The World According to Renee

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Review: Tiger Eyes

Let me preface this by saying Tiger Eyes is one of my favourite novels and I can probably recite most of it by heart. I have high expectations of a film version. 

Tiger Eyes tells the story of Davey Wexler and her family after the death of her father in a store robbery gone wrong. The family move to New Mexico to be with Davey’s aunt Bitsy and uncle Walter so they can grieve, heal, and find their feet again. In the process, Davey finds a couple of friends, Wolf and Jane. 

First, the bad bits. There are minor differences between the novel and film. Minka, the cat, is left in the care of Lenaya (Davey’s best friend) and not taken to New Mexico. Bitsy is Gwen’s sister, not Adam’s. Davey wins a part in the school’s talent show, not the lead in a musical. These are minor differences, so why were they changed? Take the cat to NM just to appease purists. I concede it makes more sense for Bitsy and Gwen to be sisters, however Bitsy loses that sense of her own loss as well as Davey’s musings that she and her father had the same parents like her and little brother Jason. As for the musical/talent show, I suppose it was a licensing issue to get the rights to Oklahoma! so I concede that point. There’s also an extra scene in which Wolf takes Tiger to a traditional ceremony. Personally, I like the addition as it adds a sense of belonging for Tiger, which is what she’s really searching for. 

Luckily, the good bits far outweigh the negatives. Lawrence Blume (yes, Judy Blume’s son) directed the film and he’s done a fantastic job. The script was co-written by Judy and Lawrence, preserving most of the dialogue word-for-word, especially in the first scenes. In the novel, much of Davey’s musings are internalised, and they’ve done a great job in externalising those thoughts by having Davey saying them aloud. The character of Miriam, the therapist, is omitted completely. I think this works on film for Davey but not necessarily for Gwen, Davey’s mother. She’s messed up and it’s clear she needs help. In fact, Walter says this to Bitsy but it’s not clear if the extra help is given. Some of Miriam’s lines are given to either Bitsy or Wolf. In the climactic scene of Davey reliving all of That Night, it works perfectly on film, much better than in the novel. Combine all of these elements with Lawrence Blume’s powerful direction and you’ve got one hell of a film. 

There are a couple of things I don’t understand and will have to analyse more on a second viewing. When I read the novel as a teen, I desperately wanted something to happen between Wolf and Tiger. In the film, they kiss but it just seems a bit icky and gross. Wolf is so much older than her, and she needs a friend, not romantic complications. Wolf also mentions he is going away… but he never seems to. He’s always there, showing up when you’re not expecting him to. It’s a tad stalkerish, actually. 

7.5 out of 10 popcorns




June 18, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Behind the Candelabra

This post contains spoilers

It’s the movie that is “too gay for Hollywood”; the story of Scott Thorson’s relationship with Liberace in the late 70s and early 80s.

The backstory to this film is legendary. All the major Hollywood studios turned it down for being “too gay” so eventually it was screened on HBO. During the premiere, the ratings were impressive but even more impressive during the encore screening. How does a film with three big names become relegated to a made-for-TV biopic?

In lesser hands, this biopic may indeed be too gay, but not with Steven Soderbergh at the helm. Admittedly, the film does start very kitsch and campy, but hey, it’s about Liberace, Mr Showmanship himself. Once you ignore 42 year old Matt Damon playing a 17 year old and how much fun the lead actors obviously had in the kissing scenes, the film becomes so much more than “too gay for Hollywood”.

Based on Thorson’s memoir of his time with Liberace, this film is everything you’d expect. It is chock full of opulence without arrogance. Michael Douglas portrays Liberace with care. In the beginning, it seems as though the performances are strained; they’re playing real people and it seems to get the better of them. As the film progresses, you completely forget that these are two straight men playing gay lovers. Even as a huge Matt Damon fan, I had to giggle at some of his costumes (hello, sequined G-string) but hey, that’s what I’d expect in a glimpse of Liberace’s life.

Perhaps the details are really what makes the movie. The scene where Liberace lay dying is shocking. I assume CGI was used to get that effect but boy, is it ever effective. It’s shocking, it’s blunt, it’s in-your-face. In comparison, Matt’s face post-surgery is obviously fake and it’s hard to ignore, but I suppose that’s the point. In places, Liberace gets creepy, but this is unsurprising to anyone who has read anything about him (after his death, that is. Prior to his death, Liberace would sue anyone who claimed his was gay).

Behind the Candelabra is a story about power, love, friendship, wealth and what happens when it goes awry. By the final shot, you’ll remember the story and not the flaws.

7.5 out of 10 popcorns. And go find some Liberace clips on YouTube.

June 6, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Dyson DC39 Animal Vacuum Cleaner

This is my dog:


This is my carpet:Image

This is my carpet after using the D39: Image

As you can see, I have a white dog with long fur. She sheds twice a year… for 6 months each time. We need a super duper, extra strength hardcore machine. And I think we’ve found it.

The Dyson DC39 (the purple one) is specially designed for houses where animals think they’re humans. I found the machine picks up everything- by the end, I had half a shopping bag full of fur and dirt. (By comparison, when I brush my dog, I often end up with a full shopping bag of fur).

I have an average sized living room. I had to empty the machine 5 times and de-clog the brush twice. Now, I don’t expect miracles; my dog has long fur and it will clog any brush. The tiny wheels on the machine also clogged, which was much harder to remove than from the easily removable spinning brush. The canister is 2 click emptiness: Click once to remove it from the machine and click again to empty it. One more click to put it back into the cleaner.

All in all, it took me about 40 minutes to clean the whole room. Most of that time was stuffing around emptying the canister and de-clogging the brush. With my old cleaner, it took me about an hour because that cleaner just wasn’t up to the job. This vacuum picks up everything so check the floor before vacuuming. The other thing I found was that it created a lot of static so fur was sticking to the wand bit.

4.5 out of 5, because it’s annoying to stop every 5 minutes to empty.


June 1, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment