My favourite things: Winter edition

TremeAs has become a habit here at andstufflikethis I have pulled together a list of a few of the things that are rocking my world at the moment. I guess it is similar in a way to how sitcoms like Friends used to have an episode every season where they would find some slightly random excuse to revisit particularly memorable moments from previous episodes. Though, with my version, everything you get here is brand new and never seen before. So really, you are getting more bang for your buck than Friends ever gave you. Now if only I could work out how to get paid as much as they did 😉 But I digress, let’s get into it…

Fave TV show: Treme – since Wednesday I have raced through all 10 episodes of the first season of this show, which aired back in 2010. It is now into its 4th season. The show, from the creators of The Wire (which if you haven’t seen then you must), is set in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina – it starts 3 months after the storm hit. Like The Wire, it is told from a number of different perspectives that only overlap in a minimal fashion. There are a number of musicians (Steve Zahn, Wendell Pierce) – music is central here and those who have an aversion to jazz and blues REALLY won’t like this show; a writer/professor (John Goodman); a lawyer (Melissa Leo); a bar owner (Khandi Alexander); an ‘Indian Chief’ (Clark Peters – also, like Pierce, a Wire alumnae) and a restaurant owner (Kim Dickens) – and that’s just to name a few. The ensemble cast are note perfect – and although you will find some characters more interesting than others the plot moves along fast enough that you don’t get stuck too long with ones you don’t care so much about. Like The Wire, it sheds light on the realities of dealing with an impossible situation – and how people get on with their day to day lives in the midst of this craziness. It shows the strength of the human spirit without needing to be melodramatic and is far more uplifting than I ever found The Wire. Watch it, now 🙂

Fave new place: Milford Sound – I recently had the chance to visit one of Kipling’s wonders of the world – Milford Sound. To be honest, I wasn’t entirely fussed about going – Dad was the one who pushed me into it, and I am so glad he did. It really is a remarkable place and you can understand why tourists always list it as one of the most amazing things they saw in New Zealand. We were lucky enough to strike it on a relatively fine day too, which made the experience even more special. The drive in (a good two hours from Te Anau) is spectacular enough – and I would argue that, aside from the environmental impacts, this is reason alone not to build the proposed tunnel – visitors would miss so much amazing landscape just on the way there. When we eventually made it through the incredible Homer Tunnel and reached Milford, Mitre Peak was viewable in all it’s glory and the water was calm and still. We went out on a boat trip (a must) and were again lucky to have a group of dolphins accompany us for a while – a particular highlight for the tourists on board (though I was pretty excited too I have to say). It is a hard place to describe really – it is beautiful, rugged, unbelievably old, cloaked in history and mystery. If you haven’t been before, do add it to your list, you won’t regret it. And thanks Dad 😉

Fave NZIFF movie: Much Ado About Nothing – ok, so a confession here, this was my ONLY Film Festival movie this year – due to various legitimate reasons. But I am very glad I made it to Joss Whedon’s adaptation of my favourite Shakespeare play. As I have blogged about before – Whedon made this film over 12 days at his house while on a ‘break’ from filming The Avengers – cos that’s how he rolls. He used his friends and regular cohorts as cast and crew – which works when you have friends like Nathan Fillion and Clark Gregg 😉 And the film was shot entirely in black and white. For those who don’t know the story, really??? But loosely it is about a wedding, an attempt at matchmaking, an almost tragedy, and some really useless cops. But, yunno, Shakespeare styles. So Whedon keeps all the origina language (and what language it is – I had forgotten how great the Bard was at insults) but updates the time period to present day. This leads to some clever and amusing asides (no hand written letters, it is all smart phones) but also to some slightly unresolved questions (what do these guys all do for a job? Why was the bad guy in custody?). But you forgive all this really – as it is just so much fun to watch. The leads – Amy Acker as Beatrice and Alexis Denisof as Benedict are brilliant and revel in the barbs they get to spar with each other. And the supporting cast are clearly having the time of their lives – with aforementioned Nathan Fillion (he of Castle and Firefly fame) stealing his scenes as the bumbling policeman. Although this wasn’t quite as good as I was hoping it would be, I still can’t fault it at all. Well worth the ticket price, and then some.

Fave album: The Great Gatsby soundtrack – Yep, I know this one has been around for a while, but the fact that it is still on high rotate on my ipod/ipad is testament to how good it is. I loved Lurhmann’s film and the soundtrack was a particular highlight. It, like all of Luhrmann’s soundtracks, is an eclectic mix of high energy tracks (like ‘A little party never killed nobody’) with moody and emotional numbers (like Lana Del Ray’s ‘Young and Beautiful’). His films are also famous for re-engineering old tracks and making them something completely different – and it is achieved here to wonderful effect with Beyonce and Andre 3000 covering Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back to Black’. There is a massive array of A list musical talent on display here – along with those already mentioned we have Jay Z, Fergie, Jack White, Emile Sande, Florence and the Machine and Gotye (and there are more, it’s incredible). And they don’t disappoint. There is only one track on this album that I don’t love (the opener ‘$100 Bill’) – and that is because it is a bit too rap heavy for my liking. But the rest are a fantastic mix of brilliantness. A useful addition to any musical collection.

Fave trailer: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty – this is just a beautiful trailer to watch, even though it features the normally annoying Ben Stiller. But this may be a welcome (for me) return to form for him. Here he plays – I think, though the trailer doesn’t give away much – THANK YOU TRAILER MAKERS! – a worker at Life Magazine who lives an imaginery life of bravery and excitement while actually living a hum drum life of office work. But, he appears to be forced to live some of that life which he imagined – in an effort to win the heart of his colleague, played by Kristen Wiig. The cinematography and settings look incredible here, and I am very very excited. Watch it, and I doubt you will disagree with me 😉

And that’s all from me this week. Back next week with more reviews, news and views. As always, thanks for reading!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s