Sunday, 15 December 2013

2013 roundup: films

In part 2 of my 'faves of 2013' posts I thought I'd talk a bit about my favourite movies of the year. Most of the awards bait comes out in the next few weeks and therefore isn't on this list - I posted about the ones I'm most interested in over the summer, you can see that here - but I saw plenty of great movies this year.

According to my 2013 list I saw 27 movies at the cinema this year (not including multiple viewings - Star Trek x2, F&F6 x2Man of Steel x3, Catching Fire x3), by my maths that means I've spent around £160 on cinema tickets in 2013! In my defence a drug habit would be much more expensive!

So, in rainbow order, here 9 of my favourite new releases of 2013:

Lore - IMDB | Review
Populaire - IMDB
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - IMDB |Review

About Time - IMDB
The Kings of Summer - IMDB | Review
Fast and Furious 6 - IMDB | Review

Pacific Rim - IMDB | Review
Man of Steel - IMDB | Review
Star Trek Into Darkness - IMDB

Do these match up with your favourites of the year? If not, what would you add?

Sunday, 8 December 2013

2013 roundup: music

It's that time of year again when everyone tries to compile lists of the best and worst of the last 12 months. I'm pretty partial to lists and it's always interesting to see which pop culture artefacts have most influenced the people I follow around the interwebs. As you may have gathered from my book and movie review posts over the last year I'm not always very good at differentiating between the things that I like and things that are good. What I've come to realise though is that I don't really care! Life's too short to spend it apologising for things that make you happy. For the next few weeks then I'll be posting about my favourite things in 2013. Some of them are technically good and possess a certain amount of cultural merit; others just bring me joy and are therefore equally deserving of a place on the list!

I'm going to start with music today and then work through books, movies and miscellany in the run up to new year. Most of the lists will be 'top 9s' because 9 makes for neater graphics than 10!

Just to get everyone in the right frame of mind please take the next 5 minutes to dance around to this, the greatest of year-end traditions:

Don't you feel better already?!

I tend to be quite up-to-date with films and books but I'm not always so on-the-ball with music (I think I'm overwhelmed but just how much of it there is) and so one of my favourite things about December is seeing what friends and commentators I admire consider to be the best albums of the year; I always end up buying wayyyyy more music in December than any other time of year!

Each month this year I've posted a list of my favourite (upbeat/pop) tracks in my monthly roundup and you can find all of those playlists over at 8tracks.

In terms of albums, these 9 are the new releases that I've enjoyed the most this year:

The National - Trouble Will Find Me (Performance: NPR Tiny Desk Concert)
Neko Case - The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You (Performance: NPR Tiny Desk Concert)
Gabrielle Aplin - English Rain (Track: Keep on Walking)
Little Mix - Salute (Performance: 'Move' on X Factor US)
KT Tunstall - Invisible Empire//Crescent Moon (Performance: Made of Glass Live Acoustic)
Lissie - Back to Forever (Track: The Habit)
Milo Greene - Milo Greene (Track: Son My Son)
MSMR - Secondhand Rapture (Track: Dark Doo Wop)
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire OST (Track: Sia ft The Weeknd & Diplo - Electric Heart

This year has clearly been very good for female artists and pop music!

So! What do you think? Would any of these artists make it on to your favourites lists? Anything you're tempted to try out?

Thursday, 5 December 2013

film review: the kings of summer

The Kings of Summer (2013)
Director:  Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Starring: Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso, Moises Arias
Genre: Coming of age comedy
Rating: 9/10

Three teenage friends, in the ultimate act of independence, decide to spend their summer building a house in the woods and living off the land.

This is a real gem! It's the story of three teenage boys who decide to run away from home for the summer and build themselves a house in a nearby forest. It was only shown in a handful of cinemas in the UK but thanks to lots of very positive reviews it was very quickly released on DVD.

The Kings of Summer is charming and laugh out loud funny. The cast is great - the adults (including Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally) are particularly nuts and the two leads are really well cast. The scenery and cinematography are also lovely. There's a montage set to 'Youth' by MGMT which is an especially nice sequence. Most importantly, the movie really nails the tone, making a coming of age story that's both escapist and heartfelt. It doesn't shy away from the self-centeredness of adolescence but it's very generous in its portrayal of late-teenagedom, also capturing the characters' insecurities and vulnerability. For all the masturbation jokes, TKoS has a huge thumping heart.

Undoubtedly one of my favourite films of the year, I can't recommend The Kings of Summer highly enough. It would make for great double feature with Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

monthly roundup: nov 2013

Although I've been pretty terrible at blogging in November it's been a pretty good month pop culture-wise. I spent the first part of the month riding a huge nostalgia wave and rewatching Dawson's Creek!I should clarify that I basically spent a fortnight obsessing over 2 seasons of the show (s3&4) and odd episodes in S6 because they're the only ones worth bothering with (read: I only care about Pacey/Joey!). After years of being burnt by TV shows I've learned to become selective as a self-preservation tactic! Fandom should be fun - why subject yourself to stories/characters etc. you don't like?! That petered out and now I'm in the midst of my anticipated Hunger Games spiral. Unfortunately this is the one series where my self-preservation instinct falters - there's too much that I love to bail completely but there also so much to be frustrated with and bitter over!

Anyway! I've watched a lot of new movies that I really enjoyed.this month and I really love some of the music in the mix - if the Demi Levato track isn't one of your faves of the year then I'm not sure we can be friends!

books read

Holly Black - Black Heart (7/10)
Marcus Sedgwick - Midwinterblood (7/10)
Craig Thompson - Blankets (6/10)
Yann Martel - Life of Pi (9/10)

new movies watched

To Catch A Thief (6/10)
Philomena (7/10)
Gravity (8/10)
The Royal Tenembaums (8/10)
Thor: The Dark World (8/10)
On the Town (8/10)
The Kings of Summer (9/10)


Neon Lights (Betty Who Remix) - Demi Levato
Elastic Heart - Sia [feat. The Weeknd and Diplo]
The Habit - Lissie
About The Boy - Little Mix
Falling - Yuna
Such Great Heights - Anderson .Paak
Boy - Little Mix
The Boy Is Mine (Kulkid Remix) - Brandy and Monica
Everybody Wants To Rule The World - Lorde