Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bottom 5 worst song lyrics in the world (according to Johnny Sharp)

List by Johnny Sharp from the book Crap lyrics : a celebration of all the very worst pop lyrics of all time -- ever!.

Pop has never been shy of asking searching questions of its listeners. Why does it always rain on me? Does your chewing gum lose its flavour on the bedpost overnight? Are we human or are we dancer?
- Johnny Sharp,

Terrible confession: Sometimes, when I'm feeling really juvenile, I perform a keyword search for a curse word and request any title that looks relatively interesting. Which is how I ended up with Johnny Sharp's book Crap lyrics on my desk. I never thought there'd be a time when I would be glad to possess such an awful sense of humour because this, mes amis, is a very funny book. Funny in that laugh-out-loud kinda way and, also, in that wince-because-you-can't-believe-he-just-said-that kinda way, too. Any songs I hadn't heard of I looked up. Did I agree or disagree with Sharp's comments? Sometimes I did - I Want To Sex You Up by Colour Me Badd (remember them from the 90s? Unfortunately, I do). Sometimes I didn't - Wanted Dead or Alive by Bon Jovi (I'm always going to be biased about Bon Jovi). Sometimes he made me see songs I already knew in a different light - Horse With No Name by America (I was flabbergasted because that song was one I adored as a child but Sharp sees it as obscure and illogical) *cue tear* As to why I've chosen the bottom 5 as my list (i.e. #6 - #10), I thought they were way more interesting than the top 5 :)

Can you think of any songs that have awful lyrics?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Top 5 foreign language films of all time (as voted by Guardian readers)

List by Guardian readers

"Film memory has kept them all for us, beyond death or, better, beyond youth."
- Dumitru Ion Suchianu

I have terrible taste in films - I know it, my family knows it and so do my friends. So much so that when my nephews want to have a 'Bad movie night in' they look to me to make the choices. I'm still not sure whether or not that's a compliment. Some nights it keeps me up. (Kidding). Whenever friends suggest getting together to see a movie I cringe way down deep inside because, ultimately, I know this means that we're going to watch one of two types of film: something so arty and obscure as to be beyond my comprehension or, worse, something so touchy-feely-girly-romantic that I'm embarrassed to be a girl. Either way, I'm on the outside looking in. When it's my turn to choose they groan in exasperation because 1) someone will die a spectacularly glorious death complete with explosions and blood on-camera and 2) there will be no romance unless there is a most awesome knock-down drag out fight where the bad guy gets beheaded first. Or handcuffed. To date I'm not sure which pleases me most. Needless to say, I don't get asked to the movies much by anybody including my two best friends. (I have only two best friends - I convince myself it's about quality not quantity instead of the truth which is that nobody can stand us except...us).

Monday, July 25, 2011

Top 5 strange, random, logical, statistical things I learned about our top 5 blog

List by Tosca

The library connects us with the insight and knowledge, painfully extracted from Nature, of the greatest minds that ever were, with the best teachers, drawn from the entire planet and from all our history, to instruct us without tiring, and to inspire us to make our own contribution to the collective knowledge of the human species. I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries.
- Carl Sagan, Cosmos (which we have in book and DVD)

Danielle and I realised in May that our Top 5 Goodies blog had reached 20,000 hits. We had a quiet celebration here in our cubicle, an almost-but-not-quite victory dance that involved cheesecake and grins all around. I don't mind admitting that back at the start I never really had a clue where this whole thing - Two Girls and a Blog (yes, with capital letters) - could end up. I only knew that we wanted to write about library books. It had been in the back of our minds for a few weeks and we'd discussed it up one side and down the other until, one day, I mocked it up and then, suddenly, we were live. We weren't even sure we'd have an audience. I mean, let's face it, both of us are quite eclectic readers and are fairly opinionated in our own way (probably me more so than Danielle). I had to ask myself who'd want to deliberately tune in to what amounts to, in my case anyway, a major dose of overshare and an overinflated sense of self-importance? As it turns out, quite a few people. We thought this was just going to be about library books. And it is, there's no denying that, but it's also been an opportunity to share how much books influence a large part of who we are, where we've been and what we hope to become. If nothing else, it's given some of you an insight into my crazy, madcap family. And we are aware, everyday, of just how incredibly lucky we are that others want to read about that, too. I think, just between you, me (and the entire blogverse), we've had a pretty good run of it so far and we hope to ride it out for a little while longer. Thank you, everybody, for reading and/or commenting! It truly, truly could not have lasted as long otherwise. Today's post is simply a summation of some of our blog statistics: the strange, the random and the logical. Which pretty much sums up this blog, really :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Top 5 highest-grossing Bollywood films

List by Tosca

I adore Bollywood movies. They're so full of life, colour, drama, music, romance, action, emotion and, let's face it, sometimes cheesey humour. The women are always beautiful and graceful and the men extremely goodlooking. My first tentative foray into Bollywood films wasn't a success at all, though. I had no clue about anything. I didn't know what actors or actresses I liked, I wasn't too sure if I would prefer the comedies over the dramas and I was totally unaware that some of the films are about three hours long. Three hours! I have the attention span of a goldfish so I felt my heart sink right then and there. It was about that time that a colleague at Manurewa Library, Sunita, decided to step in and help. Brilliant for me, probably not so much for her :) Thanks to Sunita I was hooked from her very first recommendation - Baghban starring Amitabh Bachchan - and have never looked back. Baghban is, essentially, a romance. Admittedly one that is 170 minutes long, but it was so beautiful I cried my heart out. How could I not when Raj and Pooja were separated, never having spent a night apart during their marriage, and finding it incredibly hard to stay positive when living in different parts of the city? I remember dad passed through the lounge at one stage and paused. After standing still for about five minutes he sat down and watched the last hour with me. Absolutely quiet. Didn't say a word. Then, when it finished, he took it down to his room and watched it from the start. Around this time mum was living half the week in Kaitaia and half the week here in Auckland and, maybe, it reminded him of that. I'm not sure. I didn't feel comfortable enough to ask. It would be another two years before he felt ready to move up there altogether with mum and, in the meantime, we watched a lot of Bollywood movies - me the romantic comedies (of course) and dad the action movies. In light of the fact that we're celebrating the NZ International Film Festival (NZFF) this month, I was kinda curious about what the highest-grossing Bollywood films would be which, of course, led to this post. (Longwinded explanation that I managed to sum up in one sentence).

Query: Do you watch Bollywood films?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Top 5 French films

List by Michelle

"Photography is truth. The cinema is truth twenty-four times per second."
- Jean-Luc Goddard

This month we're celebrating the NZ International Film Festival (NZFF) by highlighting various international films and/or NZFF festival-related actors, actresses, screenplay writers, authors (for books-into-film) and directors whose DVDs we hold. This particular list, while not directly related to NZFF 2011, highlights some great French films that you may not have seen. Thank you, Michelle, for the list idea :)

If you'd like more film-related recommendations make sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook! Everyday we'll be recommending films from our DVD collection. You can find all NZFF-related tweets using the hashtag #nzff.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Top 5 most requested titles for June 2011

List by Natalie and Tosca

Kia ora and gidday! Today's post is a simple one that serves only to share our top 5 most requested titles for June 2011. Enjoy :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Top 5 flicks for chicks who hate chick flicks

List by Annie

"That Sergeant Angel's coming into your shop. Get a look at his arse."
- Hot fuzz [DVD] directed by Edgar Wright

I don’t do chick flicks – or chick lit. So, when I’m with friends and we want to break out an all-girls DVD night...these are the movies I’d pick. And the quote explains the appeal of some of these...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Top 5 tearjerkers to make you happy

List by Jo (Jo is the fabulous editor of our monthly What's On eNewsletter and provides a great view of what events are taking place across Auckland Libraries)

My friends and I have all agreed there’s a lot of romance about sad movies, as in, we love them!! Wasn't it Aristotle who said a good cry "cleanses the mind?" It's no accident that many of us are addicted to the catharsis points of said movies, which move us to weep, which purges the toxins (kind of the same effect as ingesting antioxidants), which then elevates our mood. So, to continue our tribute to the 2011 NZFF here’s a list of five films that will lift your spirits by first making you sob.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Top 5 movies for a mini Film Festival

List by Danielle

'Well, not to worry, child: It's good news. There's a tall, handsome beast in your future.'
~ Coraline (2009)

Between the ticket price, and the babysitting - and the general inertia that sets in on a winter evening, after the kids are in bed - I don't get out to see a lot of movies. And sometimes I just need to be reminded how great movies are, and how varied, and how full of unexpected delights.

This year, as Tosca and I discussed what the Auckland Libraries' tweetstream might celebrate movie-wise, when neither of us were planning to attend more than 1 Film Festival movie at most, I had a very delayed brain wave. Auckland Libraries: we stock movies. And many of those very same movies have played in previous Film Festivals. And I haven't seen most of them.

Why not hold my own mini Film Festival??? Think of it - the ticket price is more manageable, and not only can I choose when and where I watch it, I can make sure everyone's turned off their cellphone! WIN-WIN. Now, I'm not knocking the real Film Festival, the brochure each year fills me with wistful, vicarious movie-watching delight and anticipation. But if you're strapped for time and cash, why not take a look at what your library has to offer?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Top 5 treats from Studio Ghibli

List by Danielle

'Simply put, I think that a film which is made specifically for children and made with a lot of devotion, can also please adults. The opposite is not always true. The single difference between films for children and films for adults is that in films for children, there is always the option to start again, to create a new beginning.'
~ Hayao Miyazaki (interview at Midnight Eye)


Long, long ago, in a time far, far in the past where I had no children and could indulgently watch films at will and with tremendous frequency, I remember seeing Spirited Away for the first time, and being sooo excited by it that I ran home and made my nearest and dearest watch it, too. The colours of this animated feature were so vibrant, the mythology so different from anything I'd seen, the story such a surreal journey... it was a world away from any other animated movie I'd ever seen before. This was the start of my love affair with director Hayao Miyazaki, and the magical Studio Ghibli.

One of the neat things about now having kids, of course, is introducing them to movies like these. I was curious - would the imagery be too scary? Would the stories be too unusual for kids who normally scarfed down a diet of Barbie and Disney? Would a dubbed movie hit their ears weirdly? The answer is a walloping NO. They LOVED these movies, starting with Spirited Away and taking off from there. The visual humour and charm are universal, the characters' adventures as intriguing for them as they were for me.

Studio Ghibli have put out many excellent movies, and I haven't seen all of them yet; I can't quite bring myself to watch Grave of the fireflies yet, which is an anti-war movie set at the end of WWII and sounds like a pretty harrowing experience. It's exciting to see that there's a new Ghibli movie in this year's Film Festival, Arrietty, based on Mary Norton's The Borrowers. It's the directorial debut of new Ghibli director, Hiromasa Yonebayashi. "Arrietty is a joyous depiction of an unlikely friendship," says one reviewer, Sarah Louise Dean, who praises the depth, humour and simple beauty that Ghibli brings to the classic story (read her review here).

Friday, July 1, 2011

5 films I'm watching over the next 2 weeks to gear up for the NZ International Film Festival 2011

List idea by Danielle (because Tosca was stuck for how to play this idea out), introduction by Tosca

"I've spent several years in Hollywood, and I still think the movie heroes are in the audience."
- Wilson Mizner

Confession: I have never attended an International Film Festival. Not ever. I've always wanted to. But I've never felt that I could go on my own. I've attended gigs by myself, travelled a good chunk of NZ alone, done the Big Day Out solo and even travelled to, and around, New Orleans and Memphis all by my lonesome. And greatly enjoyed it all. But I'm too chicken to go to the film fest on my own. My two BFFs and gazillion siblings have never had the same taste in movies as me. This was never more clear to me than having to see the Star Wars prequels at the picture theatres, in the front row, alone. As a result I have never felt comfortable enough to ask them to come with me. I always hoped that would change. Every year, for the past five years, I have taken a copy of the programme home and faithfully marked every film that caught my interest with a red asterisk. Often I would even take the time to look up alternate films the directors or actors or actresses had been involved with. It became my yearly *wishlist.* Or at least, the wishlist I would fulfill had I the nerve to do so. I have decided, though, that this year is *the* year. I'm going to see Guilty pleasures, which is a documentary that looks at the fantasies that Mills & Boon romance novels promote, and some of the lives of the people who read and produce them. I have to say that I'm quite excited about it all. To maintain this buzz I'm going to spend the next couple of weeks watching/re-watching four of the retro films that'll be screening this year. My fifth, and rather unusual choice, is José Padilha's 2007 prequel to Elite squad 2 which is also screening this month. They're not a top 5 so much as a simple list of 5 :)

Query: Are you attending the NZ International Film Festival 2011? What are you hoping to see?