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World Cinema Showcase

In Film on March 31, 2011 at 2:31 pm

I don’t know about you, but lately I’ve been feeling rather uninspired by the movies. Don’t get me wrong, there have been some good ones out recently – the King’s Speech for example – but all in all I just feel rather unenthused by the whole thing. Maybe I’m going through a phase, but occasionally I just want something different, something remarkable.

Luckily for me (and you) the World Cinema Showcase is now on, and with it comes a whole new level of film – edgy, exotic, interesting, creative, different, and quite often rather remarkable.

These are a bunch of lively movies from around the world which may not have won the big awards, but are hugely successful in their own right. Some will never go on to be released to box-office, so this is your only chance to see them.

The World Cinema Showcase describes this year’s films: “Arthouse old-masters are jostled for attention by genre-fusing Generation Y renegades. In one corner documentary filmmakers cosy up to artists, musicians, photographers and on-line stalkers. In another they risk their lives on the front-lines.”

The best part about this festival is that it’s not hit-and-miss. You know every film you see is going to be good – a bit unlike the NZ Film Festival which covers so many films and genres it can make choosing a movie become like trying to decipher the mystery meat in the school lunch-room.

The Showcase runs in Auckland from 1 – 18 April, Wellington from 14 – 30 April and Dunedin from 5 – 18 May.

Here’s my pick of the films this year… it was so hard to choose!

  • For high-fashionistas: Bill Cunningham New York. Photographer Bill Cunningham is one of the most well-known and well-respected style photographers in the world. This documentary follows the man and his work, his chronicle of fashion as an expression of time, place and individual flair, and his own generosity.
  • For the curious: Freakonomics. A revelatory trip into the questions you may (or may not) have ever asked about how people think, the world, cheating on tests, baby names, bribery and much more.
  • For the artistic, environmental, culture-lovers: Waste Land. Winner of an Academy Award nomination and Festival audience awards worldwide, Waste Land follows New York artist Vik Muinz back to his native Brazil, where he works with outer Rio garbage-pickers on an ambitious art project.
  • For history geeks and big-ticket hitters: Of Gods and Men. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes, this is a sombre and inspiring film, based on a true story, about the struggle of a small band of French monks who find themselves threatened by Islamic extremists during the Algerian Civil War of the 1990s.

Other notable mentions are Rabbit Hole, starring Nicole Kidman, and Operation 8, the only New Zealand film in the line-up.

You can also view this article at nzgirl.co.nz – World Cinema Showcase

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ASOS

In Style on March 31, 2011 at 2:27 pm

I shop on ASOS a lot. And I mean A LOT. I’m moving overseas in a month and I just bought a bunch of clothes from the site yesterday. What was I thinking?? The answer is: I wasn’t. I was caught up in the good prices, the beautiful shoes and jumpers and dresses, and the way they style their models in entire outfits that I want. Now.

To have a look at their latest goodies you can go to asos.com.

The greatest thing about ASOS is that it’s based in the UK. This means amazing sales for us in the Southern Hemisphere – when they’re trying to get rid of all their winter gears, we are just starting to look for that perfect winter coat. Head to their clearance section for some amazing winter deals!

ASOS stocks their house brand as well as designer brands, shoes and accessories, swimwear and jewellery. And it also has a brilliant men’s line. (Presents for the boyfriend anyone?)

They often offer heavy discounts to their members, and have recently brought in free worldwide shipping – Yesterday I didn’t pay a cent for my purchases to be delivered all the way from the U.K. (Purchases which have already been dispatched to NZ, so they tell me). Is that service or what?!

For some added inspiration, try their Fashion Finder page for all the latest celebrity and street style trends.

I admit, I am a tad obsessed. But you should be too.

You can also view this article at nzgirl.co.nz – ASOS online fashion

Macarons merci

In Cake, Travel on March 31, 2011 at 2:23 pm

If Paris is the city of love, then macarons are at its heart. Every sweet shop or patisserie on every corner in Paris displays scores of these colourful and delicious gems.

The paper thin shell leads you into a soft, sugary filling that is unlike any other sweet on this earth. The macaron is better than America’s brownie, better than England’s scone, better than Turkey’s turkish delight. And the French know it.

There is something so stylish about a row of macarons lining a shop window, or your plate. They are striking, charming, unassuming, romantic. And did I mention, to-die-for, melt-in-your-mouth heaven?

Luckily, the macaron (or macaroon as us English-speaking countries call them) is making a come-back outside of France. There are quite a few places in New Zealand where you can buy them, made by real French chefs. And they don’t have to be just for you. They are the perfect gift for a friend instead of chocolates or flowers, or as dessert with cream at a dinner party. Or, as a gorgeous wedding cake. Move over cupcakes, your more exotic and sophisticated cousin is here.

Macarons come in many flavours and generally cost between $2 and $4 each. Believe me, they are worth every penny.

So, do you want to get a bit of French in your day? Treat yourself (or a loved one) and your taste buds; choose the macaron, or three.

Where to find les macarons in Auckland:

And if you’re extra keen, you can make your own. I found a great macaron recipe here.

Bon Appetit!

You can also view this article at nzgirl.co.nz – Macarons Merci