Saturday, September 27

Visual aid.

I got acquainted with Charlie Kaufman at the beginning of this year. If you don't know who he is, just know that he is one of the trippiest screenwriters in Hollywood. To his name he has Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (often cited as my favourite film), Being John Malkovich, and Synecdoche, New York.  Bro has a monopoly on flipping reality upside down. All I want for Christmas is another Kaufman/Gondry collaboration please. I can't remember what got me to watch Adaptation. Probably a nudge from one of my friends. Naturally I was reluctant because I'm pretty prejudiced against Nicolas Cage films. But holy crap. This film was fantastic. Definitely something to be owned and studied. Definitely stressful and at times hard to follow. Definitely is meta as fuck. Definitely a must watch.

I have a bit of a girl crush on ScarJo. And the promo around Under the Skin made it too good to pass up. So my friend Emily and I went on a little cinema date way back when. And man were we shaken up after those 108 minutes. Walking through Leicester Square to catch our separate trains home, we both kept looking over our shoulders and hardly exchanged any words. I read the book first which I felt helped me understand the film better. But I think it would be an equally rewarding challenge to watch the film first and then visit the source material. Also northern Scotland has never looked better.

Boyhood is the most satisfying film I have seen in a long time. For me, the hype was deserved. It warmed my heart that it kept selling out at my local cinema. The film was one big nostalgia bomb, especially if you were born in the 90s in the US. Also, how boss is it that the director actually made The Black Album, a post-Beatles mixtape Mason's father gives to him as a present.

And I can't complete this post without giving a shout out to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. If you've been putting off watching it like I was. If you love Firefly. And Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. And Joss Whedon. And a middle-aged British man trying to navigate American teenagers. And unexplained hair cuts. Then GOD what are you waiting for??? Only one season left until I am sad because there is no more and inevitably move on to Dollhouse.

Have you seen any of these films? Any stand outs at the cinema for you recently? Angel or Spike? Let me know. (But try not to spoil me; I'm still mid-season 6 of the Buffster.)

Sources: 1 / 2 / 34

Saturday, September 13

Books I've been loving.


If you didn't catch my last post, I'm currently doing a round up on the blog of the books, films and tunes I've been enjoying over the last six months. Take my hand, because today imma walk you through some damn fine bundles of paper.

After finally having read The Virgin Suicides last year, I was chomping at the bit to start another Eugenides (and what a great surname, right?) in January. When I started Middlesex, I had no idea what it was going to be about. And that is my top tip for you. This book is best enjoyed when you've not even read the summary on the back of the book. And since it's such a big honker, once you've read those 560 pages, you'll feel mega accomplished. So what is "Middlesex"? A place? Is it about sex? I don't knowww; you have to reeeeead iiiiit.

Another thing that seems ages ago is my holiday to the Canary Islands with Rosianna. God, how March seems like a lifetime ago. I took The Martian along as my beach read. It is very rare that a book will make me genuinely laugh out loud but this book was written for my sense of humour. Potato humour. Disco humour. Because I tend to read serious or bleak books (see below my Richard Yates binge), this was such a pleasant surprise. Easy read, funny read--you'll love it.

I've been wanting to see Revolutionary Road with Leo and Kate forever and since I'm a stickler for reading to watch, I borrowed Rosi's collection of Richard Yates works. And I fell in love. I was only planning on reading Revolutionary Road but I adored the style of writing so much that I read the two other short novels included as well. I wanna say Easter Parade was my favourite but truly they were all fantastic and now I am hungry to devour the rest of his works and his biography and count me a fangirl.

The final book I want to share with you is risky because it's one I haven't finished! I got The Goldfinch as a part of my London Independent Booksellers Week bookshop crawl winnings (I made a video!). I'm about 3/4 of the way through and it's just been great. It sort of reminds me of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close except it does not try to be as poignant and it is a little more adult. It's one of those books that sucks you out of your present into its world and yeah--I'm really liking it. Hope the ending doesn't disappoint me, heh.

[Honourable mention goes to audiobooks. I never thought I would read Hemmingway's The Old Man and the Sea because I always found the act of reading it so goddamned boring. But I found a version of Donald Sutherland(!) narrating it and it proved to be just the trick. Same deal for Mrs Dalloway. If I did not have the audiobook to switch between reading, it would not have happened. Sadly no Sutherland there though.]

I always love a good book recommendation. What's been the best book you read over the past six months? You can also send me recommendations on Goodreads if you are fancy like that. Ta!

Friday, September 5

Listen, See, Read: 6 Months in review.

Ages and aaaages ago I had some questions in my tumblr ask along similar lines: Top 10 favorite books? / your favourite bands and musicians? / favourite books, films, music? I do not like picking favourites of all time (commitment issues) so to skirt around this, I propose a hybrid of the monthly favourites and the forever favourites: six months in review.

I have delved back into my GoodReads,, letterboxd, and a running list I keep on my laptop, and boom, I'm reacquainted with everything I've been loving over the past months. And now you can go out and enjoy them too. Today we tackle ears.

I saw Mac Demarco at KOKO in Camden back in May after having only been introduced to his sweet stoner crooning two weeks prior to the gig. I kneeled for Neil [Young]. My main man is incredible both live and studio glazed. Salad Days is a standard favourite and I'm also quite partial to My Kind of Woman.

Fleetwood Mac is the kind of music my childhood friends' parents listened to so those ballads are forever empoweringly familiar. My blogging muse Chelsea compiled a boss playlist that I continue to switch on for any occasion.

I was a little worried that Watsky's swan dive off the rafters at Ally Pally would be the swan song of his career and my interest in him. Then he released his new album All You Can Do in August. Baby, I am back on the Watsky wagon. The album is more polished but less playful than Cardboard Castles (which I also loved). It's an album of apology and self-examination but it's also an album with some insanely catchy beats. There's only one song I'd skip (comment if you can guess which :P); I would link you every last one of them I love but that seems excessive. So I'll start you out with Sarajevo.

Lemon Jelly is sampling at its best. I love a good mashup. Even better when you weave in midcentury soundbites. This won't be for everyone. But it gives me tingles.
Image sources: Mac / Lemon Jelly album mockup

Wednesday, September 3

Letterboxd, or The GoodReads for Film.

Oddly enough, I came across this baby in a GoodReads forum thread. And I think my Google search at the time had actually been along the lines of "a goodreads for film." I'm one of those freaky obsessed-with-cataloguing-things people (I think it's a common affliction amongst bloggers). I find knowing the specifics of what I've seen and mapping out movies I've always wanted to watch motivates me to see more. Which is what it's all about, isn't it? See all the things so I can stop lying to my friends and acquaintances that I've seen Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Yeah, I have a list for that.

Letterboxd is sleek; it's dark. It's stepping into a cinema archive with all the DVD covers updated and displayed in a not annoyingly pixelated resolution. Some of my favourite features include the tracking of the percentage of films you've seen by a various directors or actors. For example, at the time of this post, I've seen 31% of Stanley Kubrick's work and 6% of films Jack Nicholson has been in. Which tells me I REALLY NEED TO BUCKLE DOWN AND EXPERIENCE MORE JACK (I love Jack.)

Do you use something other than Letterboxd to keep track of what films you've watched? Are there other sites and apps you like to use, whether for movies, books, etc. to catalogue your existence? Inquiring minds (well, me) want to know! If you'd like to follow me on Letterboxd, I was fortunate to signup early enough that I snagged the username Marion. Booyah. Enjoy my one written review about a not so favourite Nick.