Sunday, March 2, 2014

2014 | February Favourites

movie - Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day. If I'm completely honest, I've been wanting to watch this movie ever since my friend told me Lee Pace was in it (I'm an unapologetic Pushing Daisies fan) and I finally had time this month to watch it. It's an absolute piece of fluff but it's so charming that I didn't mind. The cast list is spectacular with many famous faces -- Frances McDormand, Amy Adams, Lee Pace, Mark Strong, Shirley Henderson, and Ciarán Hinds, and the setting and costumes are gorgeous. The plot follows Guinevere Pettigrew, a destitute governess, who steals a client's card from her agency and finds herself unexpectedly working as a social secretary for Delysia Lafosse, a singer who is caught in the middle of three love affairs and is attempting to pick between money, a career, and love. Although there is some serious content matter, the movie is overall very light and fun. 

artist/album - Hydra by Within Temptation. I had been looking forward to this release for months and it did not disappoint! Hydra features a slight return to Within Temptation's old sound with a more heavy rock approach than their last album, The Unforgiven, while still not fully embodying all the former symphonic elements. I particularly loved the featured guests, particularly Tarja Turunen, as well as all the phenomenally done covers of popular pop songs. Favourite track(s): Let Us Burn, Paradise. 

artist/album, honourable mention - So Long, See You Tomorrow by Bombay Bicycle Club. Bombay Bicycle Club's 4th album marks quite a departure from their earlier, more mellow sound. So Long, See You Tomorrow is full of large anthematic songs that could be loosely compared to Pheonix's Bankrupt! album with its bigger inclusion of synths and and a slightly messier approach to its organization. Although I loved the softer feel of BBC's previous album, A Different Kind of Fix, So Long, See You Tomorrow fits right in with my main musical tastes and I will be playing it loads this spring. Favourite track(s): Luna, Feel.

TV show - Wonderfalls. Although I started this show months ago, I finally had a gap of time to finish it this month. Wonderfalls was Bryan Fuller's second show after Dead Like Me, and just like all his shows, was tragically prematurely cancelled. The show follows a college graduate named Jaye (Caroline Dhavernas from Hannibal) who lives an ordinary life as a sales clerk in Niagara Falls until one day souvenirs and statue animals start talking to her in cryptic messages aimed at helping the people in her life. The show has a quirky premise but is excellent just like all of Fuller's shows. (It also features Lee Pace as Aaron, Jaye's brother, if that convinces anyone to watch it.)

book - A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. I read The Kite Runner a few years ago and absolutely loved it, so of course I had to read his next book as well. A Thousand Splendid Suns spans a period of 50 years and chronicles the lives and unhappy marriages of two Afghan women, Mariam and Laila during the war in Afghanistan and the Taliban's rise to power. The jumps in time between events in the characters' lives sometimes makes them feel underdeveloped, but overall the book is good at exploring the emotions the two women experience and helps the reader to root for them throughout the story.

event - Billy Joel concert. It had been a dream of mine for years to see Billy Joel in concert, and my wish was fulfilled this month when he toured through my city. It went above all my expectations; I was worried that, as he's been in the business for so long, he would be arrogant and rude, but instead he made jokes the whole time and gave a very entertaining performance. His stage setup was unlike any I'd ever seen and his backup band was incredible. The thing I loved most about his show wasn't so much him as it was the atmosphere -- the audience knew every single one of his songs and got very into it, and when he let the audience sing the final chorus of "Piano Man" it was a very surreal experience. I even teared up a little when he started playing "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant," one of my favourite songs of all time.

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