About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

01 February 2014

Movie: The Book Thief

Set during World War 2, the story revolves around an adopted girl, Liesel, (it is not completely clear why she is adopted) in a small German town, and the experience of war. Her adopted family hides a Jewish family friend for 2 years, she teaches herself to read - and then falls in love with literature. It is a chronicle of the times where nationalistic songs included hatred of the "non Germans''; where books are burnt and where jobs are dependent on Nazi party allegiances. 

The use of "Death" as the narrator was a stroke of genius in part; spoilt by an annoying voice and some cliched lines. The mangled use of German words in an otherwise English movie is also sometimes annoying; but the story and the acting performances are impressive, especially by Sophie Nélisse as Liesel.

It's a different take on the World War 2 movie - not focused on the politics or the fighting - but rather on the lives the women and children that aren't on the front; and not in the major cities. It's a touching tale of will, hope and bravery; and well worth watching.

26 January 2014

Movie: The Wolf of Wall Street

Despite its many excesses, The Wolf of Wall Street doesn't feel like a long 3 hour movie. It is fast paced, with a dramatic tale of drugs, alcohol, money, sex and greed, based on the life of stockbroker (now turned motivational speaker and sales guru) Jordan Belfort.

The movie features some amazing acting performances - especially by Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill; and while it does tell the tale from Jordan Belfort's perspective; the impact of the pump-and-dump stock trades is not really explored. Instead, the FBI investigation comes across more as inevitable the fall of the anti-hero rather than arising from actual complaints from harmed consumers. 

Nevertheless, it is a highly entertaining movie, that deserves the rich haul of award nominations (and wins).

Viennese New Year‘s Concert

The opening concert of the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival, was effectively a tribute concert to the Viennese New Year's concerts - a concert with a lot of light, happy music. There were a lot of polka and waltzes (many penned by a Strauss), a few operettas (one even penned by Mozart) and a few other well known highlights. 

One of the great things about Richard Cock as a conductor in these types of events, is how he gets the crowd involved and informed - be it little snippets on the pieces about to be played, or getting the crowd singing or clapping along. It certainly makes these concerts a lot more accessible; than the typical classical music concerts.