Sunday, November 8, 2015


What I've Been Watching
Peaky Blinders S2 - S2 picks up a few years after the first and the Shelby gang are expanding with Campbell hot on their heels as always. A few unexpected turns with some new characters add even more depth and drama to this already excellent show. 6 tight and gritty episodes with great acting, especially from the leads.
Brooklyn 99 - I love this quirky comedy, if you are missing the ensemble style comedy like Parks and Recreations, then this is for you. Set in homicide in Brooklyn, and centered around the hilarious comedy style of Andy Samberg, it follows Andy and his fellows detectives as they bumble their way through arrests and stake outs.
Better Call Saul - this is my pick of the month. It starts slow and you wonder whether it is worth continuing, but hang in there, because by the end of the second episode you are hooked. It's gritty but not as gritty as Breaking Bad. It has a lovely heart to it and that is thanks to the stunning performance from Bob Odenkirk who is not yet known as Saul, but Jimmy. You also see flashbacks to earlier parts of his life. Michael McKean also stars as Chuck, Jimmy's brother, also a lawyer, but with a heartbreaking health issue. His performance is solid as you would imagine and really adds depth to the show. Jonathan Banks also appears as Mike and you see the beginnings of Jimmy/Saul and Mike's relationship. The cinematography is similar to Breaking Bad and also filmed in. There are some interesting cases and all add to the over-arching story of how Jimmy gets his start and his relationship with his brother and those around him.
Selma - this was powerful and well acted, the first 15 minutes pack a powerful punch and you're on a emotional ride thereon in. But totally worth it, David Oyelowo is stunning as King.
X+y - this is a lovely indie film about an aspie kid who is a maths genius, and how he tries to fit in and use his abilities. Young Asa Butterfield is stunning as Nathan, and Sally Hawkins brilliant as ever as his mother. Rafe Spall mostly good as the maths teacher who guides Nathan.
Paper planes - is a family movie, a true Australian story about a young kid who becomes a paper plane master. Very well done and worth a look.
Hello I must be going - little indie about a young woman who moves back in with her parents whilst going through a divorce, but when she meets the younger son of family friends she gets her spark back.
Esio Trot - this is a lovely adaptation of the Roald Dahl story starring Judi Dench and Dustin Hoffman. A gentle romance for older people with delightful light humour spliced with melancholy.
If I stay - stars Chloe Grace Moretz as a young musician who after a serious accident faces a crossroads in her life. Well acted, but predictable.
Devil's knot - based on the West Memphis Three story and well done with Reese Witherspoon as Pam Hobbs and Colin Firth as Ron Lax, the investigator.
Advanced Style - is a documentary based on the blog and book by Ari Seth Cohen. Ari decided to photograph and comment on the style of older women on the street in New York as a homage to his grandmother who he missed. The results are stunning, these women are funky and sassy and never boring. The documentary follows some of the key women and their lives, funny and poignant, this is must see. 

What I've Been Reading

An Astronaut's guide to life on earth - Chris Hadfield - this is one of the best books I have read this year. Part memoir, part information about being an astronaut, part self help book, this is just sublime reading. Chris has a friendly, easy going style of writing that still is intelligent and informative. The life he has led is extraordinary yet he is completely down-to-earth (pun intended) in his delivery and manner. I loved reading about his long journey towards space and all the geeky tidbits about living in space. How they sleep, clean their teeth, go to the bathroom, repair things and so on, it's utterly fascinating. A must read for sure.

The Girl With The Dogs - Anna Funder - this lovely novella is based on a Chekhov short story and is about a woman who briefly escapes from her mundane life and the impact of that on her and her family. Tightly written, it makes you want more and could easily have been expanded into a short novel, but then maybe not, as the briefness of the novella gives you pause for thought and wonder and that is always a good thing with well written prose.

Breakfast at Tiffany's - Truman Capote - it was lovely to revisit this classic novella. Very different in feel to the movie, with many of the rougher aspects of the prose left out. Capote wrote this with Marilyn Monroe in mind and you can see her in the role as you read. His language and phrasings are stunning and much of it was indeed used in the movie dialogue. It gets messy towards the end when Holly Golightly is no longer present in the action but merely spoken about. But still a classic and worth re-reading if you haven't read it for a while.

What I've Been Listening To

Fleetwood Mac - every album has pretty much been on loop the entire month leading up to the concert. Each album a masterpiece and every song a classic.

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