Everything We Loved Review

“There are two types of magic. The kind that make things disappear. And there’s the kind that makes them turn up again.”

I took a bit of a risk in my interview with Max Currie when I said Everything We Loved “is the must see New Zealand film movie playing at this year’s Film Festival.” Thankfully I was right. Despite a micro-budget, the time pressure, a five year old in a lead role, production team members camping in their vehicles, director Max Currie has brought us a touching, moving and somewhat haunting psychological drama which leaves a long lasting impression.

We meet Charlie (Brett Stewart), a reserved man who is desperate to reunite his family. Once a travelling magician with his wife Angela (Sia Trokenheim-Cettina), he now lives in a rundown lifestyle block. Living with him is a young boy. For a brief moment we are made to believe it is his son Hugo. However a quick sequence of events establishes that Hugo is dead. The boy who is there is none other than Tommy (Ben Clarkson), a five year old whose face is all over the news; he was kidnapped. Things get heated when his wife Angela returns to see Tommy. She wants to call the police but Charlie persuades her that he can make them a family again. So begins a rather lukewarm illusion, one which could continue if all three of them move overseas.

Keeping a false illusion alive is a very dangerous game. When appearance vs. reality becomes blurred it can lead to dangerous compromises being made to keep the illusion alive. Every precaution is taken to ensure no suspicion is aroused. Tommy is not allowed to be seen much. However a heart in mouth moment comes as he runs onto the stage while Charlie performs the Zig Zag Girl illusion. “Put Mummy back together!” he screams fervently. Tensions get even higher when he starts playing with a young boy who was in the crowd.

What makes the film brilliant is that it never gets too complicated. It sticks to what works and does a great job with it. One element which I really enjoyed was exploring the mood of “Mommy and Daddy.” Even though a young “son” is present in their lives again, they are never completely happy; consequently they are never really sad either. For most of the film their moods are neutral. For those who have yet to see it, just watch very carefully and try count the number of times Charlie speaks in a genuinely positive tone or Angela smiles sincerely; there are plenty of attempted efforts to do so but it very rarely succeeds. Also, we know both adults do not mean bad. They are benevolent people who are prepared to sacrifice everything -even at the risk of going to prison- to be reunited as a family.

Five year old Ben Clarkson is a natural actor. How he managed to pull off such a sumptuous performance is something only he can answer. Alongside the persuasive, calculated Brett Stewart and an emotionally passionate Sia Trokenheim-Cettina there actually wasn’t much more needed than an odd character to appear every so often to assure us that these characters were living in reality and not some bubble.

Director Max Currie himself must be lauded for doing a great job at bringing everything together. For a film made with limited resources, some crisp cinematography, a poignant musical score alongside a smooth flowing story prevailed. Assisted by the brilliant producers Tom Hern (The Dark Horse) and Luke Robinson ( Evil Dead) the craft of making it the classic New Zealand film it is a lot easier.

I am prepared to forgive the minor shortcomings simply because I loved the film so much; the shaky cameras, the limited musical score and the botched effort to cover Trokenheim’s shoulder tattoo.

Everything We Loved is so far ahead of modern psychological dramas because it captures a situation so agonising to watch and makes it seem so real. From start to finish, we just want to see the reunited family smiling alongside each other, doing activities any young family would do. But we don’t, because it’s all just an illusion.

Ten Fresh, Impressive, and Totally Affordable Father’s Day Gifts You Can Make Yourself

1. Animal Cracker Ice Cream Sandwiches – Kids will love helping make these bite-size beauties. Sandwich ice cream or sherbet between two animal crackers using a melon baller to make mini-scoops. Wrap each sandwich in plastic wrap and freeze. Decorate a plain round tin with circus animal stickers and layer the wrapped sandwiches inside. Since the filled tin will need to be stored in the freezer, you may wish to present Dad with a card listing mysterious clues that eventually lead him to his present in the freezer.

2. Tree of Promises – Purchase a ready-to-plant potted tree, such as a Dogwood, from a nursery or home supply store. Buy fancy tags from a craft supply store (or, make your own on the computer.) Have each family member think of two or three chores or favors they are willing to promise to do for Dad. Younger kids might promise to shine his shoes or read him a story, while teenagers could commit to washing the car or babysitting their young siblings while Mom & Dad have a night on the town. Write each promise on a tag and hang it on the tree for Dad to pluck when he needs a special treat. When all the tags are gone, Dad can plant the tree outside and use it to hold tags for family celebrations for years to come.

3. Daddy Dossier – You Tube has turned us all into amateur cinematographers. Gather your siblings and make a movie of memories for Dad. Visit spots around your area where Dad earned his reputation for being the best Dad in the world… The local baseball field where he, fearlessly and without the aid of controlled substances, taught you how to drive… The row of 40-foot walnut trees that you and Dad planted as seedlings for a school 4-H project… The Wishnik troll doll (am I dating myself?) that Dad gallantly rescued after it accidentally flew out the car window on I-95. Film each other on location documenting the events in your lives that shaped treasured memories of Dad.

4. King for a Day – Plan a full day of activities that Dad loves and type up a fancy itinerary on your computer. Entries might include breakfast in bed, followed by a round of golf, followed by a picnic in the park, followed by his choice of movies and so on. Put the itinerary in a box and wrap with pretty paper and ribbon. Present it on a tray along with the breakfast in bed.

5. Thrill of the Grill – Mix up a couple of barbeque spice rubs for grilling. Here are two good recipes:

CURRY-CAYENNE RUB – A curry-based rub for chicken, beef or pork

In a large bowl, combine 1/3 cup curry powder, 3 tablespoons each sugar, freshly ground black pepper, onion salt, and dried leaf thyme, crumbled, 2 tablespoons garlic salt, and 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper. Mix well and store in airtight container.

SWEET & SASSY RUB – A sweet-spicy rub for fish, poultry and meat

In a large bowl, combine ½ cup paprika, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 teaspoon each freshly ground black pepper and garlic powder, and ½ teaspoon onion powder. Mix well and store in airtight container.

Put the rubs in airtight bottles or jars and add pretty labels. Buy a large washtub (that can later be filled with ice for chilling drinks), a bag of charcoal, grilling tools, an apron and perhaps a 6-pack of beer. Arrange all the items in the washtub and add a big bow.

6. Storytime – This is a great gift for grandfathers. Choose one day a week, or one day a month, depending on your availability, to read aloud to your recipient. Pick a book you both like and read a chapter each visit. Sure, you could just buy a couple of books on CD, but that’s not the point. This is actually nothing more than a commitment to spend time with a loved one. Besides, with a book on CD you can’t stop and discuss the plot with the reader, or share a cup of tea, or a hug.

7. Cookie Emergency Kit – Nothing tastes better than freshly baked cookies, still warm from the oven. Mix up cookie doughs in three or four flavors you know Dad will like. An assortment of chocolate chip, oatmeal, peanut butter and sugar cookies makes a good combo. Shape the doughs into logs and wrap each in parchment paper. Attach a tag with baking instructions to each log of dough. Buy a nonstick cookie sheet, an oven mitt, and a metal spatula. Arrange the logs of dough, mitt and spatula on the cookie sheet and tie with a pretty ribbon. Dad can store the doughs in the freezer and lop off a chunk whenever he is craving homemade cookies. He can bake a whole plateful or just slice off enough dough to make one or two cookies at a time. (Like anybody just eats one or two cookies at a time!)

8. Young Wine – This is a great gift for a young Dad-to-be. Ask the folks at your local wine shop to help you pick out a wine that needs to age for several years before it becomes truly spectacular. Give it to the Dad with a note that says, “Drink this wine to celebrate your baby’s 13th birthday,” or “Do not open until the day you write your first school tuition check.”

9. Tub-o-Treats – Maybe Dallas Cowboys season tickets are not in your budget, but you can still surprise Dad with an impressive gift that keeps on giving. Collect lots of little things that Dad can use while he watches his favorite sports events on TV. Wrap each one in pretty paper and ribbons and put them in a large bucket or canvas tote. Let Dad open one gift every time he sits down to watch a sports event. Items might include a large tin of gourmet nuts, a baseball cap with his team’s logo, a Rubik’s Cube, a beverage can cozy, a case of microwave popcorn, a stadium blanket, a TV remote holder and a book about his favorite sport.

10. Cook the Book – If you like to cook and your Dad lives nearby, this is for you. Buy a cookbook with recipes for foods Dad likes. Wrap it in fancy paper and include a special handmade coupon with the card. The coupon entitles the bearer to one recipe of his choice per month, prepared and delivered by you. For example, if Dad has a sweet tooth, you might give him a dessert cookbook. The card could say something like, “Real men eat dessert first. Here’s a coupon for one sweet treat a month for the next year. You pick it and I’ll make it.”

Hong Kong Transit – A Day Stop in Asia’s World City

Although millions of people pass through Hong Kong every year, on their way from here to there, many of them don’t really know what are the best ways to spend a day in this exciting metropolis.

This article will show you how to cover Hong Kong’s most popular attractions on a day-long stopover.

After clearing customs and immigration, proceed to the luggage storage counter at the ‘Meeters and Greeters Hall’, where you can store your trolley or bag till you come back…

Buy an “Octopus Card” from the Airport Express Counter at the Arrivals Hall and hop on the Airport Express Train, with which you can travel all the way to Hong Kong Station.

Victoria Peak (or simply “The Peak”) is one of Hong Kong’s most popular tourist attractions and probably the best starting point. Having your breakfast or morning coffee while enjoying some spectacular views is definitely a nice way to start your Hong Kong day-tour.

The Peak Tram is the most popular (and scenic) way of getting to The Peak. It operates daily, 7 am – 12 midnight and climbs the full distance in approximately 7 minutes.

A short walk from Hong Kong Station (exit C) will bring you to the Lower Terminus, on Garden Road, where you can buy the ticket and board the tram (you can also pay with your “Octopus Card”)

Pacific Coffee, near the “upper terminus”, is open daily from as early as 7:30 am, and is the best place to enjoy your “coffee with a view” at such an early hour.

Down from “The Peak” walk back towards Hong Kong Station and through “the elevated walkway” to the pier from which the Star Ferry departs to Tsim sha Tsui. This historic ferry route is very popular with tourists and has long become one of Hong Kong’s most prominent icons.

From the ferry building, turn right and walk along the waterfront to the Avenue of Stars: Hong Kong’s answer to Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, where floor plaques of Hong Kong film industry’s who’s who can be seen.

This is also the best place to take photos of Hong Kong’s spectacular skyline.

From here, you can take a short walk to the Hong Kong Museum of History, where “the story of Hong Kong” is told… From the geological changes that took place hundreds of millions of years ago, through prehistoric eras, notable historical events and until present day. The museum is fairly rich and boasts plenty of interesting exhibits.

Continue to Nathan Road, Kowloon’s main thoroughfare, and proceed through Jordan Road to Canton Road, which is popularly known as Jade Street.

Jade and its products are the specialty of most of the shops along this section of Canton Road, as well as of those in the neighboring Jade Market, and there is certainly a lot to see (and to buy…). From Jade Street. you can turn right to Ning Po Street , where many traditional Chinese shops and businesses can be found.

The Old Tin Hau Temple, just a few minutes walk from the Jade Market, was built in the 1880s and is one of Kowloon’s oldest temples. It is dedicated to Tin Hau (Matsu), Goddess of the sea, protector of seafarers and one of Hong Kong’s most beloved deities.

From the temple, you can either walk or take the MTR to Mong Kok area, where some of Hong Kong’s best open-air markets can be found:

As its name denotes, Ladies’ Market specializes in women’s clothing, accessories, cosmetics, and the like, although you can find here more than a few stalls that sell men’s and children’s products, including toys, clothes, bags, jeans and watches, just to name a few…

Sai Yeung Choi Street South boasts shops of consumer electronic products at street level and upstairs bookstores above.

Fa Yuen Street concentrates many retailers of sports equipment and clothing, while Fa Yuen Street Market, in the north part of Fa Yuen Street, is full of shops selling bargain-priced trendy fashion and casual wear for men, women and children.

While in Mong Kok, you should also make a point to visit the Goldfish Market, the Flower Market and the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden (or just “Bird Garden), where dozens of bird shops are located and hundreds of colorful songbirds in exquisitely crafted cages can be seen…

Mong Kok is also packed with many authentic eateries and restaurants where you can enjoy some delicious local food at reasonable prices:

Curry A La King, on 88 Soy Street, is a paradise for curry lovers, serving a wide selection of scrumptious curries from different Asian cuisines.

Satay King, on ladies market, specializes in Southeast Asian satays.

MongKok Fung Shing Restaurant, on 749 Nathan Road, is known for its superb dim-sum and delicious crispy chicken.

Lucky Corner Restaurant, on 146 Sai Yeung Choi Street South, is a rather humble eatery which has been serving some of the best Wonton Noodles in Hong Kong for God knows how many years.

Little Sheep (4th floor, 16 Argyle Street)is one of Hong Kong’s most favorite hotpot restaurants.

Fu Kei Restaurant, in King Wah Centre, is serving fabulous food from different Chinese cuisines.

That’s it… You can now take the MTR to Central, from which you link to Hong Kong Station (there is a pedestrian passage) and continue with the Airport Express, back to Hong Kong Airport.

Wholesale Candle Making Supplies That Save You Money

Wholesale candle making supplies often seem economical only to chandlers with thriving businesses or large storage areas. Websites that advertise wholesale candle making supplies carry statements such as: “Wholesale prices available on all supplies purchased in large quantities of the same item.” The next paragraph informs you that they define a “large quantity” of wax as five hundred pounds or more. Where would you store five hundred pounds of wax – and how long would it take to use that much wax? More to the point, how could you work that cost into your tight budget?

You wish someone would offer wholesale candle making supplies in quantities that could save you money without requiring huge purchases. You wish there was a source for beginning or small scale crafts people and hobbyists.

There is such a source, and it may be closer than you think.

Wholesale candle making supplies that save you money may be as close as your neighborhood recycling bins. You may not find enough to launch a booming business as a chandler, but you may find more than you expect. Get permission to raid neighbors’ recycling bins, and you may have plenty of supplies without spending a penny.

Start with these five ideas, and you’ll soon be adding some of your own.

  1. Wax: Almost everyone has scraps of leftover wax – and wax is never actually garbage, even if you and your neighbors have been throwing it into recycling bins. Wicks of chunky pillars burn to the end, their wax centers melt away, and thick shells of outer wax are all that remain. Broken tapers, unable to stand, also find their way into recycling bins. Think of the occasions when wax stubs are left over at community weddings, funerals, and holidays. Ask neighbors, schools, churches, synagogues, and other groups. Wholesale supplies such as wax are often free for the taking.
  2. Wicks: Wholesale candle making supplies such as wicks are not as costly as wax. Nevertheless, let’s save you money. Remember those broken tapers you collected because they couldn’t be used on dinner tables? Each one has a perfectly good length of wick. Half-burnt stubs from tall wedding and funeral tapers also offer wicking, often long enough for short pillars or votives and tea lights. Pieces of cotton string can be dipped into wax and used as wicks, too. No one needs to know that your wholesale supplies almost went to a landfill.
  3. Molds: Molds are perhaps the most easily found of wholesale candle making supplies that save you money. You have to remember only two things. Molds must be able to resist wax that is as hot as 180 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit – and must be sturdy enough to support hardening wax. Use containers that held yogurt, cream cheese, or other dairy products. Cut milk cartons to a perfect mold height. Use containers such as old cups or dessert dishes – and leave your finished creations in them. Tell friends what you need, and you will likely receive many delightful molds.
  4. Fragrances: Actually, many of the wax stubs you collect will already be scented. Try to melt similar scents together – or blend scents that you think will create a fresh, new fragrance. Fragrances are not inexpensive, and a couple bottles of your favorite scents will seem like wholesale candle making supplies, since a few drops is all you need for an entire project. For unusual fragrances, try stirring a bit of curry powder or crushed herbs into your melted wax.
  5. Dyes: Your collection of wax stubs and broken tapers probably contain all of the dye you will need. There is another source of wholesale candle making supplies, however, that we mentioned only briefly above: natural plant material. Steep beets, coffee grounds, curry powder, herbs, onion skins, or tea in melted wax to create natural caramel colors. Try other vegetable materials to produce pastel colors for your luminaries.

Conclusion

Wholesale candle making supplies don’t have to be purchased. With creativity, initiative, and a little soap and water, you can save money on most of what you need. Remember, the fact that we call them wholesale candle making supplies does not mean they can never be free or nearly free. They can!