Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Day of the Doctor

WARNING: The following section contains spoilers!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

2013 | October Favourites

Movie - There were two: Much Ado About Nothing (2013 version) and The Fall

Much Ado About Nothing: Joss Whedon created this Shakespeare adaptation and filmed it over a week-long period while also shooting The Avengers. The film is in black & white and is very simplistic, setting it apart from other adaptations. I was worried it wouldn't be as good as Kenneth Branagh's version from the 90s, but the two are so different that I love them both for different reasons. I had been wanting to see it ever since its production was announced, but it only went to one theater in my area and I was never able to see it until it was released to Redbox. I highly recommend this movie to fellow Whedonites, Shakespeare fans, and anyone who enjoys a good movie (everyone, really).

The Fall: I remember seeing this movie on Netflix Instant Play and thinking the cover was interesting, but I never felt the urge to see it until I learned that Lee Pace was the co-lead (everyone's favourite Piemaker from Pushing Daisies and elf king from The Hobbit trilogy). I wish I hadn't waited so long to see it because it was one of the most beautiful, emotional movies I have ever seen. The movie is set in a hospital in the early 1900s and centers around a young girl named Alexandria, a grove worker who broke her arm due to falling from an orange tree, and stuntsman named Roy, a man who broke his legs during a stunt trying to win back his girlfriend and is now suicidal. Alexandria befriends Roy and he tells her a fantastic story of five men banding together to exact revenge on the villain who ruined them all. The story itself, while not following much of a concrete plotline, was portrayed so perfectly by the cast. The dialogue was realistic, especially regarding the age and language differences between Alexandria and Roy, and the final half hour had me crying (and I rarely get emotional over movies). The film was beautifully done - the sets were rich colours and, weird as this seems, the sound editor was incredible. The way certain noises were made more noticeable than is usual for a film really made it sound authentic. This is not a movie I would expect most people to enjoy, but if you love emotional, beautiful films, I would highly recommend it.

TV show - The Blacklist. I'd been hearing such good things about NBC's newest crime thriller that I made time to watch the first two episodes. From what I've seen so far, it lives up to its high ratings. The show is about a former government agent named Raymond Reddington who, despite now being #4 on the FBI's Most Wanted List, inexplicably surrenders to the Bureau and offers to help them catch terrorists under the condition that he speaks only to Elizabeth Keen, the Bureau's newest profiler. Reddington's motives are unknown at this point and there are several other mysteries presented in the first episode that give the show several options to go in the future. I've enjoyed what I've seen so far and I've almost forgiven NBC for canceling Smash, my ultimate guilty pleasure show over the past year.

Album - Wrapped In Red by Kelly Clarkson. As I'm sure everyone knows by now, I am a massive Kelly Clarkson fan, so my recommending this should come as no surprise and will be completely biased. I was concerned that it would have too much of a country sound to it, but I needn't have worried. This is one of the best Christmas albums I've heard and I foresee myself adding it to my holiday playlists for years to come. It has a perfect mix of all different styles - some classic Christmas, some blues, some jazz, some pop - it has something for everyone. As always, Clarkson's vocals are spot on. I'm completely in love with this album and I highly recommend it to all holiday music lovers.

Artist - Active Child. I had previously heard of Active Child through Ellie Goulding's cover of their song "Hanging On," but it wasn't until Ellie was featured on their newest song "Silhouette" that I began looking through the band's music. They have a laidback, ethereal quality to their music that makes it perfect for listening to while studying. I personally enjoy their newest EP Rapor and their original version of "Hanging On."

book - The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. As this was the only book I read this month, this is really the only one I can mention. I would recommend it only as a perspective-changer as it's not one you can enjoy reading over and over again. The book is Walls' memoir of her childhood up through early adulthood. She grew up in a poor family that travelled constantly due to her dad's inability to hold a job longer than a few months. I found it a fascinating read, but it's only for those not expecting something lighthearted and fun; it has some very heavy moments.

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Sunday, November 3, 2013

College | 10 Things I've Learned

The semester is more than halfway over, which means I have now acquired ~valuable~ knowledge that may (or may not) be helpful for those going to college in the near future.

1. Invest in plenty of microwave mac & cheese. It's a lifesaver when you don't have time to go to the dining hall.

2. If you're ever trying to avoid homework but still want to (pretend to) be productive, clean stuff. I only ever clean my desk when I'm trying to avoid homework.

3. Never go to on-campus coffee shops right after class ends. The lines are horrifyingly long.

4. The Venn diagram of people who have bad taste in music and people who play their music out loud in the shower is a circle.

5. Always remember to take your room key with you when you leave your room, otherwise you will end up locked out of your room at midnight in your pajamas and wet shower flip-flops and have to sign out a temporary key and fob to get back into the building. I certainly don't know this is from personal experience.

6. Do all the free/cheap events that you can. Last weekend I attended a chorus concert, an internationally acclaimed one-man play/puppet show, a haunted hall, and the state fair, all of which were low to no cost because I had a student ID. Where I live, you can also get a free bus pass with a valid student ID which comes in handy when you don't bring your car on campus with you.

7. If your campus offers any sort of LaundryView website, USE IT. It will save you multiple unnecessary trips up and down four flights of stairs... not that I speak from experience about this either.

8. If a new restaurant on campus opens, don't go for the first 1-3 days. Even when you go at a time that you think it won't be busy. Because it will be. Guaranteed.

9. Prioritize your clothing. You really can't fit as much in your dorm room as you think you can.

10. Use Rate My Professor. It will save you countless amounts of time and frustration if you look up professors ahead of time and avoid taking classes from the bad ones.

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