March Favourites – the Unicorn edition

March Favourites – the Unicorn edition

The first month of spring has come and gone way too fast, I hope no-one blinked and missed it. March was great, even if it felt so short, and there are many things that I really loved and now I’m excited to share with you!

Favourite Movies

  • Beauty and the Beast – I have been waiting for this movie for months, and now it is finally out! Naturally, I went and saw it multiple times, and it has slowly taken over my life/ my Tumblr account. It is, without a doubt, one of the best movies of 2017 and best Disney live-action adaptation. The acting is amazing (and how could it not be, when it stars Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Sir Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson), the cinematography is flawless and the soundtrack will stay with you forever – it includes all the favourites from the old soundtrack and blesses us with two original songs (and who hasn’t been listening to “Evermore” non-stop since it came out? That song is my personal favourite). It left me in tears; if you haven’t seen it – what are you waiting for?
  • By The Sea – I am a big fan of Angelina Jolie, and I was really excited when I heard about a movie written and co-directed by her. It sadly did not live up to my expectations. The story drags on for longer than it should – the movie could be cut by half and it would be much more captivating; the beginning and end are all you need to watch to make sense of the plot, the middle is just filler. The pace is really slow, and while there is intrigue, it takes too long for it to be explained, which does eventually become boring. The characters have so much potential, but they don’t get explored as much as they should. It’s got amazing cinematography, which does save it slightly, and the acting is brilliant (hence why it is on this list), so at least you can be distracted by Angelina Jolie looking amazing.

Favourite TV Shows

  • Shadowhunters – It’s been a long time coming for me to finally feature this amazing show on my monthly favourites. It has amazing characters and showcases so much diversity. You also have all your fantasy favourites – vampires, warlocks, werewolves and angels (well, technically, half-angels). It’s based off Cassandra Clare’s book series The Mortal Instruments, but I feel like the TV show adds so much more to them. It also manages to strike the right balance between awesome fight scenes and touching moments (which will bring you to tears, I guarantee it). After you fall in love with the characters, I also recommend looking up the cast and falling in love with them too, because the producers chose such amazing actors to star in this show, giving us all yet another reason to love it.
  • New Girl – All the shows I have been watching lately (I’ve had quite a few to catch up with) have been making me very emotional and sad, and I was in dire need for something uplifting and happy. This show has delivered just that. The characters are so easy to fall in love with, the episodes are short, so you can  watch them even if you don’t have a full hour to do so, and there are so many celebrity appearances! It also has a really catchy theme song that you will not be able to stop humming.
  • iZombie – Had you asked me what I thought of this show while watching the first season, I would have told you it’s a great and feel-good, with a quirky human – zombie duo who help the local police solve murders. Now, as I am patiently waiting for season 3, I can tell you that the show is way better than that.  While you may come for the unique twist on the classic zombies – taking on the personality of the brain they have consumed – is part of what makes the show so great, it is the characters themselves, which are so lovable,  that you stay.

Favourite Music

  • Glass Animals – I know I go on and on in these posts about Summer Well Festival, but it is a really good excuse to keep listening to the same band for as long as possible before someone around me gets annoyed, and they are bringing really good bands this year. Glass Animals are a band that I have been listening to  for a while now, mostly while working, but thanks to the festival I have now seriously started paying attention to their music, and it’s very different from what I normally listen to, so it’s very refreshing.
  • Beauty and The Beast soundtrack – I have been obsessed with this soundtrack for the last few weeks. I know all the words, I know the instrumentals, I can act out each song just like in the movie. It’s become the soundtrack that can brighten my mood, however low I’m feeling, and it’s personally so rare for me to find something like this, that I have just let it steal into my melancholy heart.

Favourite Reads

  • Jazz by Toni Morrison – This book is so clever in so many ways. It makes you think it’s gonna be all about the 1920s, its music and the issue of race, and while it is precisely about those things, it’s not in the way you could ever have imagined. The music is the text, and the issue of what it meant to be a coloured person in the “roaring 20s” is told through a narrative that is as changing as the music depicted by the title. Each character takes a turn to tell their part of the story, being sometimes interrupted by an ominiscient narrator, leaving you with a feeling of distrust towards the authenticity of what is being said. It’s very innovative and compelling, and the anticipation of the next character in charge of narrating creates a suspense that is unexpected from a book such as this.
  • The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien – This is a collection of short stories about the Vietnam war. But unlike any other book about the war, O’Brien’s manages to stand out through the commentary about storytelling and writing, being very self-aware of its fictionality, but at the same time of its truth. My favourite quote is “I want you to know why story-truth is truer sometimes than happening-truth”. He also writes that “In many cases a true war story cannot be believed”, and this quote perfectly summarises the whole book; I was never sure what I believed while reading it, if the stories were real or not, but they brought out the reality of the war and how it must have felt to be part of it, which is precisely O’Brien’s point. It’s a great read that messes with your head and makes you think.

 

February Favourites

February Favourites

We are now truly in spring – March is properly underway. Which means, it’s time to pause for a second and reminisce on the winter that has just passed, with a focus on the month on February which we have just left behind – and to remember all the good things that it has brought. February was a good month for me, and I have been looking forward to writing this post, and being able to put all my favourite parts of it in one place.

Favourite Movies

  • 2 Night Stand – When I first sat down to watch this, I did it with some scepticism, I have to admit. It didn’t have the best reviews online, and it seemed like a typical rom-com that, while feel-good, doesn’t really have substance. While these feelings were not subdued by the time I was done watching, it did manage to pleasantly surprise me. The movie is genuinely feel-good, and it touches on some very of-the-moment issues, such as online dating, cheating, having good, enjoyable sex, and, of course, one night stands. The movie didn’t really go into much depth regarding these topics, but then again, a rom-com is there for you to enjoy, not necessarily to make you ponder the meaning of life. It does provide a good way to open such a discussion (about things like dating, not the meaning of life), however, which can lead to some interesting conversations after the movie. The characters are also very easy to love, if ever so slightly irritating. There are a lot of hilarious moments that really make this movie worth it.
  • The Danish Girl – I have heard a lot of mixed opinions about this, but my love for Eddie Redmayne compelled me to watch it. The movie is beautiful, from the acting to the cinematography, especially the way it presents the story of Einar Wegener. It really got to the heart of how confusing and challenging the journey of understanding who you are can be. I absolutely loved Alicia Vikander and her role as Gerda Wegener – the support that Gerda offers Einer/ Lili through the confusion of the transition process is really inspirational. At the same time, the movie does not hide the emotional distress that she is going through, despite putting on a brave face. It’s a very emotional movie that really gets to you in the best way.
  • Into The Woods – The movie was described to me as a Disney mash-up where one of the princes cheats. I feel like I won’t be able to give a more compelling round-up of it, but I will say that it is so much better than just that. You have Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine and Johnny Depp – right from the get-go, there’s the promise of a very entertaining musical. And it delivers! The songs are very catchy, the characters are amazing (my favourite are the two princes) and above all, it gives your abs a workout with all the laughter that it provokes. The different Grimm fairy tales, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel, are brought together incredibly well, through the main narrative of the baker and his wife and their attempt to get rid of the curse that is stopping them from fulfilling their dream of having a child.

Favourite Music

  • Amber Run – The highlight of February was definitely seeing Amber Run live. The concert was amazing – I thoroughly encourage everyone to see them live if they have the chance. Even though a few weeks have passed since then, I have not been able to stop listening to their songs as a result of the joy of that night. I also have to mention that Joe Keogh is an exceptionally sweet human being – he hung around after the show to take photos with the fans and talk to them , and never once seemed to mind the huge amount of people who were crowded around him.
  • Birdy – I mentioned Summer Well in my January favourites post  – Birdy is among the artists performing at the festival, and as a result, I have used this as an excuse to obsessively listen to all her songs. Her voice is mesmerizing, and there are quite a number of songs that I realised I haven’t given a chance before because they never became radio hits. I also recommend listening to her covers – her voice can turn the most perky pop song into one filled with soul and expression.
  • Troye Sivan / Years and Years – I have been altering between the two quite often during February – they are really good background songs for reading, writing, and acting quite well as motivational songs. February was a very busy month, packed with lots of deadlines and work, and both Troye Sivan as well as Years and Years have helped me make it through those stressful times.

Favourite TV Shows

  • Free! ( Iwatobi Swim Club/ Eternal Summer) – After watching Yuri on Ice! in January, I was recommended this anime. Although not a fan of sports-focused shows, I surprisingly really enjoyed moments such as Rei being taught how to swim, or the various swimming competitions that are presented. The anime focuses mainly on the friendship between the numerous characters that appear in the show, and explores themes such as the jealousy that can appear between friends, having to deal with the unknown of the future, and growing up. It’s a great anime, with lots of sweet moments that make it a very feel-good show.
  • Tattoo Fixers – What could be better than watching people with terrible, embarrassing, regretful tattoos cover them up with actual artwork? Nothing, especially at the end of a really stressful, terrible week. It’s very entertaining, and does not have to be watched in one go – it’s one of those amazing shows that you can watch when you want something enjoyable that allows you to shut off your brain and ignore your problems for an hour.
  • The British Bake Off – With BBC1 giving the show over to Channel 4 (why?) and only Paul Hollywood remaining from the original quartet that we all loved, I was berry sad when Series 7 ended. This has led to me watching all the previous GBBO series, which have now made me feel even worse about the show’s future. It also never fails to make me hungry.

Favourite Reading

  • Paul’s Case by Willa Cather – I always enjoy reading short stories. They don’t take up lots of your time, are generally really good, and very entertaining. Due to the restriction of their size (they do have to be short, after all) they usually get down to business right from the start. Paul’s Case is no exception. It is a very intriguing story about a young man who tries to escape from his bland life by running away to New York, and staying at the luxurious Waldorf Astoria Hotel. However, the story deals with numerous intruiging themes, revealed to the reader upon multiple readings. It’s extremely fascinating and raises a lot of questions, which make for an interesting conversation.
  • The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim’s Point By Elizabeth Barret Browning – Browning is among my favourite poets, and while there are many poems that I love by her, the most recent one that I have been enjoying is The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim’s Point, a very poignant presentation of slavery in America. Browning was an abolitionist, therefore the focus of this poem is the trauma and pain that the speaker, a slave woman, has to endure under the cruelty of her white master.

January Favourites – the Unicorn edition

January Favourites – the Unicorn edition

As the first month of the year drew to a close, I kept seeing numerous Youtubers and bloggers post about their monthly favourites, and I decided to take inspiration from them and write a January favourites post as well, with a personal twist to it. As I do not have many other talents besides binge watching a show in a day or finishing a book in a similar amount of time, my list will consist of my favourite Tv shows, movies and music, watched or listened to this (past) month.

Favourite Tv Shows

  • Sherlock – January marked the airing of the much anticipated fourth season of BBC’s Sherlock. This show, despite the small number of seasons, never fails to amaze. All three episodes were gripping, exciting and intriguing, and for three beautiful weeks, my Sunday nights took me on a rollercoaster of emotions that inevitably ended on a cliffhanger.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events – Yet another captivating series beautifully delivered by Netflix. Watching this is definitely one of the best things I have done this month. The acting is amazing, the characters are captivating, and the filming is very well done. On top of all this, the show has one of the best intros I have ever seen.
  • Yuri on Ice!  – This is the first yaoi that I have seen (there might be more like this, I just haven’t stumbled across them yet) that is not centered around a gay relationship. The anime focuses instead on hard work, determination and figure ice skating. The romance is never forced on us, it is simply presented as a result of two guys working together towards a common goal, falling in love after getting to know each other this way. It’s sweet and beautiful – the ice skating is mesmerising and the characters are adorable. It also gets extra points for a very catchy intro song – it’s become one of my favourites.

Favourite Movies

  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – What a comeback for the Harry Potter fandom! I have to admit, I walked into the cinema rather sceptical about it, and did not expectation much from it. By the end, however, I was in love. The movie offers new insight into the magical world we all love, showing us the American magical community of the 1920s, and giving us a closer look at the numerous magical creatures that we have only managed to glimpse before. And all this is narrated by the sweetest Hufflepuff – it was about time that they got more recognition, and a chance to show everyone how badass and amazing they are.
  • Assassin’s Creed – Another movie that I was sceptical about before actually seeing. I am a big fan of the video games, and I was worried about the way the production team was going to approach adapting it into a movie due to fans’ supposed  expectations. I was very impressed with it, however. The game series focuses mostly on Desmond Miles’ experience in the Animus. The movie focuses more on the Abstergo Industires, and expands the mythology of the game by featuring a new story (a great way not to get the fans upset, in my opinion). It’s a great action movie, and I was very impressed with the way it was filmed.
  • Sing – By far the most hilarious movie I have seen this year (even though it has just started). It’s incredibly adorable (who doesn’t love animated, singing animals?) and genuinely feel-good, with a huge number of recognisable songs that you will definitely sing along to (I know I did, and everyone in the row behind me hated me for it).

Favourite Music

  • LP – I will forever be thankful to Orange is the New Black for introducing me to the amazing voice of LP. I have become a super obsessed fan – I know all her songs off by heart. Which is why I was so happy when I saw that she released two new music videos last week. Although these are for pre-existing songs, it gave me an excuse to spend the whole evening listening to her albums.
  • Nothing but Thieves – This weekend, Summer Well (a music festival that takes place every August in Romania) released the names of the first four artists that will perform at the festival, and I was thrilled to see that Nothing but Thieves was among them. Although I don’t listen to their songs as often as I did when I first stumbled upon them, I am always left in awe whenever I do. They are a one-of-a-kind band with a very unique style. I cannot wait to see them live this summer!
  • 50 Shades Darker soundtrack –  Where the movies lack, the soundtracks make up for it. Two years ago, the 50 Shades of Gray soundtrack went beyond my expectations (yes, I didn’t expect much from the movie. Can you blame me though?) Therefore, I was buzzing with anticipation for the music they were going to use in the second movie of the series. You just have to look at the artists that feature on it to know this is a soundtrack that you will be listening to on repeat – Halsey, John Legend, Sia, Kygo, Tove Lo and Taylor Swift are but a few of the talented voices that make this sountrack amazing.