Tuesday, October 1, 2013

2013 | September Favourites

 movie - Annie Hall. A friend of mine recommended this movie on Twitter, and, as she nearly always has good taste in films, I trusted her judgment and rented it from my university's library. My only previous experience with Woody Allen's work was one of his most recent, Midnight In Paris, which I absolutely loved. Annie Hall is even more incredible. It fit my "perfect movie criteria" - the plot was character driven, the personality changes were believable, the scenery was well shot and matched the story, and it kept my attention the entire way through. The story follows a pessimistic New York comedian, Alvy Singer (Woody Allen), who falls in love with a ditsy girl, Annie Hall (Diane Keaton). The film follows their relationship from the moment they first meet and chronicles their difficulties that are mostly due to their conflicting personalities. If you're a fan of unique or quirky films, this is a good one.

books - "Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them" by Newt Scamander (J.K. Rowling). I'm sure most people have already heard about J.K. Rowling's screenwriting debut turning this book into a movie. Regrettably I had never read this little gem until this past month, but as soon as I heard about its future movie adaptation I knew I had to read it ASAP. It's a very short book, only 42 pages long, set up like one of Harry Potter's wizard textbooks for Hogwarts, complete with "handwritten" notes in the margins from Harry and his friends. It details many of the magical beasts in the wizarding world, some mentioned in the HP series but most not. While I enjoyed flipping through it and reading about all the creatures, I would only recommend this to fellow Harry Potter fans as an ordinary reader might find it a bit dull.

 TV show - Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Before I saw the pilot, I had mixed feelings about this show. After seeing the pilot, I still have mixed feelings about this show. While I love Joss Whedon's work and I love all of Marvel's superhero movies, I was worried this show would be too campy for me to really enjoy. The pilot did a great job of introducing the characters, their roles, and their relationships with each other, as well as offering some good special effects with the high tech equipment used by the agency, but I still am not quite convinced that I will be sticking with this show all the way through. I really like the idea of the show, however, so I am looking forward to how it progresses and evolves throughout the season.

artist / album - there are 4, actually. September was a good music month.

 ReVamp. As I may have mentioned before, despite my generally more indie-themed music taste, my favourite music genre is actually female-fronted symphonic metal. I was introduced to this band through Nightwish's facebook page, as Floor, the lead singer of ReVamp, stepped in for Anette, Nightwish's lead singer, during Nightwish's 2012 tour. I fell in love with Floor's unique vocal capabilities as they combine what I love best about both of Nightwish's lead singers. ReVamp has made two albums, the most recent of which, Wild Card, released earlier this month. The band stays a little more on the metal side of the genre, but the tinges of chorus/symphony in the background combine beautifully with Floor's vocals to pull it all together. I recommend this band to anyone who enjoys the symphonic metal genre or female-fronted rock bands.

 The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones score. Technically, this album released in August, but I didn't pay any attention to it until I saw the movie over Labor Day weekend. Although I felt the movie fell short of its potential, the score is incredible. I've listened to it way more times than I care to share, and it's currently tied with Klaus Badelt's score to the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie as my favourite movie score. It has an incredible blend of frantic moments and slower melodies, and the choral work is superb. A definite must for anyone who enjoys fast-paced instrumental music.

 AM by the Arctic Monkeys. I never paid attention to the Arctic Monkeys before, but I heard such good things about their newest release that I decided to give it a listen. From the moment I first heard the single "Do I Wanna Know?" my opinion on them had changed. There are few records where I like every song, but this is one of them. This album has the perfect indie rock sound that I love - I'll definitely be playing it throughout the fall season.

 Pure Heroine by Lorde. The album had a Monday release day so this just barely makes it into this month's favourites. First, let me just say that if you haven't heard anything by Lorde yet, you are missing out. This girl is phenomenal. It's hard to believe she's only 16 and writes her own music because it is so much better than most of the other music played on mainstream music these days. The album includes two songs from previous EPs, her famous single "Royals" and a more recent single entitled "Tennis Courts." The remainder of the album embodies the same general sounds and sentiments as the already released songs, giving the record as a whole an urban sound.

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