Hello Blog Followers! Welcome back! Alas, it has been some time – time in which those of you who are regular readers would have been assuming I was off trying to save the world for the Green Party, and probably were somewhat flummoxed that I didn’t succeed in getting them more votes than they actually got 😉 Well, turns out they didn’t need me as a volunteer, so I have spent the last few months taking a nice wee break from the blog writing, recharging my blog batteries if you will. I am pleased to report they are now back to full strength (unlike the Labour Party…) so I have decided to welcome you all back with a round up of my favourite things in film, TV and general life right now. (BTW, for those of you shocked and appalled that I am not devoting this blog entirely to an election debrief/rant, my excuse is this – I am still in the ‘OMG PEOPLE BE CRAZY!!!’ phase of the process, so I need to move on until I can more rationally dissect it with less likelihood of alienating half of my friends 😉).
1. Fave TV Show: Orphan Black: Not having succumbed to the temptation that is Soho – I am way to cheap to consider pay TV, especially just for one channel – I missed this show’s first season when it aired, but I picked it up in a 3 for 2 deal at JB HiFi recently (like I said, I am cheap – but I still refuse to download stuff – I am an enigma/quite stupid ;-)). I am almost finished with the first season and it is incredibly gripping, innovative and at times totally crazy TV. The less you know about this show the better really – but suffice to say it features one actress playing many different characters…who all look like her. Said actress – Tatiana Maslany, who fans of Parks and Rec will recognise from a brief stint on that show – does a simply indescribable job carrying this show, though she is assisted by some great and colourful support cast, not the least of whom is Jordan Gavaris as her extremely camp best friend Felix. I can’t urge you enough to watch this show if you haven’t already.
2. Fave Time Waster: Twitter: Ah, Twitter, how I love thee. I could spend far more time than the large chunk of my life that I already do scrolling through the sometimes random, sometimes hilarious, sometimes insightful and always informative tweets that come through my time line. Due to the fact that I have very eclectic tastes, I also follow a wide range of people. So I will have one tweet about Wil Wheaton’s cats followed by one about the new study on women in film to another on the UN’s climate change summit to the next on casting news for the new Skull Island film (Tom Hiddleston! Yay!). As a result of this, and my slightly all over the place interests, I have also found myself amassing a decent array of followers – many who follow me for VERY different reasons. So, if you are reading this blog having followed a link from Twitter and are new here – Hi! Welcome! You may have followed me because I am into sustainability, or maybe books and writing, or maybe the election or maybe even just random posts about movies. And you may also be wondering what this blog ‘is’. The joy of this blog – for me anyway – is it can be anything. One week a movie review, the next a diatribe about how the world is going to hell in a hand basket and the government doesn’t appear to care and then the next week a list of my favourite quotes from the West Wing. Hopefully it will entertain you cos really, that is the point, isn’t it?
3. Fave movie: Guardians of the Galaxy: I have a confession to make. Yesterday I went to the movies for the third time to see this film. THE THIRD TIME. This isn’t unheard of for me and Marvel movies it must be said – I did the same with Avengers and Iron Man 3. And the common thread in all these films – which Guardians takes to the next level? It makes superhero movies FUN. So so so so much fun. I knew it would be bringing the funny from the casting alone – Chris Pratt -tThe funny guy always making pratfalls as the hilarious/adorable Andy on Parks and Rec? Bradley Cooper as a wise cracking racoon? And Vin Diesel as a…tree??? Yeah. And the great thing? It absolutely and totally works. It has been described as the ‘riskiest’ film Marvel have done so far, but I would have to disagree. Sure it is set in space and has a cast of crazy aliens in it, but it also has a human as it’s main character and a 1980s reference point that is sure to connect with most viewers (the soundtrack is the best example of this…but more on that later). It isn’t a perfect film – many of my favourite female film critics have picked up on the completely unnecessary misogyny at the beginning of the film – which kind of makes you not like Chris Pratt’s character at all (but you get over that), and there is also the expected and now slightly dull/formulaic big massive end battle sequence that the Marvel head honchos seem to insist on. But, the Guardians still give it their own completely fun spin. And seriously – any film where you are debating afterwards whether the crazy racoon, the dancing tree or the huge guy who literally can’t cope with metaphors is your favourite character, has to be a great film. If you haven’t been – GO NOW. Like, stop reading this blog and GO NOW. Hurry.
4. Fave album: Guardians of the Galaxy Soundtrack: I am so hooked (on a feeling) on this soundtrack. I am a sucker for a good soundtrack at the best of times, but I would argue – controversial I know – that this is the best since Pulp Fiction. And not just in terms of it is an insanely good collection of 70s and 80s songs – but the way they are used in the actual film is just sublime. Everything from The Runaway’s Cherry Bomb (to rally the troops before the big finale) to Elvin Bishop’s Fooled Around and Fell in Love (during the movie’s brief and refreshingly only flaunt with romance) to the Jackson 5’s I Want You Back (see above dancing tree reference). Add to that Hooked on a Feeling, Spirit in the Sky, and Ain’t No Mountain High Enough and you can see why this is making my best of list. Almost too much fun to be contained in one album. I had to buy a hard copy as well as my ITunes version so I could blast it in my car and sing along. To say I love it is to significantly understate the situation. I may be a little obsessed 😉
5. Fave concert: Neil Finn and Bic Runga: Anyone who knows me even a little will know of my long standing love of the youngest Finn brother. I have seen him live – in various guises – probably close to 20 times which, given I don’t think I really discovered him properly until I was at university, is really saying something. So, when I recently had the opportunity to go to Wellington and see him live – with the always impressive Bic Runga – I jumped at it. I have to admit – I hadn’t been listening to his stuff that much recently, and his new album – Dizzy Heights – is not really my bag. Though I never doubted for a second that he would put on a good show. He always does. He treated the crowd to two and a half hours (excluding the 40 minutes of wondrousness from Bic and her guitar – with Neil as back up on a couple of tracks) of foot tapping, hand clapping, smile inducing awesomeness. From simply masterful renditions of Split Enz hits One Step Ahead and History Never Repeats – to a soulful and solo turn at the keys with Don’t Dream It’s Over/Edible Flowers/Last Day of June to rousing and sing along choruses of She Will Have Her Way and Better Be Home soon. And of course he did it all with his trademark witty interludes (he is one performer where you are never ever thinking ‘just get on with it mate’ – I could listen to him rattle on all day) and his laid back, improvisational style. But with an extremely tight and professional band (including wife Sharon) and a back catalogue of greatness to call on, this show was without doubt one of the best of his I have ever seen. Simply brilliant.
Well, that’s all for the first blog in a while. I will be back next week with – something different! Hope to see you all then. In the mean time – be clean, be green, don’t be mean. Peace out.