a little Stevia powder to mine which I think worked well as I did not want the milk to be really sweet anyhow. Maybe next time I will try it without the sweetener just to see what it's like. The vanilla extract on the other hand I'm not so happy with. In my opinion it gives it a really strong vanilla flavor even though I only added a few tiny drops - and to be honest I don't really want my nut milk to taste like vanilla...so next time I'll try leaving that out too.

Since I have so much pulp left over, I am curious to see if I can use it to make something else - gonna have to do some investigating. If you have any tips I'd love to hear them.

** Update ** The milk tastes way better once it's chilled & the strong vanilla flavour faded

Also - I did not use *filtered water* like the recipes said. I do not drink filtered water nor do I have a water filter. I am a bit puzzled as to why every nut milk recipe I see says to use *filtered water* ? IS it simply that the 'types' of people who tend to be interested in drinking nut milk tend to also be health freaks? Or is it that one person used it and then everyone else based their recipes on theirs which used filtered water?...

Also discovered that you can freeze the leftover nut pulp and save it to use in baking or to sprinkle over cereals. Also stumbled upon this pin board which has a few nut pulp recipe ideas. I like the look of this fudge recipe.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Musical healing

I've been listening to Kirin J Callinan a lot lately. He is quite amazing. At first I wasn't sure if I liked his new album 'Embracism' because it is so different to his live performances I've seen - more electro and tight - but over time it grew on me and now I really like it. 

Kirin is one of the few modern musicians who I have a certain amount of respect for. You just get this vibe that he was born to be a performer - he has this presence on stage that only a few performers have - like you just can't take your eyes off him. And while I would describe him as pretty out there - I don't find him pretentious at all, I don't ever feel like he's acting up - they way I do with other musicians - that's just who he is and I love that. I find it really refreshing actually. 

I've seen him play live twice. The first time I saw him was at The Tote sometime in mid 2012 - I didn't know much about him at that stage and I wasn't yet aware of his fondness for dressing up in different styles - and he was sporting what I would call a 'Jo Strummer' look - army boots, cammo pants, singlet, dog tags and this front fringe shaved hairstyle. He looked pretty amazing.

The second time a saw him was at a more low key performance at the Northcote Social Club where I got to hear him play Love Delay with all his reverb pedals which doesn't really come through on the recording. He also has this amazing song Landslide which has reduced me to tears both times I've seen him play it live.

I also started listening to one of the bands he used to be in called Mercy Arms and they have this cool, but incredibly bad quality youtube music video Kept Low. It's very 2007? They kinda remind me of The Horrors meets The Go-Betweens or something.


 Anyway, one of my favourite Kirin J Callinan songs would have to be Thighs -
& Victoria M's good  too.

Simultaneously the creepiest/funniest video you've ever seen.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013


I've decided to start blogging again, for sanity's sake.

It's been a while since I last wrote - almost 2 years to be exact. I can't believe it really. A lot has happened since then - and also very little has happened. I don't feel like I've changed all that much, although I feel older and wiser and more grounded. I've taken some hits, like everyone does, and they've made me stronger but I think they've also made me more cynical - I feel like I've lost all of my naivety and all my innocence. I am fully grown - but sometimes I feel about ten years older than I am and a little weary with life. I'm 24 which seems old when I look back to being 18, but I'm not complaining - 24 is still young really and with age comes wisdom.

This blog won't have a theme really - I'll just post about all sorts of things that come to mind.