Monday, January 15, 2018

THE BEST OF 2017: reviews

This is my usual fave list for the previous year.
It was a great year for reading and television and live music.

I do need to see more films at the movies and listen to more new music.
Enjoy, and please let me know your faves!

Top 20 Books
Hunger by Roxane Gay
Without a word of a doubt, this is easily my book of the year, read about why here.

Everywhere I Look by Helen Garner
A lovely compendium of Helen's greatest Non Fiction/essay writing. A perfect showcase for Australia's best writer bar none. Spare, funny, dramatic, real.

Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose

Brilliant novel of art and love and crossroads and New York. Includes Marina Abramovic. I loved this novel so much and cannot talk it up enough.

Devotion by Patti Smith
A Teeny little book about why Patti writes, so brilliant, and leaving you wanting so much more.

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
Stunning Autobiography of his life, music and most surprising of all, his struggle with mental illness.

East West by Mohsin Hamid
Superb, modern novel about two young lovers trying to find their way in the backdrop of war. Terrorism, Refugees, The World.

Reckoning by Magda Szubanski
Magnificent Autobiography of National Treasure Magda. Growing up Aussie, Travel, War, Sexuality, Feminism, Comedy.

View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman
Collection of Non Fiction and essays from the master, divine!

Only by Caroline Baum
Remarkable autobiography growing up an only child to European parents.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer
Amazing novel of WWII, romance, holocaust, science, stones, history.

Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami
Short stories from one of my favourite writers, all about how men cope (or do not) without women in their lives.

Ghost Empire by Richard Fidler
Great history/travel/memoir about the Byzantium Period of history.

The Flaneur by Edmund White
Edmund describes being a Flaneur in Paris.

Juliet's Answer by Glenn Dixon
Verona, travel, romance, Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare, perfection.

Museum of Words by Georgia Blain
A dying woman's last book, about words, their importance and what is feels like to begin to lose your words. Heartbreakingly brilliant!

Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
Small novel about love and sex later in life, wonderful!

Stories I Tell Myself: Growing up with Hunter S Thompson by Juan F Thompson
Outstanding memoir about growing up with Hunter as your Dad!

Cheech is Not My Real Name by Cheech Marin
Hilarious and Intelligent memoir from the original stoner, Cheech!

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
Incredible novel about the death of Lincoln's son.

The Dry by Jane Harper
Australian novel of the year, family murder/suicide in the outback...or is it!?

Top 20 Television
Twin Peaks
I have never seen anything like this on TV. Lynch is a Genius, and MacLachlan was outstanding. Mind genuinely blown.

The Leftovers
The third and final season of this unusual show may have well made up for the extreme disappointment of the Lost finale. Justin Theroux and Carrie Coon knocked it out the park throughout and then some in the final episode. Utter genius.

Game of Thrones
Continues to build and build and the Dragons finally came of ages. Also women kicked arse!!!

Fragile and honest, not just about Tambor's Trans character, but about a family, who you just want to embrace.

Handmaid's Tale
Heartbreaking, scary, freaky dystopian adaptation of the classic feminist novel.

This is Us
Brilliant family drama told over various timelines. Unique, unusual, real.

Great modern romance with a twist, darkly funny and incredibly real.

Search Party
Hard to describe without spoilers, but 4 friends look for a lost acquaintance without realising the repercussions.

The fabulous story of Joan Crawford and Better Davis.

Orange is the New Black
Game Changer is Season 5, outstanding.

OJ, Made in America
Great retelling of this story.

Jessica Jones
Kick arse female superhero storytelling

Better Call Saul
Spin off from Breaking Bad showcases Saul and his previous life, brilliant.

Doco series with Neil DeGrasse Tyson and friends talking about Science.

Final season with our dysfunctional friends, great writing.

Big Little Lies
Intriguing storytelling about domestic abuse.

A Place Called Home
Australian period drama, totally sucked in!

Travel Man
Cute 48 hours in a big city travel series with Richard Ayoade and fellow comedians.

The Tunnel
Compelling French/English crime drama.

Outrageous story of a billionaire who made his money on the back of 9/11 and the prosecutor trying to catch him out. Plot twist, the prosecutor's wife is the billionarie's therapist.

Top 5 Movies
La La Land
Should have won best picture, absolutely perfect!

Should have also won best picture, outstanding sci-fi film about peace and loving and understanding all cultures.

Wonder Woman
Kick arse feminist super hero, my childhood hero made good in film.

Trip to Spain
Hilarious third film from Steve Coogan and Rob Drydan. Food, humour, impersonations, Spain.

Star Wars
The new films continue to knock it out of the park.

NB/ I didn't see a lot of movies this year.

Top 10 DVDs
Bright Lights
Brilliant documentary about Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, released not long after their untimely deaths.

Get Out
Unbelievable horror film about racism.

A Bigger Splash
Great, luxurious, sexy film set in the South of Italy.

Very quiet, still film about Paterson, a poet and bus driver.

One More Time With Feeling
Documentary about Nick Cave, not long after the death of his son. Haunting.

Punk Singer
Great doco about Kathleen Hanna, feminist icon.

Midnight Special
Intriguing science fiction film with a twist.

Rosalie Blum
Lovely French film about an older woman with a past.

Embrace the Serpent
Black and white epic set in the Amazon in the early 1900s.

Fun, musical animation.

Top 10 Albums
Skeleton Tree by Nick Cave
Great, compelling, dark.

Young as the Water, Old as the Sea - Passenger
Lovely melodies, light, easy.

Christine McVie/Lindsey Buckingham
Wow, they still have it!

Keep Me Singing by Van Morrison
Classic Van.

Heartworms by The Shins
Light pop, easy to listen to.

Masseducation by St Vincent
Compelling, wild, Pop, Punk.

Turn up the Quiet by Diana Krall
Typical Diana, classy jazz.

Secular Hymns by Madeleine Peyroux
That voice, smooth and stunning.

Silvereye by Goldfrapp
Return to form after all these years.

Love and Blood by Shane Nicholson
Solid alt country.

Top 10 Concerts
Paul McCartney
Best concert I have ever seen.

Patti Smith and band
Outstanding unlike I could ever imagine.

Patti Smith Spoken Word
Second row, and in the belly of my hero.

Nick Cave
First time seeing Sir Nick and he didn't disappoint.

Martha Wainwright
Absolutely divine and I got to meet her.

Tim Rogers
Tim solo, heart wrenching and rock n roll.

Sarah Blasko
Tender, special, like a feather on the wind.

Marcia Hines - Velvet
Woah, Marcia kicks arse!

Colin Hay - APIA
Funny and eloquent and then that singing voice!

Daniel Champagne
New, young, upcomer, guitar/singer.

Special Mention: Sydney Symphony, Haydn and Mozart and Velvet

Top 5 Art
Nudes - Sydney Art Gallery
Jaw dropping pieces of art, amazing.

John Olsen - Newcastle Art Gallery
Smaller version of what I saw in Melbourne the year previous with added bonus of listening to and being in John's presence.

Ad Man, Andy Warhol - Sydney Art Gallery
Fabulous early work of Andy Warhol.

Phantom - Newcastle Art Gallery
Quirky exhibit featuring The Phantom.

Diane Arbus - Lake Macquarie Art Gallery
Huge coup of her amazing photography.

Top 5 Theatre
Jasper Jones
Remarkable adaptation of a modern Australian classic.

Blue Love
Sexy, funny, outrageous.

7 Stages of Grieving
Ground breaking Indigenous play, that still holds up today...sadly.

Piano Lessons
Great adaptation of a classic Australian Autobiography featuring the author as herself.

Merchant of Venice
Wonderful telling of classic Shakespeare.

No comments: